"Jesus told her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in Me even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in Me and will never perish. Do you believe this Martha?' " John 11:25-26
We have just concluded another yearly celebration of Easter, called by many, "Resurrection Day." The words spoken by Jesus above are from the account of His being at the tomb of Lazarus, just as He called him back from death unto life. The question that is running through my mind and spirit is, after all the songs, preaching and testimonies about the resurrection life to be found in Jesus Christ, do we consign that "life" to a return to the tomb from which it came? By this I mean, will we truly live His resurrection life throughout the rest of the year, a life we heralded on that day? Or will that life just fade back into the shadows, until the next Easter, the next Resurrection Day celebration?
Jesus did not say, promise, that we would be given eternal life at our death. He said that He gave it now, when we received and believed upon Him for salvation and deliverance from the death that holds all the world in its grip. Yes, our bodies will die, as will the souls of all those without Him, but Christ is the literal gift of Life. Eternal Life. His Life. And when we believe on Him, we enter into that Life. All its fullness is made available to us. The power, strength, and abundance of that Life is now ours. Do we walk in it? Does it show in our ways? Do we live as victors over the power of sin and the world, or as victims of them? Is the fullness of His joy, peace, love, something we know as reality now, or some distant, far off state we'll only realize after death?
We are born into a fallen, corrupt world and system, with the enemy of our souls at its head. Death is the watchword of that world. In Christ, all of its power is broken. Lazarus had been four days dead. According to Jewish law, he was beyond any hope of being brought back to life. He was not beyond the hope found in Christ. Jesus called him forth, and to Jesus Christ he came. Death couldn't hold him because it cannot hold the King. Neither can it hold those of us who reign with their King. Yet does it hold you?
Something we forget about the resurrection is that Christ was bound with the same grave clothes that Lazarus was. The wrapping of His body, coupled with the salves and ointments that would be applied made for a kind of tomb within a tomb. Yet neither the power of the tomb or the grave clothes could hold Him. Neither can they hold us. Death in all of its might was defeated on His cross and in His tomb. His Life reigns now, and He has called us, destined us to share in it. Are we sharing in it now? Or is that Life something we celebrate once a year, and then put back in the closet until next years celebration?
I've a friend who likes to say that though satan was completely defeated at Calvary, he refuses to believe or accept that defeat. So he fights on, deceiving, attacking, lying. And he succeeds in stealing the joy, peace, and abundance of the people of God. So we live as prisoners of war in a war that has already been won. Of this Life He has won for us, offered us, called us to, He asks only this; do we, do you, believe it? If so, enter into it. Resurrection Day is everyday. It is for today. Now is the day of salvation, and every day after. Do you believe this? Are you experiencing it? Or does it return to the tomb until next year?