Faithlife
Faithlife

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God is in charge of the world and if we recognize that we will see the power of God take hold and do the seemingly unbelievable. That is why both the man who was born blind in chapter 9 and Lazarus' situations will glorify God. Beyond this generic "hat-tip" to God we discover that Jesus is THE chosen means whereby God has entered in our world and the proof of that is in the healings and resurrection that the crowds witness.

Here is the present situation in our world. People die. The young and old, victims of accidents, sin, and old age, sufferers of disease, war and the like, but the fact is we die. Some fight long and hard to escape it. Others rush too willingly into its grasp but the truth is we die. Yet, and here is the great news of God, Jesus is the resurrection and the life.

Death came about because of our sin. If you're reading your bible did you men notice something in Genesis 2. God never tells the woman not to eat the fruit. He tells the man before woman was created. Death entered into our experience has infected and affected everything we have done, are doing and will ever do. It is a curse.

Romans describe a very clear dichotomy, or division between "sinful mind" and a "spirit led" mind. The sinful mind leads to death and is hostile to God. Those controlled by such a mindset cannot please God and don't belong to God at all. A spirit-controlled life is powerful enough to enable us to stand strong against the threat of a sinful mind which has controlled us for so long. The Spirit transforms us from enemies of God into children of God. In these verses the word life, living and lives is used 10 times [NLT]. That's because it's important.

The spirit of God lives within us. Christ lives within us. The spirit of God who raised Christ from the dead lives within us and the truth of God's word is that the future resurrection of our physical bodies, they're recreation in the fullness of Christ's kingdom takes place because the same Spirit lives in us.

It would be wonderful if there was a way to make this truth universally applicable but I can't. The sad fact is that many people won't have Christ living in them. They will fall into that camp of those who do not belong to God. They will have lived for their own glory. They will have lived under their own power. They will have lived out their own plans, goals, direction and done what they thought was best and they'll be lost. We, middle-class Americans need to hear this very hard word from God. Being nice doesn't cut it when it comes to eternal life. Just because we believe someone should be saved or go to heaven doesn't make it so.

I can make such a bold statement because of Jesus' own words to Martha. "I am the resurrection and the life." Jesus isn't describing something He does but something He is. It is a present reality for Martha and a present reality for us. Both terms resurrection and life has "the" in front of them. This has the force of making Jesus' statements exclusive. He's not one resurrection or one life. He isn't just another way to God's kingdom. He's just not one of a myriad of choices we have about how we get into God's presence. He is it. And if not then, as C.S. Lewis said, "He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a boiled egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell."

In The Bucket List, two terminally ill men—played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman—take a road trip to do the things they always said they would do before they "kicked the bucket." Part of the publicity included  Nicholson interviewed for an article in Parade magazine. While reflecting on his personal life he commented;

 "I used to live so freely. The mantra for my generation was 'Be your own man!" I always said, 'Hey, you can have whatever rules you want—I'm going to have mine. I'll accept the guilt. I'll pay the check. I'll do the time.' I chose my own way. That was my philosophical position well into my 50s. As I've gotten older, I've had to adjust."

Later in the interview, Nicholson adds:

"We all want to go on forever, don't we? We fear the unknown. Everybody goes to that wall, yet nobody knows what's on the other side. That's why we fear death.[1]

I found this interesting considering a group of "last words" uttered by several people. There is some pretty interesting theology and expectations in them. Of those I came across here a few I thought instructive.

Just before Winston Churchill fell into a coma he said, "I'm bored with it all." And Louis B. Mayer, the film producers last words were, "Nothing matters. Nothing matters.

P. T. Barnum showed what was important to him when he said, "How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?" Likewise Huey Long, a US Senator and Governor of Louisiana who said, "Don't let me die; I have got so much to do."  What a contrast with the words of Mother Teresa whose last words were "Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you."


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[1] Dotson Rader, "I want to go on forever," Parade magazine (12-9-07), pp. 6-8

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