Sunday, April 24, 2011


The Book of Job, probably one of the oldest in the Bible, recounts the suffering, faith, and victory of a man whose total reliance was upon God. The enemy had come against Job on a full frontal assault that took away his family, his wealth, and even his physical health. He found no encouragement from his wife, nor his closest friends. But the enemy could not take his faith!

Job knew that physical death was a reality. He saw the examples all around him, yet he also saw examples of rebirth in nature. (Job 14: 1-9) The resulting lesson causes Job to ask a question, and state his own faith in a life after death:

"If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait,till my renewal should come." (Job 14:14) ESV

This is the age old question. Is death the end? Is earthly life all there is to our existance? Many people feel that haunting emptiness like the song lyrics that Patti Page sang years ago, "Is that all there is?"

Paul the Apostle answers these and other questions about the Christian doctrine of the resurrection of the dead in the 15th Chapter of 1 Corinthians. This is arguably the greatest treatise in all the Bible about the Resurrection - of Christ first - and His followers thereafter.

The Apostle answers the question, "Is that all there is?" in this manner.

"If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ."
(1 Cor 15: 19-23) ESV

Today, all around the world, the message of the Resurrection is being proclaimed. It is a theme central to our Christian faith. It is not just the "extra point" tacked on after the "touchdown" of the cross. The resurrection of Christ is the capstone and fulfillment of God's plan of redemption for fallen man.

Paul's treatise on the Resurrection is beautifully expressed in 1 Corinthians 15. Much greater scholars than I have written volumes about the doctrine of the resurrection, but in a nutshell, I believe it can be most easily understood from a passage in the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of John.

Jesus' dear friend, Lazarus of Bethany, had fallen sick. Lazarus' sisters, Mary and Martha, had sent a messenger to Jesus, hoping the Master would arrive before Lazarus got worse, but alas, Jesus took his time in coming. He knew what He was going to do. He tarried, to give Lazarus time to die and be buried, so He could teach His followers - and us - an important lesson.

When Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had already been in the grave four days. Martha ran to meet Him and said, "Master, if you had only been here, our brother would not have died..." (quite a statement of faith, huh?) Jesus assured her that her brother would live again. Martha came back with more "head knowledge", when she said, "Oh, yes Lord. I know he will live again in the resurrection on the last day."

My heart thrills when I read Jesus's answer to that in verses 25 and 26. " Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

I'm sure you know the rest of the story.

I'll close by asking you the same question that Jesus asked Martha. Do you believe this?

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