Last time (Looking Ahead) I passed along some thoughts about the shortest verse in the Bible… Jesus wept (John 11:35). That sort of got me to thinking about what his resurrection means for us today, and so I began to reflect on what happened to him after the fact. So, first let’s look at what occurred immediately after the burial cloth was removed.
John 12:9-10 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.
It’s interesting that probably nobody had ever walked the 2 miles up the hill to come and see him because he was a believer in Jesus. What was the difference? He was now a man living a resurrected life; day-by-day. If you think about it, up until the moment of his death, Lazarus had been a believer just like his sisters, Mary and Martha. What was different now… he was a living witness! And that sends a clear message to us.
I am quite sure that he wasn’t travelling house-to-house to witness to win people for Jesus. Although, I am certain he delivered that message to those who he encountered. No,what he was doing was being a witness… “I wasn’t always this way, I was just a nominal believer in Jesus. I loved Him and wanted to please him. He was the most important person in my life. But then I died! I died to everyone and everything around me… the old Lazarus was dead and everybody knew it… I came to the end of myself.
Isn’t it the same for us? There is something very attractive to someone who has totally died to their old life and is now living the resurrected life in Jesus. Yet at the same time that life is viewed negatively by others.
John 12:10-11 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
The witness of the life of Christ in a believer (the resurrected life; a changed life) being lived out day-by-day is the most power testimony for the gospel. People came and saw Lazarus and went away believing because his “resurrected life” was a powerful testimony. That testimony, the power of the Spirit at work in our life, can be overwhelming and threatening at the same time. To those who have given their heart to Jesus it can be a strong reminder and motivator to begin living the resurrected life. To others it is a powerful reminder that there is only one choice to be made in this life, and it has nothing to do with our own opinion and belief system.
The saying that our life may be the only Jesus that some people ever see is a powerful thought. Do they see the resurrected life in us like they did in Lazarus? Do they see the powerful change that has brought about in our life? The answers to those questions have everything to do with whether or not we have truly died in the first place. Until we have truly died to our self and begun living the resurrected life by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are just among the ranks of nominal believers. Our “life in Christ” does not end at the cross… that’s just the beginning. When we came out of the water after being baptized we identified with His resurrection.
I think it’s high time we all began taking the next step and begin living the resurrected life and become the witness for Jesus that He intended us to be. It’s that life that attracts those whom the Holy Spirit is drawing and opens the door for the ministry of reconciliation. And it’s easier than you think to live that life. It’s just like our walk with Him; one step at a time, one day at a time in faith. Living the new life He has given us… the surrendered life.