Sunday, May 20, 2012



Continuing with the relational "I AM" signatures, one of the most powerful of all has to do with the story of Jesus' close friend, Lazarus. Jesus was probably in Jerash, a couple of days from Jerusalem, when He heard the news that His friend Lazarus had died. Jesus didn't quickly go to Jerusalem, but seemed to wait awhile before starting out. This hesitation even concerned His disciples, but Jesus took His time. The theory is that Jesus waited on purpose to set up one of the most amazing miracles ever. The longer He waited the longer Lazarus' body had to decompose.
Think about it! If Jesus was there right at the death of Lazarus and raised Lazarus from the dead, people could easily have said that Lazarus wasn't really dead. But after four days, there was no doubt that Lazarus was dead-really dead!

When Jesus did show up, Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, greeted Jesus with the same exasperation. They each believed that if Jesus had only been there, Lazarus wouldn't have died. The account is in the eleventh chapter of John: Martha then said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:21-26)

NOTE Jesus brought up the possibility of resurrection and Martha quickly thought Jesus was referring to the belief of an end-time resurrection. But Jesus wasn't talking about doctrines or a set of beliefs; He was referring to Himself: "I am the resurrection and the life." Jesus was doing what Jesus does best. He made it up close and personal. This brings us to SECRET #43: The follower of Jesus relates to his Master as the resurrection and the life.

Then Jesus moved into gear to prove Himself as the resurrection and the life by raising His friend, Lazarus, from the dead after he had been dead for 4 days. NOTE how Jesus did the impossible and asked the people to do the possible. Jesus asked the people to do three things: FIRST-Jesus said, "Where have you laid him?" Jesus knew where they laid him. He made the cave where he was laid out, but Jesus involved the people in the process and they showed Him where Lazarus was buried.

SECOND-Jesus said, "Remove the stone!" Jesus could have easily moved the stone. Anyone who can raise a person from the dead, after "Behold, how he stinketh!" can certainly move a gravestone out of the way. But again Jesus involved the people in doing what they could do.

THIRD-Jesus said, "Unbind him and let him go." Now, don't you think the grave clothes would have been an easy deal for Jesus to remove? Jesus asked the people there to remove the grave clothes.

Then, Jesus did what only Jesus could do. He walked into the tomb and said, "Lazarus, come forth!" Now here is where Jesus had to move into gear. Only God can tell a dead person to get up and he gets up! So, Jesus proved to be the resurrection and the life by bringing Lazarus back to life!

Jesus wants us to DO THE POSSIBLE BY FAITH THAT HE WILL DO THE IMPOSSIBLE! Jesus is the agent of making impossible things possible! After an encounter with what we know as the "rich young ruler", Jesus and His disciples had a brief discussion about impossibilities. The disciples asked Jesus, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With human beings this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."

You see this same theme throughout the ministry of Jesus. The man lame from birth in the early chapters of Acts, was healed in the name of Jesus. That's impossible! The feeding of 5000+ people with only one sack lunch. That's impossible! The transformation of an impassioned Pharisee, Saul, from one of the most feared opponents of Jesus to become one of His most well-known followers and teachers. Impossible!

Now, here we have the resurrection of Jesus' friend, Lazarus, after he was dead for 4 days. Very impossible, but Jesus did it! It's not just that He pulled off a powerful work of the resurrection; Jesus is the resurrection and the life! SECRET #43: The follower of Jesus relates to his Master as the resurrection and the life. To relate to Jesus in this way means two things. FIRST-No matter how impossible things seem to you, Jesus traffics in the impossible and makes them possible. SECOND-Jesus is the constant hope and power that you can start over no matter what!