Meditate On This!

Bert Reynolds
By the time Jesus arrives in the village of his dear friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus after a 2-day delay, Lazarus has been dead for four days. Martha meets Jesus first while Mary waits with the mourners, but both make the exact same statement upon seeing Jesus. "Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died" (John 11:21, 32).
Jesus assures Martha that her brother, Lazarus, will rise again, but this comes as no surprise to her, since most faithful Jews in the first century believed in the resurrection at the last day. Yet Jesus has something else in mind. "I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). Resurrection is not a doctrine; it's a person. It's not the distant future; it's the present in her presence. God is bringing the future forward in the person of Jesus, through the power of Jesus, in relationship with Jesus.
As if that weren't amazing enough, there's more. Jesus doesn't stop with resurrection. He is also "the Life." This word for life is "zoe." This isn't just air in your lungs, life. That's a different Greek word-"bios" (where we get biology). Zoe, in John's gospel, is life from God, life from above, life of the new age, life to the full, abundant, overflowing, life as it was always designed to be, living like Jesus.
Eventually, Jesus is brought to the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus ignores the protests of those around, orders the stone rolled away, calls Lazarus to come forth, and he does! He is alive and well, still wrapped, head to toe, in the burial linens. So Jesus has one more instruction. "Take off the grave clothes and let him go" (11:44).
That's my encouragement to you. Jesus is the resurrection AND the life. Remove the grave clothes of fear and shame. Shed selfishness and shallowness. Rid yourself of materialism and greed. Receive his freedom from the shackles of addiction. Take off the grave clothes and live!

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