“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
Jesus spoke those words to a woman named Martha from the town of Bethany. Martha’s brother, Lazarus, had been very sick and eventually died. Martha was upset because she had sent for the Lord days earlier, but it seemed as if Jesus took his time in arriving to heal his sick friend.
We’ve already discussed a similar gift, eternal life, that Jesus extends to His children. I believe that within these words our Savior spoke to Martha, a different gift is ours to receive and experience: the gift of life. Life where we don’t just suffer through the work week and feel renewed on Sunday, but life that is born from belief in the One that died for us. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead to life and offers us the same life-changing gift today!
We could fill pages and pages with things this world has to offer that make us feel “alive.” The term creature comforts prompts our desires in different directions, but in the end we all feel better because of them. From the coffee maker or microwave, to the hair dryer or television, we feel better knowing they are at our disposal. On the same line, we could add vacations, electronic toys, smart phones and so on…These things aren’t wrong. They’re blessings, but true LIFE like the life Jesus has for us has nothing to do with these.
One of the first disciples that Jesus called was a man named Nathanael. He had his doubts when another disciple told him that the Messiah had finally come. Jesus approached Nathanael and called to him. Nathanael immediately declared Jesus to be the Son of God, to which Jesus replied, “You shall see greater things…” (John 1:50) This greater living in the Lord is also spoken of in 1 Corinthians 2:9 where the apostle Paul echoes the words of Isaiah: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” To grab hold of what real living looks like, we need to go back and look at the reason Jesus waited to return to Bethany to help his friends.
When Jesus first received word that Lazarus was ill, the Bible tells us that Jesus stayed where he was for two days. (A brief side note: when it feels like God isn’t listening or not answering your prayers, please remember this vital truth of how Jesus answered Martha’s plea!) The Lord’s reason for waiting was for, “God’s glory so that the Son may be glorified through it.” Real living glorifies God by glorifying Jesus. When we live with the hope that everything we do will glorify God and Jesus, life will become unlike anything we’ve imagined.
A second truth that helps us grab hold of the gift of LIFE that Jesus offers is found in a second statement He made in Bethany. “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.” (John 11:14,15) Real living creates an opportunity for others to believe. Just before raising Lazarus, Jesus looked up to heaven and said “for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
Dear friends, let us accept and live the real life that Jesus offers. The life that glorifies our Creator and Savior and the one that leads other people to the Father’s heart. When we live that life, we will be in for a personal transformation that we can’t begin to imagine and we will be showered in the amazing things God has planned for us!