Seems kind of crazy doesn’t it? The height of audacity. Let’s just be honest: to think that a dead, lifeless body would ever live again seems, at best, to just be some coping mechanism and, at worst, to be a cruel hoax. How can Christians believe that the dead really live again?
Well it’s because of what Jesus said over and over again. One of those places is in John 11: 25. You remember the story. Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, was sick. Jesus, who healed many people, instead of rushing to his side to perform a miraculous healing, just lets him die. When He does finally arrive, He makes an incredible statement to Lazarus’ sister. He says in John 11:23, “Your brother will rise again.”
There it was again. That same audacious statement. The dead, lifeless body of Lazarus was going to live again. If you had been there as a skeptic, like so many are today, you’d have probably said with many others, “Ok, Jesus. Prove it! You say he’s going to rise? Then, raise him.”
Well, the amazing thing is . . . He did! He called Lazarus out of that tomb and the dead, lifeless corpse lived again. Quite a story. In fact its such a good story that we often miss the truth because we’re so caught up in the miracle. What’s that truth?
Well, it’s something Jesus said about Himself. In v.25 He says,“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.
It’s because of verses like this that I make the same audacious claim that Christ makes here. Dead, lifeless, even cremated bodies rise again. I say it because of the truths claimed in this statement. There are four of them. I can make that claim first
DIV 1 BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS
Notice that He starts by first talking of His identity. Jesus says, “I am . . .” stop right there! That is significant all by itself. In the Old Testament, when Moses met God in the burning bush, He identified himself as “I AM.” Later, in the New Testament, Jesus applies the same title to Himself. He said, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was, I AM.” Do you get what He was doing. Well, the Pharisees sure did. They, in fact, so clearly understood that He was claiming to be God that they tried to kill Him.
But Jesus claims something very specific about His “Godness” here. He expands the title by adding exactly who He is. He says, I am the resurrection and the life. He doesn’t just say I bring life, He says I am life! He gives life to the lifeless because of Who He is. He is the resurrection and the life.
He makes the claim to raise the dead because of Who He is, but He goes on to say that He makes this claim
DIV 2 BECAUSE OF WHAT HE DOES
V 25 continues, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, yet shall he live. You see, there is a sense in which every person in this room is already dead. O, you’re not in a casket or an urn, but you’re dead just the same. The Bible says that we are dead in our sins, and only the resurrection power of Christ can make us alive.
See, the only way to rise after death is to rise during life. What I mean is this. You must allow Christ to come in and perform a resurrection in your life spiritually so that when you reach the point of death, He can raise you physically.
Jesus makes the claim to raise the dead because He raises the living to real spiritual life. That’s what He does. He makes the claim because of what He does and because of Who He is. But he also makes the claim
DIV 3 BECAUSE OF WHAT HE PROMISES.
You see the promise right there in v 26: And whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Now when you first hear that, you might be tempted to simply stop listening. That’s a statement that seems to be false on its face. Everybody dies, right? It’s one of the only two certain things in life: taxes and death.
Well, when Jesus says you never die, He is not saying that you will not reach a point when your heart stops beating and you stop breathing. What He promises for those of us who have placed our faith in Him is that monster so many dread so terribly. The monster of death. He promises that when we come to the brink of death that death will not be an ending, but a beginning. It’s not a dead end, it’s a door way. On Wednesday, when Carolyn took her last breath here, she didn’t for one moment cease to exist, she simply walked through a doorway. She went from time into eternity. That’s what Jesus promised whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
So that’s how he makes the audacious claim. He can make it because of Who He is, what He does and what He promises.
DIV 4 - BECAUSE OF WHAT HE REQUIRES
But, there is a condition. You see, even though the promise is a wonderful one, it isn’t made to everyone. Will you notice the condition? I am the resurrection and the life. He (watch this!) that believes in me . . . That’s the requirement. The promise is made to those who believe.
Now don’t let that word “believe” trick you. Some people hear that statement and they say, “Well, I believe in God.” That’s not what is meant here. The trust spoken of here is a personal trust it carries with it the idea of staking your life on it. An old story shows you what I mean.
CHARLES BLONDIN STORY
You see, saving faith. The kind of faith that activates this promise of resurrection is a trusting, all or nothing faith. It was this kind of faith that pu in Jesus Christ way back in 1951 when she gave Him her heart. It’s the kind of faith that gave her that sweet smile and that caring heart.