By Pastor Alex Ruelo
More than 2000 years ago, even before Jesus died, the lie that He will raise from the dead has already been prepared for. While he was teaching everywhere, those who opposed Him already heard that He will rise from the dead. So they knew, and they were already preparing for it. Today is the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. Hundreds of years ago, the term Easter Sunday came to light. But it does not matter what you call this day, what matters is Jesus rose from the dead.
Who among you read the Bible, saw their name there and you felt you are the one being talked about? When you read the Bible from cover to cover, there is no other star but Jesus Christ. That simply means, it is not about us. It is all about the finished work of Jesus. Anything you do here, outside the church and anywhere, it is all about God. It is never about us. The resurrection of Jesus happened.
But before His resurrection happened, there is an event in the Bible wherein He taught people about it. When you look at the book of John, the first chapters speak about all the miracles of Jesus. This is important because in John 11, Jesus performs His last miracle. It says, “Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” The people in Judea were angry at Jesus because of what he is doing. Still Jesus said they will go back there. But Lazarus was sick and He said He will not die so they waited a few days. The next chapters of the book of John speak about the time when Jesus will be nailed to the cross. While the first chapters told of His miracles, the middle part spoke of His death, and the succeeding ones speak of His being nailed to the cross. His death is very important and in this last miracle, you can see how God moves and proves and gives His disciples a picture of what was going to happen in the next couple of days or weeks of their lives.
“After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Have you read the Bible and did not understand anything? During that time, there was still no Bible. When we read the Bible nowadays, it can be explained to us. But during that time, the disciples could not understand the moves of Jesus. Everything was simply happening. But Jesus has a way of explaining things.
“When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again. Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Many Jews believe that there is a resurrection, that all believers will rise again. I do not know with you. I hope and pray you believe in the resurrection, that all who died before us will rise again. But before that happens, Jesus already said , “I am the resurrection and the life!” You do not have to wait for the end of the world. If you believe in Jesus, you will never die.
When Jesus comforted Martha during that time, there were other people around. Lazarus has already been dead for four days. Jesus told Martha that Lazarus will rise again. Martha understood this as the time of the resurrection when everybody else will rise from the dead.
“When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” They knew it was impossible for Lazarus to rise from the dead. But Jesus was talking about the resurrection at that moment. He felt their sadness and He also wept, as written in verse 35.
“Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” Jesus said He is the resurrection. You do not have to wait for that day. If you believe in Jesus, you will be resurrected. The resurrection is not an event; it is a person. Jesus is Him, the resurrection. And this only happened once. It does not happen every year on Resurrection Sunday. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He proved several things.
Jesus demonstrated that He is the Son of God. John 10:36-38 says, “what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Until today, many people do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God. WhenHe claimed this, people wanted to kill Him. He is the son of a carpenter and not even a “legitimate son” and He claims to be God’s Son. He performed so many miracles and many people benefited from that. So for His last miracle, when He raised Lazarus from the dead in front of many people, He showed them who He truly is.
Jesus demonstrated that He is the resurrection and the life. John 11:23-26 says, “Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Do you believe this? Jesus said you will never die if you believe in Him. The Jews were looking forward to the resurrection but Jesus was right in front of them. The resurrection and the life was right in front of them all along. It is not going to happen in the last days. It is happening now. If you believe in Jesus, you will never ever die. The resurrection is a person, not an event. That is the gospel. Death has no more hold on believers, because they will never die. 2 Corinthians 5:8 says, “Yes we are of good courage and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” Somebody had to die to prove the resurrection. God gave us a head’s up already.
John 5:24 says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” Men live in the flesh; but that flesh will die. But at the same time, believers have already surpassed death because they have eternal life. The moment that you believe in jesus, you have moved from a state of death to life.
Jesus demonstrated the great love He has for His friends. In the previous verses, it was mentioned several times how much Jesus loves His friends. But the strange thing is, when Jesus found out about Lazarus, He did not go to Him right away. If someone you love is in trouble, you would drop everything and go to them, if not call or text them right away. So when Jesus waited two days before going to Lazarus, He had to have a reason. There are many things that we cannot understand in this life. But God knows everything. And He will use everything to glorify Him in the end.
Do you have doubts? Know Christ and His resurrection. Philippians 3:10-11 says, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” We need to understand and know how powerful the resurrection is. Satan thought he won when he tricked Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. He thought he won when jesus died on the cross. He did not know about the resurrection; it is what everybody needs. It is proof that Jesus is real. The believers are already victorious. No matter how much pain and suffering the enemy gives you, the power of the resurrection has already redeemed you. Jesus willingly gave up His life. He did not die because of what He went through. When He was about to die as He was hanging on the cross, He gave up His spirit. It was a willing choice. He gave up and gave His life. He could have lived. He can do it because He is God. But He gave it up; which is totally different from dying. But without dying, there is no resurrection. He could have lived even if He was crucified. He made someone rise form the dead right? But He gave up His spirit for you and me.
Rejoice. Death has been defeated. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 says, “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. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Death has been defeated and victory is yours so you can now rejoice.
Know the cost. It is worth it. John 11:8-10 says, ““But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” Jesus knew that it was His time. People do not stumble in the daytime because there is light. They stumble at night because it is dark.
Do you have the light within you? Do you believe in the light? Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the light? Then you will not stumble because the light is in you. Jesus knows the cost. It was HIs life. And it was all worth it. He saw all the souls that would be saved. Do you know why Jesus cried when Lazarus was dead? It is not because His friend had no life. He knew He could raise him from the dead. It was not because He was angry either. He cried because there were so many people around Him who did not believe that He is the Son of God. If you have the light, we will see each other on the resurrection. But what about those who do not have the light? Bring them to church. Let us share the gospel to them.
You have seen the light. Share it with others.