The world is filled with death. Everything is dying. Everyone we know is, in some way approaching death. Jesus took the machinery of death and made it run backwards. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Not only did Jesus rise from the dead (1 Cor. 15:20).
Jesus came to the tomb of his friend Lazarus with this great message. It is the same Gospel message which he brings to us—he is the resurrection and the life. I love this discussion between Jesus and Mary in John 11:21-28,
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from 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. 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?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.
We can learn so much about who Jesus is and why Jesus came and we have hope in this discussion. First we learn that death reigns when we are away from Jesus. We also see that God the Father and God the Son share the divine authority which makes anything possible. We also see that the dead will rise because Jesus is the resurrection. The resurrection to life is guaranteed to believers who follow Jesus.
When Jesus came to Lazarus’ tomb, no one had hope. Grief prevailed. Jesus reversed that situation. He was acknowledged as “the resurrection and the life” and upon that confession walked over to the tomb, wept, and freed Lazarus from mankind’s great enemy. Lazarus lived. Jesus raised him. Death had given way to the giver of life. This episode with Jesus and Lazarus helps us to understand what happens when Christ comes to us who are spiritually dead.
Before we are saved, we are “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). Jesus, the giver of life, comes to our dead bodies and calls us through the Gospel (2 Thess. 2:14). We should respond as Lazarus and come out of our tomb to meet Jesus with the new life that he offers.
This is how Paul described the new life we have in Christ in Romans 6. We, who are dead in sin, are buried in Christ (Rom. 6:3). This is where we die together with him so that we can be raised with him (Rom. 6:4). This is why we have assurance of the future bodily resurrection (Rom. 6:5).
We can look to Jesus to admire him and worship him, but we can also be united with Christ. Lazarus died again. Christ died and never will die again. He defeated death. He did away with sin. Why not be raised with him and united with him so that we might live with him forever?