The Resurrection and Life

The Resurrection and Life

When we talk about Jesus, depending on a person’s beliefs, they may call Him a great teacher, a prophet, a historical figure, but do they call Him Jesus Christ? The Messiah – The Prophet, Priest, & King – who is the fulfillment of all prophesies, redeemed us on the cross, and was resurrected on the third day? We talk a lot (at least I do!) about the great sacrifice of the cross, but how often to we think about the fact that Jesus came back to life and tells us that after the second coming we’ll be raised to life too? Maybe we don’t want to think about this much, maybe it’s too hard to comprehend, now our thoughts are heading towards end times and Revelation, uh oh now we have to think about eternity and death, and if we know our promise to have eternal life through Christ, we have to think about the fact that some won’t.

In John 11 we see the story of how Lazarus died and how Jesus spoke him back to life. In the middle of the story Jesus speaks with Lazarus’s sister Martha.

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die – ever. Do you believe this?”

John 11:25-26

Such a miracle should make us all fall down in worship and eager to accept that Jesus did fulfill Jewish prophesy of being the Messiah and showed us that all that was said about the resurrection is true. And many people did. But then came the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin. Instead of being amazed at the power of God, they were concerned about their power being threatened. The plot to kill Jesus started to become a reality and He “could no longer walk openly among the Jews” (John 11:53-54).

Similarly, in Acts 24 Paul is brought before the Sanhedrin and he starts an all-out riot between the Sadducees and Pharisees over the resurrection, as the Sadducees do not believe in the “hope of the resurrection” (Acts 23:1-10). Their fighting became so violent they had to protect Paul and bring him back to the barracks and a murder plot began for him.

Paul may not have been with the disciples when Jesus appeared in flesh to provide His last teachings, but he did encounter Christ (Acts 9) and he knew and believed that the resurrection was promised. Jesus coming out of the tomb and appearing to the apostles and sending the Spirit was so powerful that a small group of men and women quickly multiplies and the message of salvation began to spread and continues to spread to the ends of the earth.

Why does such a miracle and promise for us cause such division and misunderstanding? It’s so important that Paul dedicated a significant amount to thoroughly explain and clear up all misunderstandings of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. Our old bodies die, and we are given new glorious bodies. This idea is used to explain accepting Christ’s atonement, we die to our flesh and old self and instead rest in Christ, are filled with the Spirit, and become a new creation. This is just a small glimpse and expression of the new creation we will be in heaven (1 Peter 3:13 – 4:11; Romans 6:1-14)

Yet there will always be those who, like the Pharisees, don’t want their power threatened by the hope of the resurrection. There is no shortage of scripture to confront us with the reality that some will not accept this message and there will be a judgement at end times and when Jesus ushers in the new Jerusalem, only those who died to self on earth will be raised to eternal life in heaven. It can feel uncomfortable, unloving, and all around not an urgent issue. But let us be faithful in the resurrection, let us be motivated as the apostles were, to take the hope we have and go share it with the world. The need is more urgent than you know.

12 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

Daniel 12:1-3 (Matthew 23:24-30, Revelation 20:11-15, Hebrews 12:14-29, 2 Peter 3)

Throughout the Gospel of John it is made constantly clear, no matter how many miracles and signs Jesus performed, some wouldn’t believe in Him and this is a fulfillment of prophesy by Isaiah (John 12:37-42) and concluded that “they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

At the end of Jesus’s signs and teaching, before the Passover events began, was this summary of His mission. Jesus did many things and left us many examples of how to lead, teach, love, and serve, but ultimately He came to save us. To share the words of the Father and lead us to eternal life.

44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. 47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So, whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

John 12:44-50

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