CHIRST, THE RESURRECTION.
In our last chapter we had the first ray of hope and in this one we have Christ, the resurrection and the life. You see that there is not only hope, but thank God there is help and not only help, but there is help at hand, for you can see at a glance that if Christ can’t do something supernatural there is no use in His going to Bethany, for the man there is dead. You see that Lazarus is beyond turning a new leaf or making new resolutions for he is cold and stiff in the arms of death, but Christ is in the village and has already declared Himself to be the resurrection and the life. This statement from the lips of the blessed Son of God gave these heart-broken girls a double hope, and so it does us. How gloomy the grave would look if it were not for the statement of the blessed Son of God, that He was the resurrection and the life.
He proved His doctrine to be true before night. The grave has no terror for a fully saved man and for proof of that fact you go to a big camp meeting and just listen to the holy people testify, sing and shout and see them dance before the Lord, just as if there was not a grave on all the face of the earth. The holy people are not looking down at a hole in the ground, they are looking above the clouds and shouting, and when they do look at the grave they only look at it as a kind of a gateway to something better. The apostle Paul said, Oh death, where is thy sting, oh grave, where is thy victory. Some fifteen hundred years before the sad day in Bethany Job had asked a question and it was this: “If a man die shall he live again?” and the question had never been answered and could not be answered until it was answered by the blessed Son of God. When He went into Bethany and said I am the resurrection and the life, a new doctrine had been borne to the world and a new hope had sprung up in the hearts of the little family at Bethany and from that day to the present the doctrine of the resurrection has been settled in the minds of all true believers, for if there be no resurrection of the dead, says the Apostle Paul, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Then he adds, ye are yet in your sins, if the dead rise not.
All Bible Christians believe that when a sinner repents God pardons him; that when a believer consecrates, God sanctifies him; that when a saint is resurrected God glorifies him; The sinner is resurrected from the state of moral death when he is converted, and the believer is purified from a state of carnality when he is sanctified, and the saint is resurrected from a state of physical death when he is glorified. There is nothing hard about that to a man that believes the Bible and is on his way to a home in the glory land.
Now just at this moment Christ walks up and declares Himself to be the resurrection and the life, and if He can’t do it He is going to get Himself into trouble, for He said that He could, and all the town of Bethany is full of higher critics and every eye is on Him and it is up to Him to do something. His bitterest enemies were there and they watched him as a hawk would watch a chicken. Up to that day they had denied every claim that He had made and rejected both Him and His doctrine, and now He makes a claim that goes far beyond anything He has claimed up to date – that he is the resurrection and the life. But I believe He can do it.