Posted by: randydunning | January 11, 2008

Day 11 | John 11

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Text: John 11

Key Verse: 23-25
“Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’
“Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection….'”

Reflection:
The resurrection of Lazarus is, to me, one of the most dynamic scenes in the entire Bible. It raises the energy of John’s narrative to a whole new level. The power of the miracle does this but also the dialogue with Mary and Martha and the response of the Jewish leaders who, at chapter’s end, are totally committed to finding Jesus, seizing him and killing him.

The core element that ratchets up the drama is the sudden immediacy of the Kingdom of God. With the raising of Lazarus after being dead a full four days, the Kingdom was no longer something in the distant future and it was certainly not a thing of military might. Sure, Jesus had been doing miraculous deeds up until now (healing blind men and sick children, turning water to wine and multiplying loves and fish for 5000) but raising an adult male whose body was in the early stages of decomposition, and by a simple prayer and a calling of his name, served notice that Jesus had spoken of a very different kind of kingdom, that he, indeed, was the king, and that the coming of the kingdom was now!

Vs. 23-35 illustrate this best. Jesus firmly assured Martha that, “Your brother will rise again.” But she begins looking past the here-and-now to the final resurrection. And then, in what I conceive to be an utterly defining moment in the ministry of Jesus, he issues a prophecy which he immediately fulfills. “I am the resurrection….” There is no waiting until the last day. Hope is no longer deferred. The giver of life has arrived. He is not just the fascinating teacher and iconic prophet of people’s previous perceptions. He is the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, the King of Glory. And louder than ever his life was saying to the people gathered around that burial cave in Bethany:

Lift up your heads, O gates,
        And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
        That the King of glory may come in!

Psalm 24:7

Prayer:
Lord, may I stop so much looking for what You will do in the future and believe You more for the here-and-now. Sharpen my vision of Your kingdom and change the way I pray to reflect that clarity. I desire for Your kingdom to come and for Your will to be done here on earth today as well as in heaven tomorrow.

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