Unfrozen – Part 5

 

 

Message: Part 5: Jesus is Your Resurrection

Scripture Text: John 11:25

1. We’re continuing the season of Lent this week, and throughout we will be in the Gospel of John.

2.a. There are 7 “I Ams” statements Jesus makes throughout John’s Gospel and they are the glue which holds it together.

b. We are spending each week through Easter looking at an “I Am” statement in the order they appear in John’s gospel and how they have the power to unfreeze your faith and draw you into intimate relationship with God.

3. The next “I Am” is first and only I Am which is more of a theological statement than a word-

picture: “I Am the Resurrection and the Life.”

a. Resurrection is simply the living coming back to life after being well and truly dead.

b. And even though we’ve seen it happen… never, it’s still been discussed, debated and believed in for a long, long time.

i. Ancient Mesopotamian,

Egyptian and Greek religions believed in the afterlife but also had stories of humans and deities dying and miraculously coming back to life.

1. Some Greek myths say the great warrior Achilles was taken from his funeral pyre by his mother and resurrected as an immortal looking like Brad Pitt.

ii. Some are betting that someday science will be able to pull off resurrections, and they are having their bodies cryonically frozen and stored in a lab…just waiting.

iii. One of the most popular TV shows right now is built around the “Dead” still alive because of a terrible virus or mind-control; making people become the Walking Dead, wandering around in packs, eating the occasional brain.

1. By the way, do you have your plan in place for the Zombie Apocalypse? Oddly, Brad Pitt’s a part of that too.

iv. The fact is, resurrections and the ‘undead’ have existed only in mythology, fantasy, and apocalyptic visions. Not in real life. So why do we spend so much time thinking about it?

c. Some philosophers and theologians think it’s because of the Problem of Evil and Suffering.

i. Life can be hard. People can be evil. Death is so final. It satisfies our sense of justice if there is some eternal life of reward or punishment after death.

ii. Some say it’s because our minds can think abstractly, and always have a “What If?” curiosity. What if there’s more after death? Life is so packed with experiences it’s hard to think about it just…ending.

d. Someone in the Bible asked the “What if?” question.

i. Job asks, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” His answer? “And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.”

ii. Have you wondered “What if?” there is life after your death?

 

4. So here comes Jesus making a big statement.

But don’t miss the fact that He combines resurrection and life.

a. He’s the Lord of the UnDead but it’s not Zombie-style. It’s forsaking the finality of death AND having life.

i. The Greek word for life is zoe – meaning “real” life; fullness of life and vitality.

ii. How does this work?

b. Some Christian theologians describe what Jesus means with the term “Inaugurated Eschatology.” He is announcing that eternal life isn’t just something that will come when you die, or when history comes to its apocalypse. It starts now, with Himself, and is the exclamation point on God’s own Glory.

i. As a visual aid, in the following verses, he calls his friend Lazarus, dead in the grave for four days, to come out of his tomb. And he does.

ii. Easter is the most important day of the year for Christians because on that day we celebrate how Jesus, shouldering the death of humanity on the cross, rose again on the 3rd day to forever deal death a death-blow.

c. So if you believe in Jesus, Easter is every day.

i. Spring is the eternal season.

ii. You’re already resurrected PRIOR to your final death and fulfilled resurrection to God in heaven. In the meantime, you truly LIVE, free from death.

5. It’s incredibly important to see that Jesus doesn’t say He’s bringing you resurrection, but that He is your Resurrection.

a. The Apostle Paul puts it profoundly:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

b. Jesus isn’t just a Savior, He’s also a Redeemer. He wants to come in and himself be a change of death to life in YOU.

i. What’s a walking death for you? What’s a same-old,same-old that can’t seem to die?

c. Jesus is Resurrection so every way death touches your life can finally die for you and be replaced by His bread, his light, his shepherding, his life.

i. Remember Job’s answer to his “What If?” In an amazing glimpse into the future, of Christ, he also says “I know my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.”

ii. Jesus, in Matthew’s gospel, put it bluntly. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

6. About this ever-present light is like a 100-degree sunny day for a block of ice. It has the power to unfreeze your faith.

a. Each week I’m going to give you three ‘thaw levels’ for Jesus to unfreeze you now and over coming week – if you’re willing to go there.

b. Warm: What’s “UnDead” in your life, either because it is transcendent of every day life or because its something that can’t seem to go away?

c. Medium: In what ways can eternal life – heaven – be something you’re experiencing now? How is heaven invading your life this week?

d. Hot: If “Life” for Jesus is redemptive, transforming death into life, how are you being used by Christ to be “life” for others? How is “life-giving” your everyday mission in the things you do, say and demonstrate?

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