Resurrection and the Life

Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that His good friend, Lazarus of Bethany, was sick. Jesus did not go to Bethany right away. He waited two days before leaving to see Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. When Jesus arrived, Lazarus was already dead and had been in the grave four days. Martha questioned why He did not come earlier, but she knew God was still in control. To comfort Martha, Jesus reminded her of the resurrection that believers will receive, by saying, ‘Lazarus will rise again.’ Jesus then makes his fifth ‘I am’ statement in John 11:25, announcing that He is the ‘Resurrection and the Life’. The one who believes in Jesus will live even after he dies. There is eternal life waiting to the one who believes in His Name. Verse 35 shows Jesus’ humanity as he mourned for the lost of his friend. Then Jesus resurrected Lazarus from the grave to show his divinity and to display the glory of God. What a beautiful picture to show that there is life after death.

John 11:20-27 nasb Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house. Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”

Need a Friend?

I have just stepped into this new world called “facebook”. As you know this is not new, but it is new to me. It has just amazed me. Today’s technology is crazy. I think that the one thing that has really amazed me most is the “friend requests” that I keep on receiving. I did not realize that I had so many “friends”. There are people that I might have said a few words to, somewhere in my past, has requested to be my friend. Maybe I really have more friends (or enemies wanting to spy on me) than I thought. Sadly as I look around on internet sites such as “facebook”, “my space”, and even blogging, I see the skewed view of what a friend really is.

The online Cambridge dictionary says that a “friend” is “a person whom you know well and whom you like a lot, but who is usually not a member of your family: 2 someone who is not an enemy and whom you can trust.” Another word for friend: ‘bosom friend/buddy/pal’ is a friend that you like a lot and have a very close relationship with.www.dictionary.cambridge.org

Maybe I am jealous that I do not have 895 friends. (lol) Truthfully, I can only think of a handful of people whom I would give the title as true friends. These are people that I would go to because I know without a doubt that they would give me godly advice, wisdom, and guidance, and they would not gossip about what I told them. As a youth pastor, I have seen (more times than I care mention) “Christians” running off to their “friends” to get advice. Of course, their friend’s advice is not godly, but it agrees with their sinful and selfish desires, so they follow it. Tragically, I have seen many many many many many “Christians” take advice from their “friends” only to make their lives filled with heavy burdens, scars, and regrets.

In James 2:14-26, James is talking about how faith and works go hand in hand. Now works do not save you (saved by grace through faith. Eph 2:8-9), but there should be action in your faith. (Just like if I said that tree over there is an apple tree; how would you know? By the fruit, an apple tree should have apples on it. In the same way, a “Christian” should have fruit (action, proof) to prove that they are what they are claiming to be.) The examples given are of Abraham (rich, male, father of the Jewish nation, moral) and of Rahab (poor, female, Canaanite social outcast, immoral, prostitute). Their actions and obedience is the proof that they had a relationship with God (faith in God). Faith and works were working together. The interesting part is verse 23. “and the Scripture was fulfilled (came true by God) which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED (put his faith in )GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED (credited/counted) TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS (justified, right relationship with God),” and he was called the friend of God (dear, close, in OT ‘to have affection’).” Abraham put his faith into action by offering his son Isaac. God considered his act as completed, because he was willing to trust God to fulfill his ‘seed’ promise even if Isaac was killed. By being justified by God (having a relationship with) he was given the title as a “friend”.

The cool thing is that if you have placed your faith in Christ (have a relationship with), you are also a friend of God. The contrast to this is chapter four, verse four:

“ You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

Do not take this that you are not to talk to anyone who is ungodly. Just do not be conformed to their ways or take their godless advise. You are either a friend with the world or a friend of God. You either have a relationship with God or you do not (Note: A relationship like you have with your uncle that you see only for a few minutes at Christmas and Easter is not a true relationship). There is no middle ground. I encourage you to spend daily time with your true friend, Jesus Christ. He will never leave you or abandon you (Heb 13:5) or give you bad advise (James 1:5).

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.