Christianity 201

December 8, 2012

I Am “Again-Rising”

I Am The Resurrection

NIV John 11: 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Carley Evans has a very focused blog, and although she has been featured here twice already, her writing very much suits the kind of thing we were speaking of here yesterday.

Here she notes that in the ministry of Jesus, miracle-working time is not a time for parables. In those moments Jesus is very forthright and makes one of the signature statements about his ministry.

Before we jump in to this, I also want to note Carley’s choice of the Wycliffe Bible for this, as it gets us closer to a literal rendering of what Jesus actually said.  Young’s literal translation echoes this:

25 Jesus said to her, `I am the rising again, and the life; he who is believing in me, even if he may die, shall live;

26 and every one who is living and believing in me shall not die — to the age…

Years ago a pastor shared with me, “Let the translators do the work for you.” I have greatly valued this advice, and if you read today’s thoughts at their source, and then browse older posts, you’ll see that Carley does this. (This one is making me considering getting a print copy of the Wycliffe translation.)

Jesus speaks in analogy or parable quite often, but before asking Lazarus to wake up from death and come out of the tomb, He tells Martha, Lazarus’ sister: “I am again rising and life; he that believeth in me, yea, though he be dead, he shall live.” Jesus does not tell Martha a story meant to represent something else; rather, He tells her the truth – that He is eternal; that, despite death, He lives forever; that, belief in Him results in this same eternal life.

Don’t you wonder how Jesus stays out of the pits where the lepers live? How is it no one throws Him in with those society hates? Well, yes, His neighbors do attempt toss Him over a cliff; but in general, especially today, Jesus is called “a great teacher.” A great teacher? Jesus is not a great teacher if He is not God. He claims to be God, the One and Only God. Jesus either tells us the truth – that He is God – or He’s crazy. Why does anyone listen to an insane man?

Jesus gains the ears of modern theologians – who may or may not believe in His divinity –  because He demonstrates God’s glory and displays God’s power of “again-rising and life.”

I also appreciate the notation here that to refer to Jesus as “a good moral teacher” is dangerous because of what it is not saying about him. When interacting with people in the broader culture about Jesus, those types of statements should set off all types of warning lights. He is not simply that. He is the resurrection and the life.


  1. Thanks for the kind comments in your post. I appreciate your support – very much. Carley

    Comment by lambskinny — December 8, 2012 @ 9:41 pm | Reply

  2. Because of my interactions with aggressive atheists, I would appreciate one who recognizes Jesus as a great moral teacher. In his life Jesus was looking for the recognition that he was ‘sent from God.’ This phrase is used many times in John. This generation does not have the background in scripture to have that kind of expectancy of Jesus so a recognition as a great moral teacher should not set of warning lights, it should open the dialogue.
    Find some common ground. What do they like about his teaching?
    The church cannot keep going around giving everyone doctrine test as if the right words or intellectual understanding brings salvation.
    Jesus wants people to ‘know’ him – which means to experience him. How can people experience Jesus? Let that be your focus.

    Comment by g. Hartwell — December 8, 2012 @ 11:18 pm | Reply

    • I understand your point, g. Hartwell. And of course we must find common ground with those who do not know Jesus. But one area we can explore together is that if someone today came up to you and said, I AM GOD you’d likely laugh or mock the person unless power emanated. Jesus’ power on earth – though self-limited – made people flock to Him for healing and to see miracles. That He was/is a great moral teacher is less than satisfying to so many in the world. That’s too bad, but it’s true. People want power in their lives! They hunger to know Him, but they don’t realize it.
      Many blessings. And an early Merry CHRISTmas. Carley

      Comment by lambskinny — December 11, 2012 @ 6:42 am | Reply

  3. Reblogged this on obsecrations.

    Comment by lambskinny — December 11, 2012 @ 6:42 am | Reply

  4. Is this image of Martha and her confession above original with
    I would like to use it in a book I am preparing on “John’s Jesus in Meditation and Poetry, Art and Song.”

    Comment by Willard Swartley — December 20, 2012 @ 2:56 pm | Reply

    • This particular post would be rather difficult, as I wrote a rather long introduction and iteration of Bible text, and then Carley Evans — who IS linked in the middle of the piece, wrote the rest.

      I would suggest following the link to her blog and contacting her since the ideas are hers, and you could use the part from the halfway point on.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — December 20, 2012 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

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