John 11:25 New International Version (NIV) “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;”
In the season of Spring, it is common to see butterflies flitting about from flower to flower. They are fragile yet beautiful beings. But as I ponder Jesus’ words “I am the resurrection and the life,” I consider how those butterflies come to be.
A caterpillar spins a cocoon and within that prison, it gives up its life. Its story is not finished, though, as there is a greater purpose for its life. When the time is right, the cocoon opens, and a butterfly emerges.
The defintion of resurrection is “the act of causing something that had ended or been forgotten or lost to exist again or to be used again.” The transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly is a perfect example of something being lost and coming to life as a new creation.
“I am the resurrection and the life…”
The backdrop of the above passage from John is the death of Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus. Lazarus was ill and because of his dire condition, his sisters summoned Jesus to come to see him.
Surprisingly, Jesus chose to wait to begin His journey. He did not ignore their plea for His presence, but He had a greater purpose in mind. His reason for waiting is revealed in His words in John 11:4 “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
By the time Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for 4 days. Martha, Lazarus’ sister, questioned Jesus as to why he did not arrive sooner and He answered her with the words “I am the resurrection and the life.”
In the following verse, Jesus asked Martha “Do you believe this?” He wanted to know if she took Him at His word.
“Do you believe this?”
Martha knew of resurrection, but viewed as a future event and not something happening now. She did not understand the current circumstances. All she knew was Jesus did not answer her prayer the way she thought He should have or would have.
But Jesus revealed to her that He had a greater purpose in mind.
That purpose is revealed in verses 41-43 of chapter 11: “ 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.”
Resurrection is coming!
God is not a genie in a bottle whom we can summon when we want Him to do our will. Martha’s desire was for Him to come and to save Lazarus, but that was not what Jesus chose to do. What He did do was so much more powerful and meaningful than what she had wanted.
True faith is putting our trust in God’s plans and not in the things we want Him to do. Jesus has the final say over divorce, cancer, infertility, rejection, heartbreak, doubt, and even death. You may be facing any of these trials, but know and trust that it is not a final destination. Resurrection is coming.
Put off your old self…
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)
We are created by God…
redeemed by God…
and granted eternal life.
In his book Walk a Little Slower, Tanner Olson writes these words which he titles “Blooming:”
“I wonder what is happening that I cannot see. Something below the surface or beyond the horizon or between the questions and answers. A spark, a whisper, a prayer. And today I don’t need to know what, I just want to trust that something more is happening. To let go and remember the beauty of becoming, the joy of blooming. Trusting that small faithful steps lead us further than we could ever dream or imagine. And I imagine I’ll continue to dream about what is happening that I cannot yet see. A hope, a moment, a breakthrough.”
We cannot always see what God is doing while we are in the cocoon of our lives. But He has a resurrection planned for us if we trust and put our faith in Him. Celebrate the joy of blooming.
Take a moment to listen to this song: Mighty to Save by Hillsong and ponder on what power Jesus’s death and resurrection can have in your life.