I AM the Resurrection
Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:20-25)
As we have been riding around the United States visiting people in their homes the past few weeks, we have noticed there is a common temptation constantly confronting the people of God. The Lord has given us a message of completion and perfection in Him to proclaim, as Jesus did, the "acceptable year of the Lord." In other words, it is as if the Lord is saying by us, "Do not delay in your believing. Do not delay in your sight, to wait for another day to see with the single eye of faith. Today is the day to believe. Your perfection is in Me in the here and now. Do not wait for another day to believe that truth that I have proclaimed."
Everywhere we go we make these bold claims, that in the Cross of Christ He has in His death accomplished the death of our old selves, the self inhabited and deceived by the spirit of error, the self that wrongly believes and imagines itself to be separate unto itself, responsible to do or be what is supposed to be, to be good or evil, wise or unwise, strong or weak. That self that satanically imagines its own independence and self-responsibility has died in the Cross in totality, as dead as dead can be, and the scriptures over and over testify through Jesus' words, Paul's words, and by many other witnesses, that the old has passed and we are not of it anymore.
And then further, in no uncertain terms, we find ourselves proclaiming that in His resurrection by the Spirit of the Father, Jesus was raised from the depths of death and hell to ascend, "up on high," bringing with him the captives of sin that He has freed (Eph 4:8), and taking them WITH HIM into the bosom of the Father, where He has sat down eternally on the right hand of the Father, and we with Him (Eph 2:6).
This is a present and living fact in us all, especially in the consciousness of those who believe, since it was forever accomplished by the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, Who is above all, through all, and in all.
Likewise we have also been given to proclaim, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the further understanding that we are not now and never have been only ourselves alone functioning by ourselves. In our fallen state we were inhabited and inwardly motivated by the selfish spirit of error, the father (originator) of lies, so that as Jesus said, we did "the lusts of our father the devil," (and there are none among us to whom this does not apply). In contrast to that former reality in which we lived, we must boldly proclaim that now that we are born again in Christ, that spirit of error who is the author of our former false independent identity, has been completely removed from our inner selves by the death of Jesus' broken body on the Cross, so that now in His resurrection we are, in this very moment, inhabited and inwardly motivated (led, moved, caused) by the Holy Spirit of God, by which in our innermost selves we are brought into oneness with God -- Father, Son, Holy Spirit -- even as Jesus was one with the Father and the Spirit. It cannot be any other way but that Jesus prayer in John 17:11, 21,22, in which He prayed to the Father that we would live in the same, "My Father and I are one" living truth in which He lived and stated throughout the Gospel of John, would be that exact and same living truth in us. (And we have to ask, would the Father fail to answer Jesus' last prayer on earth for us? Certainly not!)
Jesus said, "When you see me you see the Father." And we MUST proclaim the same, not because of any accomplishment, piety or holiness of our own, but only because of and through the eternal and absolutely certain accomplishment of Jesus Christ in bringing many sons unto glory (Heb 2:10), so that we are compelled by the Spirit of Truth to boldly say the same thing that He said, "When you see me you see Christ."
This is a very bold and seemingly absurd proclamation for merely human beings to make. But we are not mere human beings, but human beings who have been filled with and joined to the very person of God in our spirits, Divine Spirit person joined to human spirit person as one Divine/human person (1 Cor 6:17). And in that truth we now, in this moment, live spontaneously out of the reality that He and we are truly One! "As He is, so are we in this world" (1 John 4:17).
Of course, there is no doubt such a bold confession will meet with resistance, ridicule, and much opposition, both by our own limited human reason and by many who we encounter in the world, but nonetheless this truth is as much a present and living fact, as it is a fact that in His Cross we have died with Him and in His Resurrection we have risen with Him. If one is true then so is the other.
However, what we are all confronted with on a daily and even a moment by moment basis, is the constant pull and temptation into the sin of unbelief, which is a failure or even a refusal to enter into the fulness which is ours in the now, by a continual hypnosis to outer appearances and behaviors, coming out of a continual independent self-focus. We find many agreeing with the words of the truth, delighted by them and heartily agreeing, in principle, that they are so, but many failing to take that final leap by faith into, "IT IS SO IN ME. MY LIVING IN THE WORLD IS CHRIST LIVING!" This temptation toward this sin of unbelief is evidenced by statement after statement everywhere we go of the following kinds of confessions:
"I know Christ is in me, but I have to die to self."
"I know this is true, but a lot of me is still in God's way."
"I'm in union with Christ, but it hasn't yet started to work in me."
"God's biggest problem is me."
"That sounds good, but I'm not that spiritual a person."
"I see what you say, but we have to remember that this is a process."
"I wish I could make that work, but I sin every day."
"I know that's true in my spirit, but my flesh and my soul still have a long way to go."
"I've still got lots of obstacles to discover and overcome before I could say Christ is manifesting Himself fully in me."
Which brings me to the scripture passage I mentioned above, regarding the death of Lazarus and Jesus appearing on the scene "late." Lazarus' sister, Martha, comes running to Jesus as soon as she knows He has come.
"Oh Lord," she says, "if you had been here my brother would not have died. But I know even now you have whatever you ask the Father."
Doesn't Martha represent us all when we have been in this situation? Something we consider awful is happening, about to happen, or has happened, and we come to God knowing that He can do anything, if only He would!
Then somehow we hear the message Martha heard from Jesus, "Your brother will rise again."
