The Lord of Resurrection and Life
Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed.
I am not going to explain about the meaning of Easter or what happened on Easter.
Two children on the video we watched earlier did an excellent job already.
Those two were adopted.
One was adopted from Ethiopia in 2011, and the other from China in that same year.
Their new parents are amazing believers, and they have since adopted one more child, and now the five live happily as one family.
These two have made other videos too, and I especially think their Father’s Day video was touching.
They say they were father-less, but became father-full.
And they claim that it is the same in Jesus Christ.
We were all walking on the road of death without a father, but through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we were adopted into God’s family and became father-full.
Isn’t this the essence of the Gospel?
I believe they do a heck of better job of explaining the essence of the Gospel than famous preachers or biblical scholars.
Did you catch what they said about the Easter?
The essence of Easter is that the tomb is empty, and that is hope for you and me.
And the crazy world that we live in.
The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is the only hope for us.
We live in a chaotic world.
ISIS is still committing terror and murdering Christians.
Famine and drought caused many children to die due to starvation and lack of clean water.
Many young girls are being sold and trafficked by their own parents.
Our motherland, Korea, is going through days of unrest due to political battles, as well as threats from North Korea.
What about our personal lives?
Is everything okay with your life?
I am sure some of us are struggling even now.
Problems of health, problems of family, problems of finances, etc.
Who of us can claim that everything is going so well in our lives?
But there is hope for us.
That is the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
If you do not believe in this resurrection, then your life will be miserable.
Even if you have built up great career and life, you will lose it all once you die.
About 50 years prior to the birth of Jesus Christ, a well-known Roman Sulpicius Severus wrote a letter of condolences to a great orator Cicero.
Cicero’s daughter had passed away.
It was a warm and loving letter.
But it offered no hope about life after death.
Cicero’s reply was that of gratitude, but he also expanded upon the sorrow he was feeling.
About a century later, Paul wrote a letter to Christians who have experienced the loss of their loved ones.
But the tone of the letter is completely different.
Yes, there were elements of mourning, but this letter was hopefully for resurrection.
I Thessalonians 4:13-14,18 “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep…Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
The reason we can be hopeful in this chaotic world is because Jesus resurrected, and in him, we will be resurrected as well.
Then, let us look at how we can make that hope of resurrection ours.
First, if we want to have the hope of resurrection, we need to accept God as God and not limit him, according to our own thinking.
We all have various picture of who God is.
God must be such and such.
The problem is when we do not accept God who is different from our idea of God.
Look at Martha in our text, and see how she limits the power of Jesus Christ.
v. 21 – “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
She is limiting Jesus to a certain time and place.
If you were here sooner…only if you were here four days earlier…
Only if you were here.
Yes, she does say in the next verse, “but even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”
But that “whatever” does not include the resurrection of her brother Lazarus.
When Jesus tells them to roll away the stone of the tomb, she objects, saying he’s been dead for four days and his body started to decompose.
Isn’t this the picture of our faith sometimes?
Yes, anything is possible with God, but not this, not now.
This is not a sign of disbelief in God.
But limited belief, saying God can do all things, except my situation right now.
When I was in seminary in 2004, our church went on a Fall Retreat.
It was during the time of American League Championship between NY Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
They had played 3 games thus far, and Yankees have won all three.
No team has ever gone from 3 game deficit to win the 7 game series.
On the last day of the retreat, the speaker said that while no team has ever come back from 3 games down, but with God, anything is possible.
I remember many of us thinking, yes, anything is possible with God, but not this.
But, Boston did in fact come back from 3 game deficit, and went on to win their first World Series in 86 years.
I am not saying that God has somehow impacted the game.
My point is that we limit God to our own understanding.
Or at the very least, we push it out from our personal level to more generic level.
When Jesus tells Martha that her brother would rise again, she says that at the last day, he will rise.
Of course, what she said was true, but she could not accept Jesus who was willing to work that miracle right now.
Friends, nothing is impossible with God, and he is far greater than we can imagine.
Do not limit him to our own thoughts.
If he wishes to work amazing things in your life, or in the life of our church, he can and he will.
Secondly, if we want the hope of resurrection to be ours, then we need to remain in Jesus.
Jesus does not say he is the one to give resurrection and life.
He says that he is the resurrection and life.
To Martha, who says that yes her brother will rise at the end times, Jesus teaches her more about himself.
vv. 25-26 “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.”
What does it mean that he is the resurrection and he is the life?
It means that wherever Jesus is, there is life.
Many have argued whether Jesus mean physical life or spiritual life.
I believe he means both.
If Jesus is there physically, there will be physical resurrection and physical life; and if he is there spiritually, then there will be spiritual resurrection and spiritual life.
Jesus resides in us in Spirit, so we have experienced spiritual resurrection and life.
And when Jesus returns on the last day physically, we will experience physical resurrection as well.
Do you want to have the hope of resurrection as you live in this chaotic world?
Then remain in Jesus.
Finally, if you want the hope of resurrection, then confess about Jesus Christ.
Do you believe this?
v. 27 – “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
It seems like she’s not answering the question.
But it is a big confession.
Have we not heard this confession before?
Peter confessed in the same manner,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
How did Martha make this confession?
I do not believe she understood everything Jesus said.
But she made the confession based on what she knew.
She might not have known how this resurrection and the life thing works, but she made the confession she could make.
“I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
With this confession, we know that her faith increased and she gained whole lot more than she could have imagined.
Notice that this confession focused on Jesus.
It was not a confession about her need or how God fills her need; but a confession that focused on Jesus Christ.
Christ means Messiah.
Jesus was the one whom God had anointed to save Israel.
The Son of God means that Jesus was God himself.
What Jesus did, it would be impossible to do if he weren’t God.
Since he is God, we can trust in him.
Who is coming into the world means that he was promised to come through the Word of God.
When this confession was made, she experienced the resurrection of her brother.
Through such confession, the hope of resurrection becomes our.
Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
Nothing is impossible with God.
When we are with him, we will have life and hope.
Do you believe it?
Then confess it with your life.