Easter: John 11:25: I Am the Resurrection and the Life

Never more to die, Jesus now lives!  Now, the sunrise of Easter shines upon us, sending away the somber mood of Lent.  All is now different because Jesus struck down the walls of death’s fortress.  The cross now beams with a brilliant light.  All sadness mutes as the music of our consolation and well-being trumpet forth from His cross.  For what once brought only death now, in Christ, announces the power of life. 

The disciples, at first, did not experience this Easter joy or peace.  How strange.  Less than a week earlier, dancing branches and rejoicing crowds, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” took hold of their souls!  Oh, the excitement bedazzling them. 

On Thursday evening, a gloom descends.  Strange words from their Teacher assault their ears—about Him dying.  The annual Passover, they celebrate, but Jesus leaves the last cup of this Feast unfinished, still full of wine.  The Passover is incomplete.  To the garden, their Lord goes, to Gethsemane to pray.  On Friday, the true Passover Lamb, will drink the fourth and final cup from a sponge, soaked with sour wine. 

Still being Thursday, over 200 soldiers break the quiet of prayer and seize Jesus.  In a short time, these followers of His will flee into the night, tangled and entwined in terror.  The Rock, Peter, who boasts he will die before He denies his Lord, now does so—not once, but three times.  Early, Friday morning, a crowd will chant, “Crucify him!”

How does this make sense in the promises Jesus made to Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus died?  In their grief, Jesus unveils who is, as a small phrase exposes the enormity of His Being, “I Am.”  With two words, Jesus unmasks the infinity of His essence, applying the name of God to Himself.  The Old Testament records God’s name is Yahweh, a form of “He Is.”  So, with “I Am,” Christ is calling Himself God.  No wonder He can proclaim Himself as the resurrection and life (John 11:25). 

Now, he is dead.  For three years, these believers lived and learned from the One, whom they thought to be the long-foretold Messiah.  Too soon, He suffers the soldiers’ abuse and trudges toward the butchering slope.  The Rabbi they followed dies by crucifixion.  No one outlasts this.  All who witness this torturous execution are never the same, so traumatic is this slaughter.  Once on the wood, no victim can escape his fate. 

Shorn of their optimism and expectations, doubting disciples tumble back into the real world.  In their experiences, distress is part of everyday life, and everyone dies—and so, they are afraid.  These disciples fear, what they once held about Jesus, is now a lie.  Now dead, He can no longer fulfill what He came to do for them—or anyone else. 

With their Leader executed, they might be next.  Now, all His miracles mean nothing, for they lie in the past, in the dust of death.  So, they hide, in nervousness and panic.  A few women, however, go to complete their Lord’s burial, now taking the time to do the task right.  Though, they don’t believe either, for they seek the dead, not the living.

The angels appear to the women.  Still, the men don’t accept their word—no one survives a crucifixion.  Ah, they want Jesus to be alive so much they think He still lives.  No, this is insanity talking.  So, they dismiss their reports as hysterical hallucinations. 

Later, when Peter and John go to the tomb, John, at last, believes, but intense fear still stirs inside these anxious disciples.  What does all this mean, as their emotions short-circuit what Jesus earlier taught them?  These men stood gaping at Lazarus as he stepped out of the grave.  Amazed, they witnessed a young man sit up at his funeral procession.  Stunned ears took in how the daughter of a Roman official returned to life.

Do not disbelieve—Jesus lives!  Gaze on death’s wood with a shining light, not in the gloom of Crucifixion Friday.  Be afraid no more, for He is not dead!  This fact stands strong, for Jesus isn’t only alive but also rose from death—something no one can or will do again.  On the Roman’s most feared instrument of torture, He perished, paying for our sins by His suffering and death.  From this, He brought heaven’s forgiveness for them, for us, for all.  Now, is the reconciliation between God and man.

So, this cease-fire from above is also yours, since our Savior’s wounds didn’t only benefit a small group of long ago.  No, His living body affirms His mission is complete.  The Father’s forgiveness—full and free—is yours because of what Christ endured. 

The Scriptures decree we are innocent of sin and made righteous before God.  The peace with God, which the angels regaled at Jesus’ birth, achieved by His death, is now yours.  For this reason, you believe this to be true.  Which is why we also speak to others in Christ’s Church, “Peace be with you.”  A reality by Jesus but spoken by us.

