Sufficient: Resurrection and the Life

SUFFICIENT – RESURRECTION AND LIFE by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson, NC

Introduction: Yesterday was a difficult day for the Cordell family, the firefighters, our church family, and many in our community. I had the honor of leading the service and preaching the funeral. Many of ya’ll were there. As sorrowful as this was, it was also a time of celebration because Chief Cordell’s believed that Jesus Christ is the Resurrection and the Life. Providentially, we come to that very statement in our series titled “Sufficient,” in which we’re looking at how Jesus is sufficient for us. We’ve been studying the 7 “I am” statements of Jesus in the Gospel of John, and we come to the fifth one – “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” Main point: Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. If we believe in him, though we may die, we shall live. If we live and believe in him, we shall never die. 

John 11       25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Context: Unlike the previous four messages in this series, the next three messages have a different focus. Even though they have the same “I am” form, their purpose in the Gospel of John is different. Before we look at that, once again, don’t forget that when Jesus made the statements with the words “I am,” the Jewish people heard the name of God. Even though, many believed, many also rejected him and tried to stone him, but Jesus didn’t recant.

Application: What do you believe about Jesus? Let’s look again at C. S. Lewis’s options again (paraphrase), “Jesus is a liar, lunatic, or Lord. You must pick.”

Now, to understand the true meaning of Jesus’ statement, “I am the Resurrection and the Life,” we must look at the context to see what was going on at the time. The previous four “I am” statements were based around a Jewish feast: 

  • I am the Bread of Life – Feast of the Passover/Unleavened Bread. 
  • I am the Light of the World – Feast of the Tabernacles/Booths.
  • I am the Door of the Sheep – the Feast of Dedication/Lights. 
  • I am the Good Shepherd – Again, the Feast of Dedication/Lights.

But now, there’s a shift in emphasis. In fact, John 11-12 is a pivotal point in the Gospel of John. The first half of the book is focused on the public ministry of Jesus, and the second half is focused on his journey to Jerusalem to die on the cross and be resurrected on the third day. There is a shift beginning to happen from Signs to Glory. Some of you may know that just as there are the 7 “I am” statements in John, there are also 7 “signs” in John, of which the raising of Lazarus is the sixth sign. I’ve preached on the raising of Lazarus back in 2017 under the title “The Grave Robber.” It’s on my blog site and on YouTube. Here, I want to focus on Jesus’ statement “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” Through the raising of Lazarus, Jesus is going to demonstrate how he is the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep and his willing to show them his glory. Furthermore, he fights the wolf of death and is willing to lay down his life so that his sheep may live. 

To best understand this, there are 2 pairs of words that I want to suggest here: Love & Glory and Wolf & Sheep.


John 11       1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” The word for love is “phileo.” John 11:5 “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” The word for love is “agapao.” John 11:36Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” The word for love is “phileo.” Why does it mention “love?” Keep in mind that this is in the context of the Good Shepherd discourse in John 10, especially verses 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. Even though the word “love” is not mentioned, the idea is there. The point is that Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were sheep that Jesus loved. Having said that, he did not prevent them from going through trials. 6 “So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.” How strange! Then, in verse 11 “…and after that He said to them (his disciples), “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” This must have confused the disciples because they responded 12 “… ‘Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.’ 13 However, Jesus spoke of his death…” 14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead…” By the time Jesus got there, it says in verse 17 “So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.”

This account is odd to say the least. It raises a lot of questions: Why wouldn’t Jesus help this family he loved? Why would he delay in going to Lazarus? Why would he let this man die when he could have healed him? Why would he wait 4 days and then show up? He whom he loves, he reveals his glory – “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Again, verse 15 “And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe…” The reason Jesus was delaying was because Mary and Martha as well as the disciples had some deep truths to learn about God’s glory, about Jesus’ glory. 

Couple of weeks ago when I went by to see Chief Cordell, I asked him “What is the Lord showing you?” As you know, he was struggling the past few weeks. He was there and then he was not. He turned his head and answered as clearly as possible: “His power and mercy.” What an answer! If he had only said power, then the next question would be “why doesn’t God heal you?” If he had only said mercy, then the next question would be “do you think God is punishing you?” Instead, he was learning to balance “God’s power” to show him how small and weak he was, and “God’s mercy” to show him how he doesn’t deserve anything, but God will still take care for him. No resentment. No bitterness. Just pure trust and love. Wow! What a deep truth! 

