I am the “Bread of Life” (John 6:35), I am the “Light of the World” (John 8:12), I am the “Gate” to the Sheep’s corral (John 10:7), and I am the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:11, 14-15).
John’s Gospel records seven such statements. Seven times, Jesus said, “I am...”
Each of these statements harkens back to Exodus, chapter three, when Moses was at the burning bush. From the midst of the fire, God spoke saying, “I am!” Moses understood God to say, “I always was, I am, and I always will be...”
In the fifth of the “I am” statements in John, Jesus was speaking to Martha, the bereaved sister of the recently deceased Lazarus. The Master said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26, CSB).
Martha had a little theological background, so she responded, “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world” (John 11:27, CSB).
Moments later, in the graveyard, Jesus surprised everyone by saying, “Remove the stone”
(John 11:39, CSB). Martha obviously didn’t understand that Jesus was going to restore life to her dead brother. She exclaimed, “Lord, there is already a stench because he has been dead four days” (John 11:39, CSB).
(I like the old King James translation. “Martha saith, he stinketh!”)
“So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you heard me. I know that you always hear me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so that they may believe you sent me.’ After he said this, he shouted with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unwrap him and let him go’ ” (John 11:41-44, CSB).
Glory! Consider the stunning audacity to call Lazarus from the grave. “Come out!” Hallelujah! We have a God who commands the dead to live! “Unwrap him and let him go!” Lazarus was set free!
What happened to Lazarus has happened to me, and maybe to you.
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!” (Ephesians 2:1-5, CSB).
I was once dead, but I’m alive by God grace! He saved me and empowered me to live.
One day, we will better understand the future resurrection. For now, this I know, when the Christian dies, he is set free to live forever more!
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah, is “the Resurrection and the Life!”