The events in the life of Jesus bring meaning to the events of our own. Theologians call this Identification with Christ. I call it discoveringYour Easter I.D.
Into the face of Martha’s grief, Jesus came that day. He walked right into her conflict, into her personal cross in life. Her soul was not only wracked by the loss of Lazarus, it was bewildered over the question of why. Why hadn’t he just come earlier? Why had he waited this long? Surely he could have saved her brother. Martha was struggling with the same thing you and I often struggle with, a nagging if—“if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
What Martha hoped would happen, had not. If any present hope was in sight she could not see it. To Martha’s dilemma Jesus brought hope in the form of five short words: “Your brother will rise again.” He didn’t say how. He didn’t say why. He didn’t even say when. But he did, however, bring her a promise and an emphatic one at that.
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” In other words, I’m familiar with the doctrines. I have studied them well. I know that I have the hope of someday seeing my brother again in heaven. It is as if Martha feels for a moment that Jesus is giving her the last thing anyone probably wants at such a moment of deep distress—a Sunday school lesson.
What Martha did not realize, however, is that not only would there one day be a Resurrection, she was at that moment standing directly in front of Resurrection itself, Resurrection incarnate. All of the power to resurrect, to bring back to life, to transform and to make new, were in the hands of the one with whom she was at that moment conversing. The dark valley of the shadow of death she had entered just four days earlier was about to be visited by the only person on the planet that possessed a power greater than death. All that was required, Jesus said, was that she “believe.”
Certainly Martha’s confession of faith in a coming resurrection was no small thing. At least she had a long-term hope in God’s ultimate power over death. Jesus was, however, calling her to a more immediate awareness, to a personal resurrection. Resurrection power was not limited to a future event in history. Resurrection power touched the planet the moment Jesus arrived. Why? Because he was, and is, and will forever be, the “resurrection and the life.” Yes, Martha had a hope, but Jesus had a higher one.
The Risen Life
Most people do just what Martha did—we underestimate the resurrection. We relegate it to the future. And when we do, we miss out on so much purpose and power available to us right here right now. Of course, the resurrection is an historical, and a future, event, but it is so much more. The apostle Paul lived his life every day in light of resurrection power and taught us how to do so in Romans 6, 7 and 8. According to Paul, the Resurrection is …
A Preview of Coming Attractions.
The resurrection of Jesus is a preview of what every Christian will one day experience. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead gives us great hope and removes the fear of death. “The fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again” (1 Cor. 15:20).
“Now we live with a wonderful expectation because Jesus Christ rose again from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3).