The I Am Saying of Jesus | 5

Text: John 11:17-44

We come today to consider the fifth of the “I Am” sayings of Jesus in John 11:25 where Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life.” The author Thomas Hardy wrote a little book called Countdown. He says, “the two ultimate questions of existence are these: has anyone cheated death? If he has, did he make a way for me to cheat it?” As Christians we of all people can give definite answers. Has anybody ever cheated death? Yes! Jesus Christ. Has he made a way for us to cheat it to? Yes he has! Early in John 11 we are told that Lazarus, a good friend of Jesus had fallen seriously ill. His two sisters, Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus informing him of Lazarus’ grave condition. By the time Jesus arrived Lazarus had been dead four days.

I AM THE RESURRECTION
Our text focuses on two sisters, Martha and Mary. Both of them address Jesus with exactly the same words. In vrs 21 Martha says, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. In vrs 32 Mary says exactly the same thing, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Although they address Jesus in exactly the same way Jesus’ responds differently. When Martha speaks, he almost argues with her. She is slipping into despair. Jesus pushes back against that flow and imparts hope. When Mary speaks however Jesus’ enters into her sadness. We see here two ministries of Jesus. The ministry of truth and the ministry of tears.

  1. THE MINISTRY OF TRUTH
    In response to Martha’s conviction in vrs 21 Jesus replies in vrs 23, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha is convinced of that as vrs 24 says. In vrs 25 Jesus goes on to say, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? When Jesus uttered these words, I am the resurrection and the life and then proceeded to raise Lazarus he knew certain things to be true. The only way for him to interrupt Lazarus’ funeral was to cause his own. The only way for him to bring Lazarus out of the grave was to put himself in the grave. Remember that victorious cry in 1 Corinthians 15:55, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. For death to be destroyed the sting of sin that causes death must be drawn. That is what Jesus did at the cross by dying in our place. He drew the fangs out of death which was sin (Hebrews 2:14). Jesus told Martha in vrs 25, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Martha answered this question by saying “Yes I believe.” Perhaps we would all do well to answer Jesus’ question for ourselves.
  2. THE MINISTRY OF TEARS
    In response to Mary’s conviction in vrs 32 Jesus expresses two emotions – anger and tears. In vrs 33, 38 we are told that Jesus was deeply moved. The word he used really refers to the angry snorting of horses. Why was Jesus angry? He was angry with sin, sickness and death that causes so much havoc and generates so much sorrow in this fallen world. He was angry at death itself. We were made to live and not die. Death only made its entrance into the world as a result of Adam’s sin. It is an alien invader. Jesus had to enter this world and go to a cross and deal with our sin. It is because of sin that we are separated from God. This was why Jesus had come into the world. To deal with our sin by going to the cross. The second emotion that Jesus displayed in the face of death was tears. In vrs 35 (the shortest verse in the bible) we are simply told Jesus wept. If Jesus, the perfect Son of God responded to the death of a friend by weeping then it is perfectly acceptable and no doubt emotionally healthy for us to do likewise.

We need both Jesus’ ministry of truth and his ministry of tears. Jesus grabs Martha by the shoulders with truth. “Listen to me! Don’t despair! I am the resurrection and the life!” Jesus puts his arms around Mary with tears and weeps with her.