Let me tell you about the time that Jesus attended a funeral.  It is recorded for us in the 11th chapter of the Gospel of John.

Distressing word was sent to Jesus by Mary and Martha that their brother, Lazarus, was very sick. However, Jesus was busy attending to  the needs of others so was unable to go to them right then. In fact, it was a couple of days before Jesus was ready to go to this family in Bethany.  Before Jesus was ready to go, the news came to him that Lazarus died.  Jesus told the disciples that Lazarus was sleeping and He was going to wake him up.  The disciples did not understand because if Lazarus was only sleeping, then he would wake up in due time.  Jesus to make it clear said, Lazarus was dead. Jesus uses man’s terminology, dead, so man would understand.  So, Jesus went to the cemetery where the funeral was being conducted.  Jesus was late as they had already buried the body of Lazarus.  Martha saw Jesus coming and she ran to meet Him.  Martha expresses disappointment by saying to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.”  Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again.  She knew of a general resurrection in the future which she acknowledges.  But, this is not what Jesus is talking about.  He said to her, “No Martha I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me stays alive even if he dies, every living person who believes in Me shall never  die.  DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?”

Now Mary comes and she expresses the same disappointment with Jesus being too late to save her brother.  Jesus sees all the sadness of Mary and Martha and the people grieving. What anguish and grief they are experiencing over the death of Lazarus.  All of this troubled Him.  Also, He must have been moved by the lack of faith in Him.  Here was the resurrection and life before their eyes and they did not see it.  The people were so earthbound, blinded by their grief.  It was too much for Jesus and He began to cry.   Jesus told them to remove the stone from the mouth of the tomb but Martha resisted.  She told Jesus that her brother had been dead for four days and by this time the decomposed flesh would stink.  Finally, the tomb was opened. Jesus called with a loud voice, “Lazarus come forth” and the dead man came forth alive.

Jesus promises LIFE INSTEAD OF DEATH.    Eternal life is the continuation of a lasting fellowship with God which began when a person made the commitment of love to Jesus Christ. This commitment to Jesus begins a relationship that cannot be broken by physical death.  Eternity has begun and the issue is: where will you spend the rest of it, with God or without God?
The real question is not, “shall we rise from the dead?”  Rather it is, “have we risen from the dead.” Here and now, have we been obedient to the teaching of Christ in His word so that we have the promise of the forgiveness of our sins?

Christians can declare  with the Apostle Paul,  “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.”

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