Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died…Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:21, 25-26)
When someone you love dies, your first thought is probably of the hole it leaves in your life. You think about everything you went through together, and you want that person back. That is where Martha was at. Can you hear the frustration in her words? Martha knew that Jesus could have healed her brother but had not.
Doesn’t that make you wonder why? Whenever God does not fix things to our liking, we’re tempted to think that either God doesn’t have the power to help, or he doesn’t want to. Like Martha, it’s easy to want Jesus to immediately cure all our troubles.
So Jesus gently corrected her—and corrects us—with his promise: “I am the resurrection and the life.” You see, even more than he wanted Martha not to lose her brother, Jesus wanted her to know that he could do more than heal the sick.
Our biggest problem is death, and Jesus is the solution. Jesus came so that even if you get sick, even if your heart stops beating, you will never die. He came so that you can live forever with God in heaven. He came so that one day, even long after your body has been buried, it will rise and live again. Jesus proved that he can do it by raising Lazarus from the dead.
That is why Jesus is the resurrection. He brings the dead back to life. In fact, Jesus is the life. He gave his life so that our place with God is alive and well. While you are on this earth, Jesus does not promise you a smooth ride, but he does promise you strength for the journey. As surely as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, those who believe in him will rise from the dead.
Dearest Jesus, thank you for being my resurrection and my life. Be with me always, in good days and in bad, to fill me with hope. Amen.
Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. (Matthew 20:20-22)
Pride has been called the sin behind every other sin. Pride is thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. Pride keeps us from thinking we need God’s forgiveness. Pride is spiritually dangerous.
It was pride that led two disciples, James and John, to ask Jesus if they could sit in places of honor in his kingdom. They believed that they were worthy of places of honor and respect. They wanted to make sure they got those special seats before the other disciples did. Their pride even led them to believe they could drink the same cup of suffering that Jesus would drink. But Jesus graciously responded, “You don’t know what you are asking.” Their pride kept them from hearing how foolish they sounded.
It can be easy to point out pride in others, like the disciples, but our arrogance keeps us from seeing it in ourselves. Pride blinds us from our own pride. So, how do we know when we are falling into the sin of pride? If we are feeling entitled, if we are filled with anger or arrogance, we can assume that pride is lurking behind those feelings.
So, what can a person do to extinguish pride? First, acknowledge it and confess it before God. Next, receive God’s forgiveness for your feelings of pride. Finally, fix your eyes on God. You see, when your eyes are turned upward towards your glorious, powerful, gracious God, it becomes much harder to look down on anyone else.
Lord Jesus, forgive me for my pride, for puffing myself up and looking down on others. Lead me to grasp your glory, power, and grace so that I walk in true humility. Amen.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)
“Your whole life can change in an instant.” Usually, we hear that phrase applied to negative and tragic situations. And it’s true that a car accident, job loss, or doctor’s diagnosis can all change your whole life in an instant.
But not everything that changes your life in an instant is a bad thing. The instant a father and mother hear their new baby’s cries for the first time—their whole lives have changed in an instant…and for the better. The new life that just arrived in the delivery room has brought new life and a changed world for the whole family.
The new life that arrived at the empty tomb on Easter morning brought new life and a changed world for all who believe in Jesus. And we weren’t even there! We weren’t walking with the ladies that first Easter Sunday, carrying myrrh and spices. We didn’t duck our heads into the tomb with Peter and John only to find empty strips of linen and a lonely face cloth. We sure weren’t there when new life came to a lifeless body, and death suddenly lost its chill. We weren’t there. And yet Paul says to the Colossians and us, “You have been raised with Christ.”
How can this be? When the Holy Spirit works faith in a person’s heart, their whole life changes in an instant. Through faith, Jesus and his people become inexorably intertwined. He has led a perfect life in God’s sight. By faith, his followers receive that perfect life in God’s sight. He has conquered death. By faith, his followers will one day conquer death.
No, we weren’t there with the women to hear the angels’ message. We didn’t peer into the tomb with Peter and John. We don’t need to go back in time to be raised with Christ. Instead, Christ comes to us—to our hearts by faith and brings with him the power of his resurrection: Joy where there was only sadness. Hope where there was only despair. New life where there was only death. Look at the empty tomb and rejoice―everything changed in an instant!
Risen Savior, I rejoice in your resurrection and gladly embrace the hope you have brought me. Thank you for conquering death and sharing your triumph with me. Amen.
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)
The devil can do a lot of damage, but he can’t go back and change this fact. Jesus won. Death remains defeated. Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again.
As I write this, in mid-April, Covid-19 is the only thing on the news. It is the only thing on TV, it is the only constant topic of conversation on social media, it is the only thing discussed on radio news channels. The president, many governors, and many mayors are holding daily press conferences.
The reasons for this coverage is obvious – In a very short time, Coronavirus has changed the way everything is done throughout the world. People “shelter in place,” stay 6 feet apart, and are confined to small spaces (away from loved ones) to preserve lives.
Life is to be honored and respected. I write this with absolutely no qualifications. And at the same time, this life we are now living is not the most important thing in creation. Above all other things is the forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ. Through Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, we have the promise of life everlasting and salvation from death.
One way or another, we are all going to die. Paul writes that “the wages of sin is death.” We have all sinned, therefore we all die. And yet, Jesus has done away with your sin in his blood. His resurrection to eternal life guarantees your resurrection to live eternally with him. Death is defeated (just as the Devil is) and it cannot hurt you forever.
Dearest Jesus, where there is the forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation. Keep me steadfast in this Christian faith that I may have comfort all my days and finally attain to the hope of life everlasting with you. In your precious name I pray. Amen