Television programming has a fantasy drama called Resurrection. It takes place in a make believe town where deceased loved ones come back to life and return to their families. It has generated lots of chatter about afterlife and “what happens after we die?”
Of course raising up those who have died isn’t a new phenomenon. When Jesus walked among us, he raised up three people: the young daughter of Jairus; the grieving widow’s only son and, his friend, Lazarus, after being dead for four days.
Jesus did it without fanfare-no cameras, TV lights or Twitter. And his reward for giving life to these people was that the Pharisees and the Publicans wanted him killed. It did not enjoy the notoriety and good press that this modern day television program is enjoying.
Right before raising Lazarus from his death, Jesus had this discussion with Martha. Martha said to Jesus “if you had been here my brother would not have died.” Jesus replied with these great words “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
And Martha uttered the words Jesus wants to hear from all his followers. “Yes, Lord I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” (John 11: 1-45).
Our lives and all we do in our lives come down to the answer to Jesus’ question “Do you believe this?” But it is not simply with a one time “Yes,” rather we answer with a lifetime “Yes” over and over again.
Recently a deaf 16-year old teenager, Jason, with an ear implant told me his story. Now this Jason looked like any other high schooler I met. Jason was tall, eager, handsome, except for his halting speech because of the implant.
Jason with an occasional captivating smile proceeded to relate his life and his struggles of being a hearing impaired teenager. His struggles to fit in with his peers, his inner longings to be “like everybody else,” But Jason also had gifts he wanted to share too. He was an honor student; a good athlete and he loved life. And Jason loved God.
Jason did not blame God. He thanked God for who he was and where he was right now. “I thank God for loving me.” Because he added “It’s not easy being a teenager.”
I can hear Jesus whispering to Jason “In your life Jason I am your resurrection and your life; if you believe this you shall never die. Do you believe this?” And Jason through his struggles, pain, and desires “to be normal” courageously responds “Yes Lord I believe” And Jason simply moves forward.
That’s the faith that Jesus comes looking for in all of us. Jesus wants to be our resurrection (our life and hope) in all our days and through all our challenges.
Jason does it through his present moments of his everyday. Jesus looks for that same utterance from our everyday living too. “Do you believe this?” Jesus is always asking.
Despite our doubts, despite our days of darkness and pain, we always know Jesus alone has the words of eternal life. And when we acknowledge this from our present moments, no matter what we find in them, we already have eternal life.
Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday isn’t about coming back and living again in our hometowns like the TV drama portrays. Rather Jesus’ death and resurrection frees us to live in eternity. “If we believe in Him we will never die.”
So as we begin our day and face our struggles, and challenges, our dreams and disappointments how do we respond to Jesus’ question–“Do you believe this?”
Jesus waits to hear the same “yes” of Martha and Jason. For when he does, he knows that our eternal life has also begun.