April 2023

'I am the resurrection and the life ... everyone who lives and believes in me will never die' John 11.25 (NRSV).

As we sing our Easter anthems and hymns, we know in our hearts that because of Christ's resurrection we will live, even though we die.


Putting this saying into context, we find Jesus arriving at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus at Bethany. This happened four days after Lazarus had died and Martha says, ‘Master, if you'd been here my brother wouldn't have died’. Jesus says ‘Your brother will be raised up’ Martha replies, ‘I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time’.  Jesus says: ‘You don't have to wait for the end. I am right now Resurrection and life’.


When Martha answers Jesus (verse 27): ‘Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world’, she is sure about the Jewish belief in the life to come. In the time of Jesus there was much debate going on about the resurrection. Many Jews wanted to be buried as close as possible to the site of the old temple, so that, on the day of resurrection, they would be among the first to enter the gate of the new Jerusalem.


This is the final and arguably greatest sign or miracle of Jesus, and it takes place not long before Jesus’s own death. This is very significant as Jesus is approaching his own death and resurrection, so he is prepared to perform a similar miracle for his dear friend and for his sisters and other friends. What God was going to do for him, He would now do for Lazarus. It is of course the ultimate demonstration of God’s power and victory over death; it is the sign for us that death is not the end but a new beginning.


Jesus brings the promise of resurrection from the future into the present, here and now. The scene at Bethany is where the miracle of Lazarus being raised up and restored to life takes place. It is where God's glory is shown.


We celebrate the joy of Easter and live our lives believing in the power of the resurrection and knowing the love that God has for his whole creation.