Life is full of I can’t believe it moments. If you take a look at the video posted above (so long as copyright material is not noticed by YouTube and taken offline) you’ll see some unbelievable moments. Odell Beckham Jr.’s one handed catch seems like an impossible grab. Seeing a full-court basketball shot drained with the clock expired is certainly unbelievable. Watching a skater land a 720 flip is mind-blowing, as is seeing a surfer ride a 90 foot wave.
The Bible is also full of “what?! I can’t believe that just happened” type moments. Did Moses really part the red sea down the middle? Did Jonah really spend three days in the gut of a whale? We continued our “Who am I?” series, a look at the “I am” statements of Jesus - and the statement we studied is one of those “did that reallyhappen?” moments. The situation and claim Jesus made about Himself is one that if you do truly believe happened, it changes the course of your entire life.
To set up some context, Jesus had great friends in siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. At this point of their lives, Lazarus fell ill while Jesus was away, and his sisters feared his life was nearing it’s end. As much as the sisters wanted Jesus to be there to heal their brother, Jesus stayed away for a while - claiming the sickness of Lazarus wouldn’t end in death, but that God’s glory would be made known. Lazarus did, in fact, die and was buried in a tomb. On Sunday morning, we picked up the story at John 11:17-27. Jesus arrived to Bethany (a town nearby Jerusalem), and met up with a sorrowful Martha. She and her sister Mary were confused and frustrated as to why Jesus couldn’t have just arrived sooner, knowing their brother would be alive if He did. But their faith remained intact, and they did not stray away from trusting in Jesus. This is where we reach our “I am” statement, when in John 11:26-26, Jesus says:
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”
This is a huge claim Jesus has made. Ever since the beginning of time, people have sought everlasting life - searching for the magic potion to allow you to live for ever or desperately finding the Holy Grail to sip from to give eternal life (Indiana Jones fans know what I’m talking about). But Jesus claims that He is in fact the source for everlasting life. This has a major implication to all who believe that, and certainly a big implication for Martha and Mary whose brother has just passed.
We find in John 11:33-44, the story of Jesus raising Lazarus back to life. Jesus echoes His voice down tomb walls in John 11:43, “Lazarus, come out!” and the dead man wakes to life and walks out. This is that moment where many think: “what?! did that really happen?” But for those who believe this story happened, and believes that Jesus has the power to defeat death like He says and proves He does, we have the option to trust in that same power as our forgiveness and gift of salvation.
If I were Lazarus, upon walking out of the tomb and recent death-state, my first reaction to Jesus would be, “Thank you so much! I owe you big time… How could I ever repay you?!” For anyone who trusts in Jesus as the resurrection and life, will be saved. What are we saved from? Romans 3:23-25 says this:
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,and all are justified freely by His grace through the reception that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood - to be received by faith.”
We have all sinned and that is what we need saving from! We fall short of the perfect mark that God demands, which leaves us separated from Him. But we’re freely given grace, something that we do not deserve - Jesus’ death serves as our payment for our sin. He saves us from spiritual death and an eternity in Hell, and gives those who trust in Him a relationship with God! If we think of this story of Lazarus in terms of our own death, it leaves you thinking… “Thank you Jesus, You saved my life! How can I ever repay you?”
There’s nothing you can truly do to repay the high-priced gift of Jesus, but the least we can do is promote His grace to other people in our lives. Share the gift of salvation with others, out of the gratitude you have for your own life being saved. A new initiative, Promote Grace (www.promotegrace.com) is a great way to share God’s grace with other people, and to show thankfulness to Jesus for His sacrifice. Watch this video below for a full explanation of how you can promote God’s grace. Consider, what can you do? Be creative and brainstorm ideas on how you can best promote God’s grace.