- Jesus said to her, “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 will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25, 26
Tomorrow we celebrate Easter. Easter stands as our yearly celebration of life, and more specifically, eternal life. This holiday serves as a reminder that “Life wins” if we are found in Christ. Jesus won the ultimate victory over death. Death has been swallowed up in victory.
Yet death can still loom large in our daily lives. All of us have lost someone dear to us. In our world, the harsh statistics are that three people die every second; 11,000 every hour, which translates into about 260,000 every day or a little over 95 million people in the past year. Death comes to both the young and old, rich and poor, the good and bad, the educated and the foolish. As one ancient philosopher said, “While it is possible to provide security against other ills, as far as death is concerned, we live as men in a city without walls.”
Death comes near to us all. It was precisely in this state of hopelessness that Jesus entered his close friend’s house and said to Martha his sister, “Your brother will rise again…Do you believe this?”
What a piercing question to ask a sister who just faced losing her brother. She had just finished clothing the lifeless body of her brother with a traditional burial cloth, anointed his body with spices, put him in a tomb, and said goodbye to someone who was a lifelong companion and most likely her sole provider!
Jesus asks this piercing question to Martha just four days after her brother’s death and six weeks before his own death. This question: “Do you believe this?” could be described in Latin as the “ne plus ultra” which means the pinnacle or highest statement, the very crux of the matter, the central issue, the nucleus, the core, or the main point, the very heart, or the bottom line, the essence, or the substance, the root, the full expression of, or to finally finish up my list of superlative statements, the single absolute defining point of our faith…Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life?
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he demonstrated “He was the resurrection and life” weeks before his own death and resurrection. Raising Lazarus from the dead was Easter on full display. It was Easter before Easter. Jesus demonstrated his victory over death weeks before the actual Easter event.
As we celebrate Easter tomorrow with our church and family, may it be a time when we boldly answer Jesus’ question to Martha for ourselves. This is what we celebrate at Easter, the saying that was written has come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?
Every single person who trusts in Jesus Christ…will live! Because of Jesus we will live…we will have a resurrection, and we will have the fullness of life eternal all because of the resurrection and the life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Do you believe this? I do!