John 11:25 (NIV)
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die…
Most of us are familiar with the story that underlies our Verse of the Day. The circumstance is Jesus raising (resurrecting) his friend Lazarus from death. But before this miraculous event, Jesus has a conversation with Martha, a sister of Lazarus, where He discloses another “I AM” claim regarding His identity. Let’s read the passage for context:
John 11:11-27; 38-44 (NIV)
11 After Jesus had said this, He went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 17 On His arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 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. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” He said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “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.” 43 When He had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Who has ever witnessed a person who was dead for four days being brought back to life? It is unthinkable … incomprehensible! And yet, this is the eyewitness account John has declared to us. Lazarus was restored to life in front of a crowd of people. The unbelievable happened right in front of their eyes. Can you imagine? What would you or I have thought in that moment? Would we have bowed down at Jesus’ feet and worshipped Him on the spot? Would we conclude in our hearts and minds that God sent Him? Should our reaction be any different when we see the supernatural occur before our eyes even now in our generation? What did Jesus tell Martha? He said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
And equally unimaginable is the response of the religious rulers upon hearing of this supernatural power of God being exercised through Jesus. John 11:53 bluntly states: “They plotted to kill Him.” Seriously? And their rationale? “Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” (Cf. John 11:47-48) Really? They were more concerned about preserving their religious tradition and their personal glory than experiencing the power and love of God in their lives and His glory?
Yet, I have seen this same rationale … this same phenomenon in the Church today. I see the manifestations and work of the Holy Spirit being suppressed by many of the religious leaders within the modern Church … especially here in America. There are some who assert that the signs of the Holy Spirit and supernatural works ended with the Apostles. Yet, how can that be? Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Cf. Hebrews 13:8) Jesus is still performing miracles before our very eyes. Jesus is still raising the dead to new life. He is still healing the sick, comforting the broken hearted, and setting the captive free. There are thousands upon thousands of testimonies to these wonders throughout the world!
Just as the Father sent Jesus into the world so that we might believe in Him; the Holy Spirit was sent in His Name to indwell believers so that we might be empowered to continue His work and to bring glory to the Father. Before His ascension into heaven, Jesus said to His disciples: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Cf. Acts 1:8) Paul affirmed: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-disciple.” (Cf. 2 Timothy 1:7) Jesus declared, “Abide in me, as I also abide in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must abide in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (Cf. John 15:4-5) And Paul affirmed, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” (Cf. Romans 8:9b)
Oh, how I pray in these last days that the Church will awaken to these truths! Jesus Christ is risen! He is seated at the right hand of God! (Cf. Luke 22:69; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1) Indeed, our Lord Jesus gave His disciples power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and He sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. (Cf. Luke 9:1-2) After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go. And Jesus said: “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects Him who sent me.” The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Cf. Luke 10:1; 16-20)
Some of the ancient manuscripts have this ending passage from the Gospel of Mark:
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen. (Cf. Mark 16:15-20)
Well, I will close with the same question that Jesus asked Martha. “Do you believe this?” Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life? Do you believe that Jesus continues to perform His supernatural work today so that people will believe the Father who sent Him? I am convinced that He still does! My own life is a testimony of the One called me out of darkness into light … who performed miracles of deliverance, healing, and salvation within me. Yes, let us celebrate and rejoice in the author and the redeemer of life. “I AM the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Cf. Revelation 1:8)