9th January 2011

New Life

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

By the time Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethany, his friend Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days. Martha, Lazarus’ sister, probably with a hurt and exasperated voice, said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Martha had sent word to Jesus several days earlier, but Jesus had delayed two days before finally leaving for Bethany.

We pick up the story in John 11:23: Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Then Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

In this age, we all die, just like Lazarus did, and Jesus will have to “wake us up.” Death is not the end of the story for us, just as it was not the end of the story for Lazarus.

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. So they rolled back the stone, and Jesus prayed, and then he called out, “Lazarus, come out!” “And the dead man came out,” John tells us—no longer dead. He was wrapped up like a dead man, but he was alive.

“Take off the grave clothes,” Jesus said, “and let him go.”

Just as Jesus called Lazarus out of his grave, so he calls all people out of their spiritual darkness to take hold of the new life he secured for them through his atoning work.

Continuing the passage quoted above from 2 Corinthians 5:17 to verse 21, the apostle Paul goes on: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

We are made for life in Jesus Christ and he has removed every barrier standing in our way. We can trust him. We can believe his word of life for us. Do you hear Jesus calling you? Maybe it’s time to walk out of your grave and into the light of his life.

Holy Father, we human beings fail so often to understand that we are, because of our sin, walking dead men. And thanks to your reconciliation work through Christ we have the chance to live again as new creations in you. Help us, Holy Father, to heed that call, to consider how we respond; help us to come alive through Christ Jesus.

Study by Joseph Tkach

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