Advent: The Resurrection and the Life
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“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 shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.'” (John 11:25–27)
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” (John 14:1-6)
Read: John 11:1-44, 14:1-6
John 11 describes the miraculous story of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead. Jesus’ actions and words do more than just point to His healing power. They lift up His identity as God the Son, the second person of the Trinity. Jesus arrives on the scene four days after Lazarus had already been buried. But, seeing His compassion didn’t satisfy Martha (Lazarus’ sister). She challenged Jesus in her grief, claiming He could have healed her brother if He had only arrived earlier. At the same time, Martha acknowledges that Christ will raise His followers “on the last day” (John 11:24). She was right. Jesus will one day return and raise those who have been identified with Him in salvation. But, she still didn’t grasp the utter glory of the One who will wipe away every tear from every eye. Jesus’ replied with a groundbreaking statement of His Messianic identity: “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 shall never die” (John 11:25-26).
Jesus is our mediator and the Father’s agent of reconciliation. He came to redeem His people back to Himself. However, Jesus is not only the giver of new life. He is our resurrection. He is our life! Christ is our example of faithful obedience to the Father and love for others, but He is much more than that. Jesus gives us Himself. He gives us eternal life in Himself. The Christian is given a new identity found “in Christ.” There is no greater gift than receiving Jesus, from Jesus.
Fast-forward a few chapters in John’s gospel account, and we read of Thomas telling Jesus, “we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (John 14:5). Christ is patient and loving beyond our understanding. Looking back, it’s tempting to shake our heads at “doubting Thomas.” But, we are all the same. We are thick-headed, stubborn people who desire more information more than we desire more of Jesus. Lovingly, our Lord makes another bold claim to His apostles: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). This is no veiled metaphor. Jesus has moved from talking about sheep doors and shepherds in John 10 to claiming to be the only Way to the Kingdom of God. Our Messiah, born in the Bethlehem manger, was not merely a messenger. He is the Way. He is the message of Truth. Jesus is the Life.
- Think honestly about your source of salvation today. Are you trusting salvation as a gift of grace from Jesus? Or, are you depending on knowing the right information or following the right rules?
- Make a list of friends and family that don’t yet trust Jesus as “the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.” It shouldn’t take long to come up with 5-10 names. Save the list somewhere and start praying for them daily. Pray their hearts would soften to the simple but convicting message of Jesus. No one has access to the Father except through the blood of Jesus. Pray for boldness and opportunities to share with them.
Jesus, you are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Thank you for being everything that I am not. We are lost, but you are the way to the Father. We are broken, but you are our eternal resurrection. Burn a passion in my heart for my friends and family that matches your love for them. Thank you for equipping me with your Word and your Spirit. I praise you for the courage you have already given me as your child. Use me as your messenger this Christmas!
Family Discipleship Time
- Who is the only one who has power over life and death? How do we know this? (Jesus, because the Bible tells us so.)
- Everyone still dies (physically), so what does Jesus mean that anyone who believes in Him will never die? (This life and our bodies are only temporary, but our souls will live forever. Jesus enables us to repent and trust Him as our Savior so that we can live with Him and worship His glory, forever in Heaven).
- Why did the Pharisees get so angry that Jesus was healing people and raising people back to life? (Jesus was the true Messiah from God, so that meant people needed to trust Him instead of the Pharisees’ man-made rules and laws. They thought they could create their own way to salvation and righteousness through good works, and without Jesus. Jesus said that no person is good enough to earn eternal life. He provided the way to salvation as a gift of God that depended on His own righteousness.)
- Sermon – “John 11” by Brody Holloway (Red Oak Church)
- Song – “Give Me Jesus” by Jeremy Camp
“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.”
(2 Peter 1:16–18)