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Resurrection needs death

“Lazarus, come forth… Loose him, and let him go”, Jesus said after He wept over the passing of Lazarus

Lazarus raised

John 11 tells us about the resurrection of Lazarus. The detail around the miracle has immense weight in it. Jesus purposely delayed the call to visit Lazarus to show God’s glory through this, gloriously orchestrated, event. Jesus returned to a city where He was almost stoned to death in the 2 chapters leading to this event. Jesus was hiding outside the city while He was waiting firstly for Martha, then later Mary. Both told Him, “If only you were here our brother would not have died…” only having faith that Jesus could’ve healed Lazarus, and that he would be resurrected only at the end of days now that he was dead. Jesus wept as He questioned their believe in Him. Jesus instructed to roll away the stone that covered his grave, followed by a prayer of thanks giving to the Father. Jesus called out “Lazarus come forth”, Lazarus was still bound in his grave-clothes when he came walking out of his grave… and Jesus instructed “Loose him, and let him go.”

What Jesus’ Death did

In Hebrews 9 the writer tells us that Jesus appeared as our High Priest, and laid Himself down as a spotless lamb on a tabernacle not made by man (Leviticus 16:14-18). Jesus became our Negotiator and Mediator, to give us an everlasting inheritance. HIS sacrifice of DEATH released the curse of death caused by Adam’s fall to “DEATH”. This was a “once-and-for-all” sacrifice, and He has eternally put away the burden sin brought, we now can enter the Holy of Holies and the Presence of the Father, where Jesus is representing us as being Holy, without spot or blemish.

Resurrection on its own has no existence

Paul affirms Jesus’ resurrection from death in 1 Corinthians 15, if we do not believe in resurrection after death, we also don’t believe in Jesus’ resurrection, then our faith and labor for the Kingdom is all in vain. Death came with the Man of Dust (Adam). As much as death came from one act, a resurrected and eternal life came with the Man of Heaven (Jesus), one single act; once-and-for-all. This act made Jesus the “first fruit” of resurrection. Mortal (flesh and blood) cannot inherit the immortal (Heavenly), the perishable nature needs to be transformed and resurrected to the imperishable nature.  We used to live in the character and likeness of the man of dust, but we should now strive to a life in the character and likeness of the Man of Heaven. The sting of death is sin, and sin gets it’s condemning power by the conviction of the law. Jesus brought the new covenant, fulfilled the law and victoriously reign over sin. This gives us unshakable confidence to excel in every season because of our union with God, which makes our labor for the Kingdom productive fruit.

Valley of dry bones

God showed Ezekiel a vision in Ezekiel 37 of a plain of dry bones. God asked Ezekiel if these bones could come to life, and he answered with doubt “God, ONLY YOU KNOW”. God told Ezekiel to prophesy over the bones to come alive, which he did, and the bones came to life, but with no breath in them. Again, God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the breath, prophesy to the winds to fill them, which he did and breath filled them and they stood as a great army in front of Ezekiel.

Comparing John 11 and Ezekiel 37. Death is playing a strong role in both of the events and more importantly, resurrection. On both occasions doubt filled the minds of the on lookers (Mary and Martha questioned Jesus’ late arrival, and said if He was on time Lazarus would’ve been alive… Ezekiel answered in doubt when God asked him if the bones could come to life). Both events had instructions from heaven (“Roll away the Stone”; “Lazarus come forth” & “Prophesy to the bones”). Both events had obedience by doing what was instructed from heaven. Both events ended in resurrection from death.

But… How? Where is faith here? The deceased could surely not have faith to resurrect themselves. Mary, Martha and Ezekiel surely did not have the faith.

But… The presence of God was evident in both events. In John 11:25-26 Jesus said “I am the Resurrection and life, whoever believes in me will never die.” God’s presence was the working power, His resurrecting power.

Yet another resurrected

In Luke 7:11-16 Jesus passed a funeral procession when He saw the mother of the deceased; Jesus’ heart broke to see her in so much grieve and told her “Please, don’t cry.” Jesus stepped up to the coffin, touched it and told the corpse “Young Man, Arise and live.” The young man immediately sat up, and Jesus presented the resurrected son to the mother. At a time of mourning; at a point of no return, Jesus’ resurrecting power worked in His presence, again.

Valley of dry hope and dreams

We are in tough and trying seasons at the moment. Many people are having a really hard time to make ends meet; businesses are closing down; jobs are being lost; long standing relationships are taking its toll; the safe haven (Churches), for so many of us, are closed; social distancing is bringing extra obstacles; the loneliness, the longing for fellowship. These among so many other issues we are facing, then the fear of the virus, which is getting closer and closer to home.

The current times and pandemic have brought dreams to a halt, it brought hope to its knees; it slayed hope. The anxiety it created has raised fear; the fear of death; the fear of an unsettled future, the fear of tomorrow; the fear of the end of times. It has laid faith to rest; it destroyed hope; it brought doom to dreams, it decapitated plans…

Resurrection was planned long before death

…then Jesus came across the funeral procession, at the breaking point, at the point where it is humanly impossible to be resurrected; a point where all has given up and lost all hope; a point of no return, but Jesus turned up and said “Don’t cry… Arise and live; Come forth…Loose him and let him go”, and Jesus presented the resurrected alive.

Which dreams have you given up on? Which areas in your life has gone beyond hope, beyond the point of no return? Which plans in your life has died and been laid to rest? Which relationships have you written off and are tired of fighting for?

Jesus is on His way, He is about to walk into the “funeral” of your dreams; He is coming to perform a miracle at the “memorial service” of your plans; He is coming to meet you at the court for your divorce; Jesus is bringing  His resurrecting power to your business closure. Jesus is coming to unexpectedly surprise you in a way that will exceed your mind (1 Corinthians 2:9-10), ALLOW HIM!!!! Jesus said “I am the Resurrection and life, whoever believes in me will never die.” In John 11:15 Jesus told His disciples He was glad He was not there (at Lazarus’ death bed) so that God’s glory could be manifested to them. Resurrection was planned prior to death in all the instances mentioned. Even Jesus’ resurrection was planned long before His death took place.

Don’t limit your expectations of God, forget the old because it is nothing compared to what God is bringing to and for you (Isaiah 43:18-21; Philippians 3:12-13). His plans and thoughts are not the same as yours Jeremiah 29:11; Isaiah 55:8-11), unless you aligned your thoughts with God’s thoughts, then you would not have any doubt, fear or anxiousness. God will not align His will and purpose to fit your plans and lifestyle, trust God by giving Him total control, do not lean on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-7), continually seek His presence (1 Chronicles 16:10-12), because Jesus is the bread of life, whoever comes to Him shall never hunger (John 6:35). Give control to God, allow your ideals to die, God will resurrect His purpose in you.

None of this will be possible if God’s presence is absent in your life, choices and desires. In John 11 and Ezekiel 37 God had a personal relationship with the onlookers, His presence made His glory and resurrecting power to be manifested. First seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33). For the Kingdom of God is not what we take in, but by what is produced as fruit through the Holy Spirit’s presence in us as beings (Romans 14:17). Do not conform to the customs of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds (Romans 12:2).

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