Letters to the Prison - Week 56

Hello, everyone.  We miss the face-to-face fellowship we had with you.  We’re hopeful that someday soon we can return and worship God with you in person.  Meanwhile, we’re thankful that our great God and Savior is always there even when we can’t be.  We encourage you today:  Draw near to God (1 Samuel 14:36; James 4:8; Ecclesiastes 5:1; Hebrews 7:19, 25; 11:6).
Since Easter is near, we’re going to pause where we are in our study of John to consider what is perhaps the greatest thing Jesus ever says about himself.  All along we’ve been considering what Jesus (and others) say, and we will get to this passage eventually in our study of John.  But our celebration of Easter is so important that we’re going to “skip ahead” to touch on this profound thing that Jesus says about himself:
•“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…”-John 11:25
There is nothing subtle or difficult to understand about this.  There’s no huge interpretive challenge to face when trying to determine what Jesus says here, nor is there any way to misunderstand what he means by what he says.  We’ll see this even more clearly when we see the circumstances during which he says this amazing thing (Read John 11 if you’re interested in “skipping ahead.”  We’ll get there eventually!).  Still, what Jesus says here is clear enough.  It is quite plain.  Quite simple.  And, as we’ve seen, Jesus backs up what he says.  
If you decide to read ahead in John 11, you’ll see one way Jesus does that right then and there.  But more importantly, what we celebrate at Easter is how Jesus backs up this claim after he has been falsely accused, unjustly condemned, mocked, beaten, tortured, crucified, stabbed through the heart with a spear, pronounced dead, embalmed, and buried for three days.
What does Jesus do?
He gets up.  
He neatly folds the cloth that was wrapped around his head and leaves the tomb –Alive.
Friends, of all the things Jesus might have said, what he did says so much more.  We could consider that simple quiet act of getting up from the dead forever, but for today don’t walk away from this without considering the other thing Jesus says in John 11:
•Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  -John 11:25-26
We pray, dear brothers and sisters, that your answer to Jesus’ question is “Yes!  I believe!”
A great preacher once said, “there’s no problem bigger than ‘dead and buried.’”  And then he shouted, “I SAID, there’s NO problem BIGGER than ‘DEAD and BURIED’!!!”  He’s right.  Jesus solved that problem.  Do you think he can help us solve ours?  We’re certain he can.  And the proof Jesus offers –that he got up from the dead-- is what we celebrate at Easter.  Happy Easter!  We love you!  We’ll resume our study next week!

Dean A.

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