When Jesus made the claim that He was “the resurrection and the life,” it caused heart palpitations amongst the religious leaders of the day. Why? Because He was claiming to be God. Only God has power over death.
Jesus claimed to be deity – God on earth – walking and talking with us. He claimed that He would die and that He would be resurrected and, as a result, we could also be freed from the threat of death.
No wonder it was such a point of contention with the religious leaders! They wanted Him silenced forever! So, they killed Him, thereby fulfilling His prophecies and the prophecies of the prophets. Then, they were worried that His body would be stolen by the disciples. If that could be accomplished, the religious leaders worried that people would believe His claims – that He had resurrected – and was therefore the Son of God He claimed to be.
Jesus was claiming to have power over death. He was claiming that He was the source of eternal life. He was claiming that even if a person dies physically and they believe in Him, they will never die spiritually.
Jesus lived up to His claims. He died. He rose from the grave! He is alive today! These truths are what Christians believe with all their hearts, minds, and souls. If Jesus had not risen, He would have been just another prophet.
However, rise – He did! Jesus’ body was guarded and sealed and everyone knew where it was. It simply was not possible to have stolen His body without someone finding out and spilling the beans. Several people saw Him, talked with Him, ate with Him: Mary, Thomas, and the disciples were just a few of the many witnesses to Christ’s resurrection.
This is the glory of Jesus. Jesus raised Lazarus because he is the resurrection. He is the arrival in history of God’s final, glorious renovation of all things, including our bodies. Believers, you will be raised from the dead and shine like the sun in the kingdom of your Father. Lazarus is a preview of your resurrection. Jesus is coming back to this earth in power and great glory.
And therefore it is God saying: I love you. My love for you is not sparing you suffering and death. It is the gift of myself. My glory. Do you see me? Do you see me for who I really am? Come to me. I have much more to show you.
I’m thankful that Jesus died and came back to life. This means that I too can have life when I believe in him. And just as he said in John those who believe in me though they may die they shall live and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die, so too will I live.