One reason God delays in answering us is because suffering and trials are the times we learn and grow in our knowledge of him. We want to get out of our suffering as quickly as possible, which is understandable, but this is the time that God is maturing us, showing us his glory. Paul says in Romans 5        3 “…but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. So also, James 1         2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” 

As Robert Murray M’Cheyne said, “You will never find Jesus so precious as when the world is one vast howling wilderness. Then He is like a rose blooming in the midst of the desolation,—a rock rising above the storm.”

Are you growing through some trials, what is God showing you?


John 11      20 Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him…21 “…said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died…32Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Can you sense the pain that these sisters were going through? Then, when they came to the tomb, verse 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Can you also sense the reality of death? You have to read this in context of the Good Shepherd discourse in John 10      12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them…14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

Death is a wolf. It is cruel and real. It comes like a predator and rips away one of your loved ones right before your eyes. Sometimes, it is a person in the middle of his life, like Chief Cordell. Sometimes, the wolf comes and takes away a teenager who is just learning about life. Sometimes, it comes to the home of a young couple and takes away their little baby. Sometimes, it comes to the home of a family and takes away their mom or a dad. Sometimes, it comes and takes away a group of random strangers. Sometimes, the predator just lingers around, as Job said in Job 16:16 “My face is flushed from weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death.” Just when you think the predator is harmless, it snatches away your family member or your friend.

People try to cope with death in all kinds of ways (adapted from Richard Longenecker):

1. Just an Illusion: Some people try to deny death. They think that once you die your spirit actually goes into the spiritual world. Some think of it as being set free. Some even think that you can come back as a reincarnation. They even welcome it. Only problem is that there is no proof for any of this and 1 Corinthians 15:26 refers to death not as a friend but as “the last enemy.” If you would remove pain, sickness, tears, and death from life, I’ll be glad to return. Then again, that’s heaven!

2. Just a Natural Part of life: Some people think that you just have to accept it. All that matters is how you lived. All that matters is how you helped humanity. All that matters is how you will be remembered. I call it the “kill hope” view, because once you kill hope, you don’t have to deal with it. Only problem is that we are not designed that way. Ecclesiastes 3:11says, “…He (God) has put eternity in their (our) hearts…” 

Couple of weeks ago when I went by to see Chief Cordell, I sat by him and read him some scriptures. He seemed to like it. Suddenly, he got anxious. So, called Liz in, and he clasped her hand and said, “I can’t do this.”

Death is not only cruel and real, but it is also unnatural. It came in this world because of sin. Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and deaththrough sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” To release us from the prison of death, the author of life himself had to come. John 1:1   In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. Again, Paul said in Romans 5:21“so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The only answer to death is for life to come into us.

Let’s return to the account of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, but keep in mind John 10     27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. Lazarus death was simply an object lesson for a much greater truth. When Jesus, the Good Shepherd comes calling, Martha, the sheep, answers, but she feels hopeless. 21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” Mary, the sheep, wept, and said to Jesus in John 11 32 “…Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.” The words are literally “he got angry in his spirit and stirred up in himself.” Why? Because here was a sheep who was not hearing his voice but acting like those outside the fold. 

John 11:40   Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” Here’s a sheep who heard his voice. In fact, he heard it from the grave! Unfortunately, Lazarus was resurrected but had the undesired pleasure of dying again! I bet he had a sign on his deathbed, “Do not resurrect!”

Their reaction – John 11:45   Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. God chose to let Chief Cordell sleep so that some of could come alive. He is already in the presence of God waiting for the day of resurrection when his earthly body will be transformed into a glorious body like Jesus Christ. He put a cross on his logo and all his equipment so that you will find Jesus and find forgiveness and be made alive. John 12:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”

Other reactions – 46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” 49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. 53 Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. The resurrection of Lazarus was the death warrant of Jesus. Nonetheless, he had to die and be resurrected so that Lazarus may one day live forever.

Are you ready to be made alive? Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Pray with me to receive Jesus as your Savior and King, not because you will die tomorrow, but because you have to live today.

1 Corinthians 15       54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Revelation 1:18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

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