Galatians 2:20-20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Mark 16:1-7-1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.
2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'”
John 11:20-2720 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. 21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
The empty tomb is a fact. Jesus has risen. Jesus is alive. He appeared to over 500 witnesses on multiple occasions before He ascended into heaven. It is rare to have one or two sources to confirm facts from the ancient world, but there are nine known sources from inside and outside of the New Testament that confirm and corroborate the appearances of Jesus. You can try to dismiss that if you want to, but it won’t make it less true. Not only did several people write about the risen Christ, but the disciples willingly gave their lives for this fact. Jesus was resurrected from the dead. I have no doubt about that fact.
In the most declarative Great I Am statement of all in John chapter 11, Jesus said of Himself to Martha, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
Jesus is life. He is real life. He is eternal life. He is abundant life. He is a Giver of life. 1 John 5:11-12 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
If you have accepted Christ as Savior, you have spiritual life, real life. That means, you have been raised from a position of spiritual death to a position of spiritual life. It means you have new life in Christ. It means God is transforming you from the inside out. It means you will share in eternal life with Christ in Heaven forever when life on earth is through for you. When life on earth was through for Jesus, He ascended into Heaven. If He is your Savior, when life on earth is through for you, your real self, your soul, will also ascend to Heaven. Real life is made possible through the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross when He took the punishment for our sin and through His victory over death as He was raised to life again.
Our story from John chapter 11 is about a man named Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. They were close friends of Jesus, so close in fact, that we read in John 11 that Jesus loved this family (V 5). There had a close relationship. Lazarus became sick and the sisters sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick. Look at verse 4: 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
Instead of rushing to Lazarus’ side, Jesus stayed where He was for two more days. Jesus declared the sickness wouldn’t end in death, but Lazarus did die. Jesus broke the news of Lazarus’ death to the disciples and then told them it was time to head to Lazarus’ house. And then He said something very interesting. In verse 15 Jesus said He was glad Lazarus had already died and also that He was glad that He hadn’t gone to him while He was just sick. Doesn’t that seem cold, uncaring and insensitive? Why was He glad about that? Verse 15-So that they would believe. Believe what? Believe that He was the Resurrection and the Life.
So, when Jesus got to Lazarus’ home we read that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. He wasn’t just dead. He was four days’ dead. Martha and Mary, Lazarus’ sisters got to speak with Jesus separately, but both said the exact same thing to Him: “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Obviously, they had talked it over and had come to the same conclusion. The apparent plan, however, was that Jesus was not to have been there before it happened. The apparent plan was that Lazarus was supposed to die because there was something greater for the sisters, and the disciples, and the mourners to learn and experience that was even greater in intensity than the four days of grief they had suffered.
Remember, that verse 4 says that God had a plan for God’s glory to be revealed through Lazarus’ death. Verse 15 said it was for the benefit of the people who would experience the resurrection miracle that Lazarus died. God’s glory and our benefit. Even difficult circumstances like death can be used of God to reveal His glory and can be for our good somehow when we trust that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life.
Jesus took time to talk with both of the sisters. He spent time crying with them as He entered into their pain and grief (V. 35). He loved their family. He was compassionate toward them. Jesus asked to be taken to Lazarus’ tomb. Still at this point, no one was thinking about an immediate resurrection. They believed in a resurrection on the last day of time on earth, but they weren’t looking for anything immediate. When Jesus asked for the stone to be moved from the entrance of the cave, Martha tried to stop Him. She said the stench of death would be too much to handle. Jesus then said in verse 40, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” There it is again. God’s glory.
The stone was removed. Verse 41: Jesus looked up and prayed saying, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” There it is again. Our benefit!
God’s glory and our benefit. That is what the Great I Am, Jesus, is all about!
Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb.
Verse 44: The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Can you picture the scene? Can you imagine Lazarus’ first words? What do you say when you come back from the dead? “Surprise?!” “Howdy y’all?” “All this for me? I’m touched?” ? We are left to imagine the elation. We are left to picture the tears of grief turn to tears of joy. We are left to consider the hugging and shouting and worship that must have taken place.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
I love that Jesus added the detail about taking off the grave clothes. Now that Lazarus was alive, Jesus wanted him to live free. How much fun would it be to live again but to be draped in the stench of death, to be bound by old grave clothes? Do you think there is a message in that for us this morning?
Now, with the introduction out of the way, let me preach this message. ? I want to tell you two things and ask you one question.
Jesus, the Great I Am is the Resurrection and the Life. Jesus supersedes death. It isn’t too hard for Jesus to overcome.
Death seems pretty final, but Jesus proves He always has the last say. Death isn’t a match for Jesus. He proved it in the raising of Lazarus from the dead. He proved it by His own resurrection. I Corinthians 15:55-56 tells us that Jesus has taken the sting out of death. It says that death has been swallowed up in victory. Jesus swallowed death and it didn’t take Him out. It couldn’t take Him out because death holds no dominion over Him who is Life!
We also read in I Corinthians 15 that Jesus’ victory has become our victory, so death holds no dominion over those who are in Christ either! Death may seem final, but it isn’t because Jesus supersedes death. He has proven to be greater than death.
I don’t know what you are dealing with this morning that may seem final. I am sure Mary and Martha quit praying for Lazarus to get better after he died. I am sure they concluded it was over. Maybe you have given up on something to which the door seems forever closed. It may seem to be over for you in some area of your life. It may appear to be hopeless. You may feel powerless to see any change, but hear me clearly this morning: Jesus, The Great I Am, the Resurrection and the Life is living, and because He lives, He can call forth anything He wants to at any time for God’s glory and your benefit!
Jesus supersedes time. It isn’t too late for Jesus to do something new.
Four days in the tomb? No problem. Jesus isn’t bound by time. Some of you here this morning may think it is too late for you. Maybe you think you have wasted too much time. Maybe you think your past is too dark and there is no hope for Jesus to perform a miracle in your life. God has sent me to tell you that it isn’t too late. It isn’t too late for you to come to Jesus. It isn’t too late for Him to turn your life around. It isn’t too late for you to walk in newness of life and to share in Christ’s victory!
Martha was a believer. She believed that one day something could change for Lazarus. She believed in a future resurrection (V 24), but she believed more time would have to pass before it would happen. She believed she would have to wait on that miracle. It would be for some day, but not that day.
Jesus proved He stands above time when He resurrected Lazarus from the grave. Maybe you have been praying for something for years, believing for something for years, hoping that the future could be different from the past. What if today is resurrection day for you in some area of your life? What if today Jesus wants to do a new thing?
Here is the bottom line: Jesus proved that He is the Resurrection and the Life. He proved that death isn’t an obstacle for Him. He proved He was and is greater than time.
I don’t know what needs resurrected in your life. I might be your soul. It might be your faith. It could be a relationship. It might be a dream, your finances, your health. I do know God is able to come in power and provide for you. Death has been called the last enemy in I Cor. 15:26. You know what that tells me? Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life, has taken care of everything for us.
So, here is my question. It is the question Jesus asked Martha: Look at verses 25-26 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Do you believe? Do you? Do you believe God wants to give you eternal life through Jesus? Do you believe He wants to impact your now? Do you believe He wants to remove the graveclothes from an old way of life, from an old way of thinking and give you an opportunity to live free in Him? Do you believe that everything you might experience in this life, even the difficult stuff, could turn out to be for God’s glory and your benefit? It’s possible if we allow Jesus to do what He desires to do in His way and in His time. Jesus said He is the Resurrection and the Life and that anyone who believes in Him will live and not die. Do you believe?