Knowing God and John’s Gospel (7)

Jesus said to [Martha], “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 11:25-26).

Of course, no one knows what Jesus looked like, but this painting is inaccurate because Jesus was a Middle Eastern Jew.

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In John 11, Jesus is informed that his good friend Lazarus is sick. Nevertheless, he waits two more days where he is. It is a two-day trip. Therefore, when he finally arrives at the home of Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary, in Bethany, he is four days late because Lazarus has died and been buried in a tomb already.

When Jesus finally arrives at Martha and Mary’s home, they question him as to why he stayed so long. In response, he makes the next “I AM” claim, “I am the resurrection and the life….” Now, only God is the source of life, both physical and spiritual. Clearly, he makes another statement identifying himself as God. 

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As Jesus approaches Lazarus’ tomb with Mary, Martha, and a crowd of mourners, some of them criticize Jesus for failing to be there sooner, while others believe in him. Then, the shortest verse in the Bible says, “Jesus wept.” According to the context, he cries quietly in sympathy for Martha and Mary and in quiet grief over the stubborn unbelievers in the crowd. Then, he shouts for Lazarus to come out of the tomb! And he does!      

The Jewish people at that time believe with no biblical basis that the soul of a dead person lingers around the grave for three days. Thus, Jesus makes sure to back up his audacious claim to be God by giving life in place of obvious death.

Do all the people rejoice at Jesus’ great miracle? No, some of them report Jesus’ action to the religious authorities. Thus begins their serious plan to kill Jesus, an incredible but true response. They felt threatened. 

But Jesus’ question for us is: “Do you believe in Jesus to be the Person of God who can lead you to God the Father’s forgiveness?” How do you respond?

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