The centuries pass, since the disciples’ first Easter encounter with Jesus.  Now, alive, He still cares for His own, through the ages, including us today.  Yes, Jesus embraces us into His all-encompassing care.  No matter what lies ahead, He will bring you through everything.  By faith, you realize well how all will end—in eternal life with Him. 

This truth brings us wholeness, security, and resolve.  Behold our Redeemer’s cross and wounds, which assure us of so much.  In a different light, sparkle now in Your Savior’s cross.  First a place of torment, now this is no more—all because Jesus lives.

Though His first believers fear death, Jesus still comes with His blessing.  Despite unbelief, assuming Him dead, Jesus comes to change their hearts!  Like them, so for us, since Easter changes how we understand life and eternity. 

First, they glowered at the killing cross as the needed payment for sin: The Law with its razored sting.  Now, in the light of neverending life, Jesus causes them to delight in the crucifying cross.  The Gospel in its joyous beauty.  For the cold grave cannot contain the en-Spirited Son of God.  The tables of death overturn, no longer able to dominate. 

A breathing body stands before fearful disciples, as before the crucifixion.  The wounds are still fresh, but now altered, now glorified.  Into the dark tomb, He went, to vanquish our last enemy.  So, too, will His disciples be.  Through death, they will rise forth to live. 

An unfaltering Jesus proclaims, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”  The lifeblood of our certainty, which Jesus gives us.  For our sin, He died, to rise again and make us right with His heavenly Father.  On the Last Day, He will return to claim us as His own.

In Him, one prospers for all eternity; apart from Him, no one can rise to life eternal.  So also, does the Apostle Paul report: The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you.  What’s the result?  The Holy Spirit will also give life to your mortal body because He resides in you (Romans 8:11). 

“Whoever believes will receive everlasting life,” so our Savior made real (John 3:16).  In the ugly face of our doom, we too can shout—Jesus is our Resurrection, which means, also our Life.  The Lord’s own rising from death’s icy grip strips away its bitter bite.  What death snatches away, Jesus steals back, drenching us with salvation instead.  The venom’s sting is no more.  No longer need we sorrow as those empty of hope.

What encouragement and reconciliation those first disciples receive!  From Jesus, they can face every life challenge, knowing they will pass through death, as their Lord did, and come out the other side.  Brought back to life like Jesus, with exalted bodies, they will thrive with Him forever in the mansions He prepared for them.

Such reassurance is yours, as well.  Though Jesus suffered torture and execution, He didn’t stay dead.  The same Jesus, who paid the debt your sins deserved, lives for You.  Lifeless hands now move, feet stride, and legs walk.  Among the Eleven, He lives again, for they belong to a risen and life-giving Lord.  Now, you also will live. 

The women went to finish the burial of Jesus.  In their minds, they recall His body, pale and unresponsive.  Like our Lord, an hour will come when our bodies will lie, bereft of life, entombed in a grave.  Remember, Jesus lived after death and so, too, will you. 

Though your hands may seize up in death, they will grasp again.  The resurrected Christ will call you and me out of our graves.  Once more, hands will move, now with complete and sin-free bodies.  From such graves, our risen Redeemer will bestow on us sinless and perfect bodies like His own, your resurrection into immortal life. 

Your hope can now endure because of Him who persevered for you.  In Christ, you can face each challenge and tragedy with courage.  Do not miss what He reveals about being the Resurrection.  Yes, He is the One who saves, delivers, and liberates us from the calamity of death.  Still, Jesus isn’t the God who never allows death to touch us, or let our fallen flesh ruin our eternity.  No, He brings you through Your travails, including grave and death.  Yes, you can delight in splendor and glimmer in God’s glory. 

Now, we believe we, too, will arise from the dead—as did Jesus.  Only He is empowered to deliver such hope.  So, when you face the loss of a loved one, turn to the Lord of life.  Do not fear as the disciples did before Jesus appeared.  After overcoming death, He lives to forgives your wrongs, to this day! 

So, grief be gone, and sorrow be silent, for Christ is alive and risen—and all eternity is now yours.  Believe and live this, for this is true.  Amen.