The “I AM” Claims of Jesus, 3, Title: The Most Consoling Claim, Text: John 11:25

Series: The “I AM” Claims of Jesus, 3, Title: The Most Consoling Claim, Text: John 11:25

INTRODUCTION

My wife and I are great-grandparents, she is in her 70’s and I am in my 80’s. This means, inevitably, that many of our old friends are being promoted to glory. We pray for the survivors, and the passage that most often comes to mind is Jesus statement in John 11:25 and 26: Jesus said to her, "I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. This is an awe inspiring statement that deserves serious contemplation which we will do under four ideas: the context, the complications, the compassion, and the case.

I THE CONTEXT


We learn in this chapter that Jesus has close friends. We know Jesus loves His people for we have been taught from our earliest years through the gospel song “Jesus Loves Me,” if no other way. But the love I speak of is not saving love, but friendship love, as John is called the disciple whom Jesus loved. This is the kind of love that makes us rush to the side of a friend who is sick or dying. Jesus does not do that. In fact He intentionally delays. Read verses 11-13, After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. Jesus disciples misunderstand His delay and so do the sisters of Lazarus who say to Him upon His arrival somewhat resentfully that if he had been there Lazarus would not have died. But as revealed in verses 14 and 15 Jesus is being deliberate and has a reason He has chosen His great friend for this end. So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

II THE COMPLICATIONS

Now if you read the Gospel of John and observe the timeline, you see that these events occurred as Jesus had determined to go to Jerusalem. In this chapter is recorded the serious concern of the apostles of Jesus who warn Him that He is heading into really serious jeopardy by returning to Jerusalem. Thomas even urges the others to go along and die with Jesus. Jesus finally goes back to the vicinity of Jerusalem after announcing that His friend, Lazarus, is dead. Bethany is a proverbial stone’s throw from Jerusalem, what we would call today a suburb. We also see the leaders of the Jews plotting Jesus’ death in verses 45-53 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 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.” Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life. And thus we have also the High Priest, Caiaphas, who does not believe and opposes Jesus, being used by God to utter a pregnant and wonderful prophecy. Clearly his words reveal the redemptive plan of God, but like the false prophet, Baalam, in Numbers, he does not know that he is being used by the Holy Spirit.

III THE COMPASSION

The Apostles and the family of Lazarus experienced consternation at the behavior of Jesus. They would both want to know why Jesus delayed, and he provides the answer in verses 4, 14 and 15, When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it….So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Of course, they had no idea what Jesus meant. They thought initially that He meant Lazarus would not die, but He meant that the death would not be final. The evangelist John has told us plainly that Jesus glory is revealed through His signs. This is, perhaps, the greatest of them. John tells us in chapter 2:11 at the first recorded miracle, What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. So you might even dare to say that Jesus love for His friends is here elevated to His love for His own whom he redeems because as we read beginning at verse 17, On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” The natural conclusion that Jesus friends and disciples might have reached is that He did not care. This is something we are familiar with when tragedy touches our lives. However, we learn that he cares deeply. It was very painful for Jesus to do this to His friends whom He loved, and thus we have recorded what has become famous as the shortest verse in the in the Bible. As He stood there with the family and the mourners at Lazarus tomb we read in verse 35, Jesus wept. And in  verse 36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” This is a remarkable insight into Jesus emotions and therefore into God’s nature. Shout it from the roof tops. “God cares.” It may often appear that He does not, as we see in this incident, and yet we can be assured that He does. Paul advises the Christians at Rome in 12:15, Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. This is what Jesus did.

IV THE CASE

When you think about it, Jesus claim to be the resurrection and the life is both astounding and comforting. They who have known its power to raise them out of spiritual death will not doubt its power to raise them from bodily death to a more abundant life than this world affords Once they felt as if nothing could deliver them because they were dead in sin and their hardened hearts rejected the Lord. But when Christ’s love sought them and called them into life they knew the power of His resurrection. And so Christ does not say, I have the power, but, I am the power. Is anyone, is Lazarus, joined to Me? has he attached himself confidingly to My Person: then whatever I am finds exercise in him. It is not only that I have this power to exercise on whom I may; but I am this power, so that if one be one with Me I cannot withhold the exercise of that power from him. No wonder when Paul writes that he counts all that he lost as refuse according to Philippians 3:10, Paul states, I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. Above all, it is hard to think of anything that could be of greater comfort at the moment of our own demise, or the death of loved ones. Please trust in Him because He is the resurrection and the life.