It does not usually even enter our minds that God's word to us of such an impossible happening could actually occur, right now, in this present moment, so we do exactly as Martha did -- we put it off into some nebulous future. "Oh, I know my brother will rise again on the last day."
We all know that, and it didn't really take anything special for Martha to be able to say that. We all know God is going to make everything alright one day, that He works all things together for good, and if we can do nothing else, we can always find some degree of rest and comfort in that.
But Jesus has another thing He is getting across here. Jesus is telling Martha that her brother is going to rise THAT VERY DAY, and to believe for something in the present moment is a completely different ballgame.
Before I go on, let's step back a bit and consider the real purpose Jesus has in mind.
We must understand that when Jesus performed the miracles He did, though they were certainly out of compassion of the moment and were the love of God in action toward specific persons for specific needs, still from our viewpoint, the miracles are never the point. Jesus is always demonstrating, as He did with all His life lived in the earth, some particular aspect of God or reality He wants us to see which is beyond the miracle itself. The gospels tell us that He told parables in order to give a picture of the kingdom of God, and the miracles are the same -- the acts themselves are parables, pictures, of something beyond the actual physical miracles.
Our focus is almost always on the miracles, and our reactions run the gamut, from wishing we were there "in Bible days," so that we could see the same miracles the people did back then, to wishing or praying that we would perform the same types of miraculous deeds, in order to do "greater works," as Jesus promised.
But the "greater works" are not greater miracles in the physical realm than Jesus did. We would have a hard time competing and one-upping Jesus in things like raising people from the dead, or one-upping Moses parting the Red Sea or making water come out of a rock. If we view it that way, maybe "greater works" might be raising 100 dead people, or perhaps parting the Atlantic Ocean! But this isn't what God has in mind.
Jesus, and even Moses, demonstrated miraculous works in order to show the more important inward spiritual reality. In other words, the changing of the arrangement of molecules and life-spans in this temporal world so that we have miraculous results (which still are only temporal and will pass away) is not and never has been the purpose. The miracles and healings of Jesus are ALWAYS pointing to the Spirit truth behind the miracle or healing itself.
And it is the same with this raising of Lazarus from the dead.
Martha comes to Jesus, but she really does not believe the real truth Jesus has come to demonstrate and declare. She knows Jesus can do anything, just like we know God can do anything. But she really doesn't believe that, because she doesn't really believe that the resurrection of Lazarus occurs now, in this present moment. She even further demonstrates that she doesn't really believe such a miracle can happen NOW, when she points out to Jesus that Lazarus has been dead long enough to stink! In her mind, Jesus could have, in the non-existent past, prevented Lazarus from dying in the first place, or, in a non-existent future, she can believe that Lazarus will rise again in the last day.
But not today.
Jesus, however, had set up the whole thing so that they could see just that -- that TODAY Lazarus will rise from the dead.
Let us remember, though, that the miracle is not about the miracle, but is more about us and the truth God is showing us.
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead against all human laws, all human reason, all human ability, an utter impossibility for those people right then in their present moment, He was doing far more than just raising Lazarus from the dead back into this temporal life, no doubt to suffer death again later. He was demonstrating for us that the resurrection He has promised us, in the Spirit, is NOW. "He who believes shall not taste of death!" Shall not even taste it! Lazarus wasn't even really dead, but only sleeping, as He had told the disciples.
When He says, "I AM the resurrection," Jesus is not talking only about the future. There will come a day when we will resurrect from physical death and experience the promise of our full inheritance, when we will no longer be clothed upon by mortality, but will be clothed upon by immortality (2 Cor 5:2-4), and what Paul calls our "vile bodies" (Phil 3:21) will become something we cannot possibly imagine or even speculate about. But even now, RIGHT NOW, there is a full resurrection in our spirits, a completeness and a rest in Christ to enter TODAY. We do not inwardly taste of death, today and forever!
We have inherited, as a gift, a completed work, to which we need add nothing! In the past we have been taught and even imagined ourselves that there is something we need to add to or work in order to complete in ourselves the salvation of Christ, but that is at best a mistake and at worst an insidious lie of the enemy. Adam and Eve, though not conscious of who they were fully, were complete and perfect in the garden, lacking nothing. The devil came along and told them they were incomplete and needed something more -- that they needed to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (self-improvement), in order to become "wise as gods," lying outright to them by implying that God had lied to them when He told them that the day that they ate of that tree that they would die.
But Jesus came to restore what was lost, and He did EVERYTHING necessary for each one of us to experience and walk in that restoration and reconciliation. Therefore there is nothing whatsoever left for us to do except to receive it with thanksgiving and praise from the Lord through faith, through believing the work GOD has done, and that He has done it perfectly and totally in removing the enemy from us and renewing us within with His own Spirit of Truth and Love.
Still the enemy comes to us and says it is not so, and to agree with him and to say God has not completed His work in us, is to agree with Satan himself.
Of course that is not who we are. We are not of those "who fall back into perdition [through unbelief], but who believe to the saving of the soul." (Heb 10:39)
Therefore let us then agree wholeheartedly with God the Father, that it is now, and every moment of every day true, that we were crucified with Him, and that it is no longer we who live, but that is is now and every moment of every day, Christ who lives in us (Gal 2:20). Let us agree wholeheartedly that it is God, right now and every moment of every day, who works in us to "WILL and to DO of HIS good pleasure." (Phil 2:13). Let us stand up and declare, "For me to live IS Christ!"