Jesus, the Lord of Life

“I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.” (John 5:25-27)

“I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.”
-John Newton
Jesus can call the dead to life both physically and spiritually–this is a solemn truth. I am reminded of Jesus’ response to John the Baptist’s query found in Matthew asking if Jesus was indeed the One to come. Perhaps John was discouraged sitting in his prison cell, perhaps he was confused. He who had once recognized Jesus to be the Messiah now needed the truth to be reaffirmed in his soul. It is so easy to get discouraged in the midst of our circumstances and then become bewildered!

I love the way Jesus responds to John’s question:

When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”
(Matthew 11:2-6)

“From God, great and small, rich and poor, draw living water from a living spring, and those who serve Him freely and gladly will receive grace answering to grace.” -Thomas a Kempis

Jesus refuses to give a yes or no answer to the question, choosing to site His works and let them speak for themselves. The coming Messiah’s actions had been prophesized by the prophet Isaiah and Jesus clearly demonstrated He was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s words:

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
(Isaiah 35:5-6)

“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
(Isaiah 42:6-7)

“In Christ the heart of the Father is revealed, and higher comfort there cannot be than to rest in the Father’s heart.”
-Andrew Murray

Jesus came as the fulfillment of God’s covenant promise to Israel and also as a Light to the Gentiles. Spiritually unredeemed Israel and Gentiles alike are blind captives living in darkness–spiritually dead in their sins–yet Jesus says that those who hear will live! Paul later said:

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

God’s gracious offer of reconciliation by righteousness through faith is held out to all–Jew and Gentile alike. Sadly, many do not accept this Good News. Many fail to respond. It is a very sad and discouraging thing to the message bearer of God’s Word for the Word not to be embraced. It is even sadder for those who turn a deaf ear to the truth.

“We receive only one life during which we have many chances to come to know God. We are the biggest fools of all if we make the eternal mistake of rejecting the truth that God has communicated to us.”
-Billy Graham

Take It to Heart

God tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. The writer of Hebrews says:

God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Jesus promises us the same through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you foreverthe Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (John 14:16-21)

“Crown him the Lord of life, who triumphed o’er the grave, who rose victorious in the strife for those he came to save. His glories now we sing, who died and rose on high, who died eternal life to bring and lives that death may die.” (Matthew Bridges, “Crown Him With Many Crowns”)