Raising someone (or something) to life again … now that’s a showcase of God’s energy! We have the potential to experience a new kind of life. A life beyond imagination.
Lazarus was seriously sick. And then he died.
He was in the grave for 4 days. When Jesus finally came, he said to his sister, “Your brother shall rise again.”
What Martha didn’t know was that Jesus was ready to radically shift the way she saw things.
“I know he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day,” she said.
But Jesus wasn’t talking about the last day … He was in the moment with Martha’s pain and need. Her understanding about what’s possible now was about to shift.
Jesus re-frames everything
So much of the interior work Jesus does is to help us see in a new and living way. To truly believe.
Martha’s thinking about resurrection life was narrow and reserved only for the future. For most of us, this is the case.
With Jesus, the powers of the age to come break into our time. The writer of Hebrews says we can be enlightened, taste the heavenly gift, partake of the Holy Spirit, and taste the good word of God and the powers of the age to come (Hebrews 6:4-5).
Tasting the “powers of the age to come” is an extraordinary potential. Could it be that this is the normal (not the average) Christian life?
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” It’s a now statement.
Jesus wants Martha to realize the resurrection is already on!
Invest time in John 11:17-44. The ministry acts of Jesus in the Gospels model for us what’s possible in our experience.
Right here. Right now. No stone can stop it!
“Take away the stone.”
“Lord, by this time …”
“Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
Having prayed to his Father, Jesus said, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he was raised and came out!
Jesus inaugurated his kingdom. New possibilities are present. Right here. Right now. Wherever there is repentance (changing the mind, changing our approach to life), authentic kingdom life is available.
“Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”
The resurrection is already on!
The resurrection is not merely future as Martha thought. It’s coming in progressive phases.
- Amazingly, bodily resurrections occurred in the Old Testament. And this, under a covenant which Paul says is inferior to the New Covenant! See 2 Corinthians 3:7-11. These incidents were precursors to resurrection life in our time, the time of the New Covenant.
- Jesus sent the twelve on a mission. “As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand (has drawn near). Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give” (Matthew 10:7-8 NASB). Christ means for this mission-mandate to be for his full-on followers until he comes again.
- When Jesus yielded up his spirit on the cross, the veil in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. There was an earthquake. Rocks were split and graves opened.
- As Jesus was raised, so much life hit the earth that many saints were also raised and came out of the tombs! They appeared to many in Jerusalem. See Matthew 27:50-53.
- In the Book of Acts, Peter raised Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:36-42). He followed the same faith template Jesus used to raise the daughter of Jarius. Paul raised Eutychus to life again (Acts 20:9-12).
- Since the time of the early church, people have been raised from the dead. Including in our own day!
Are you an apprentice of Christ’s Kingdom?
An apprentice is someone who learns from another who is more experienced. They practice their trade in the real world.
“A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been full trained, will be like his teacher” (Jesus in Luke 6:40 NASB).
My experience must rise to the level of Scripture. I must see what Jesus modeled in the Gospels and take his words at face value.
I can’t lower my view of Scripture to my present level of development. Or to what I see around me.
- If I’m born again, the Holy Spirit lives within me. But the Holy Spirit can fill me in greater measure. Jesus gives the Spirit without measure … “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure” (John 3:34). I should seek fresh in-fillings of the Spirit (see Ephesians 5:18).
- The Word is primary. I want to pursue consistent, fresh intake of the Word of God. For those questing, I believe there are times when you need to take in 10-12 chapters per day. Maybe more. God magnifies his Word according to (or above) his name! (Psalm 138:2). If His Word has this priority with Him, then should I not give it prime time and energy in my life! It transforms your worldview.
- A great Chinese Bible teacher, Watchman Nee, wrote of the release of the spirit. Paul said it was with his spirit that he served God. Nee wrote of the crust in our soul life which can limit the release of the Spirit’s potential through us. I resolve to pursue a course of sanctification and wholeness in my experience.
- Am I entertaining bad theology? Early in our Christian experience, we tend to carry the DNA of the denomination or doctrinal system which influenced us. If we discover that it’s limiting, are we going to stay in that state of belief for a lifetime? Honor everything which is good about your past. Be grateful. But be true to the words and modeling of Jesus. We should always be progressing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Peter 3:18).
- Do I have a strong desire to see the glory of God manifested here and now? The power of God trumps the effects of the Fall—sin, sickness and disease, lack, breakdown of relationships. Even death itself. You have to want it! Pursue outrageous, radical belief.
The full effect of the resurrection life of Christ will come in the future, like Martha was thinking.
But can you believe it’s already here as a foretaste of what is to come?
What can this mean for you? For what you influence? Will you see greater measures of the glory of God?