SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2011
JESUS: THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE
Jn. 11v25: ‘I am the resurrection and the life…’
When death is unexpected, the whys hang in the air like choking smog. Drawn by grief and duty, people came from Jerusalem and the surrounding area to pay their last respect to a citizen of Bethany. Jesus’ friend Lazarus was dead. His brief sickness proved stronger than any available medicine.
Jesus had been sent for, but had failed to arrive in time. Death didn’t wait.
Lazarus’s sisters Mary and Martha reacted in shock. Grief-stricken, they struggled to understand why Jesus had delayed in coming.
Yes, Jesus on getting the news didn’t leave immediately. But waited two days before returning to Judea. He knew Lazarus would be dead when he arrived in Bethany, but he was going to do a great miracle.
It was not the first time Jesus failed to show up immediately on getting to know that someone was dead or dying. His encounter with Jairus is still fresh in our minds. ‘…Jairus, seeing Jesus, fell at his feet…my little daughter is dying, please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live… some men came from the house of Jairus… your daughter is dead, …why bother the teacher anymore? Mk. 5:22, 23, 35.
To some unbelievers Jesus may seem to be a callous person. Why on earth should he always delay? But do people really understand Jesus, fully God and fully man?
Jesus said, He was going to do a supernatural event. Miracle therefore will proof gain Sayers wrong. Jesus Himself once dead, rose again from death. He conquered death and is no longer afraid of death. Martha and Mary quite naturally felt disturbed because just like most people, they were yet to know the power of God in action in this supernatural way. We should cast fear aside as death can no longer appall us.
Jesus was killed according to the scriptures but he rose again on the third day. And the bible commentators are agreed that Jesus has power over life and death. So for him, persons who believe and recognize the power of God in action in Him need not fear.
He asserts: ‘I am the resurrection and the life’.
The bible reassures us again and again even if there is a biological necessity of shedding away the body, we shall live again and be with Christ.
Let us take to heart these:
Ps. 49:15: ‘But God will redeem my soul from the grave, He will surely take me to Himself’.
Jn. 6:40: ‘For my father’s will is that everyone who looks to the son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise Him up at the last day’.
2 Cor. 4v14: ‘Because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in His presence’.
Unfortunately, when people are not sure of eternity, they fear death and forget the words of Jesus reassuring us of resurrection. If God raised Him from the dead, so also shall He of all who fall asleep in Him.
Today we need to accept Jesus without delay, so that we can enjoy His permanent assurance that conquers all fears: ‘I am the resurrection and the life’.
VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre,