This comes from a Facebook posting on John 11
We have a ministry of life and resurrection, initiated and modeled by the one who is ever present as resurrection and life. A few observation on that from a remarkable encounter with death in John 11:
First, Jesus waited for the right moment to arrive and everyone else considered, as any person driven by logic would, that it was too late.
Martha felt it was late, but not too late. She has a sense that God would answer Jesus' most outlandish prayers.
Jesus tells her that her brother would rise again. She thinks he is speaking about the future resurrection of all the dead. He knows he means today.
Does she think he is being dismissive or hyper-spiritual as some folks receive us when we are being, well, dismissive or hyper-spiritual ?
Is she saying something like this?
"I know that, but it only helps a little bit now. I want my brother back."
Jesus does not, immediately, clarify or correct that misconception. Rather, he refers to the power and hope of his presence and turns death on its head, spins it around, and sucks all of the power out of it.
"I am ...." is present, now. It is a present reality.
It is not yesterday, or tomorrow when spiritual life ignites a fire of life and obliterates the ultimate power of death to disable us and lay us in the ground of despair and hopeless termination. It is not even today; it is a deeper, more powerful, "NOW!"
I am THE resurrection and THE life!
Such an audacious claim he makes. Eternity is present and to prove it, he is about to do something amazing to human eyes, but relatively trivial from an eternal perspective. He will restore physical life to his friend.
Nothing is trivial to God when God incarnates Himself into our experience of sorrow and mundane pan. He incorporates all that he is into a package of vulnerability and transcends.
Here is how A. T. Robertson exegetes verse 25:
"I am the resurrection and the life (Egw eimi h anastasi kai h zwh). This reply is startling enough. They are not mere doctrines about future events, but present realities in Jesus himself. "The Resurrection is one manifestation of the Life: it is involved in the Life" (Westcott). Note the article with both anastasi and zwh. Jesus had taught the future resurrection often ( Luke 6:39 ), but here he means more, even that Lazarus is now alive. Though he die (kan apoqanh). "Even if he die," condition (concession) of third class with kai ean (kan) and the second aorist active subjunctive of apoqnhskw (physical death, he means). Yet shall he live (zhsetai). Future middle of zaw (spiritual life, of course)." (http://m.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/robertsons-word-pictures/john/john-11-25.html)
Then, Jesus makes a claim that requires something beyond mere ascent, "Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die."
Never die? Live when dead?
"Do you believe this?"
He drives the arrow of faith inquiry into her heart of grief and probes for her "buy in."
In Greek, the probe is two words, "pisteuei touto."
She buys in, hook, line, and sinker - with more than he even asked of her, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world."
Yes. Lord (Nai, kurie).
Again, Dr. Robertson observes, " She had heroic faith and makes now her own confession of faith in words that outrank those of Peter in Matthew 16:16 because she makes hers with her brother dead now four days and with the hope that Jesus will raise him up now. I have believed (pepisteuka). Perfect active indicative of pisteuw. It is my settled and firm faith."
It is all about who he is and who he is when he is present makes a huge deal in any circumstance.
Where he is present, there is life.
Mary comes and there is a crowd of consolers, well meaning, good hearted, and he is touched by grief and agitated by their howling.
Something powerful happens. Knowing what he knows and who he is, he enters into the crowd of mourners and groans in spirit (v33).
Robertson observes his own reaction and the word for groaning as, "to snort with anger like a horse. It occurs in the LXX ( Daniel 11:30 ) for violent displeasure. The notion of indignation is present in the other examples of the word in the N.T. ( Mark 1:43 ; Mark 14:5 ; Matthew 9:30 ). So it seems best to see that sense here and in verse 11:38 . The presence of these Jews, the grief of Mary, Christ's own concern, the problem of the raising of Lazarus--all greatly agitated the spirit of Jesus (locative case twi pneumati). He struggled for self-control. Was troubled (etaraxen eauton). First aorist active indicative of tarassw, old verb to disturb, to agitate, with the reflexive pronoun, "he agitated himself" (not passive voice, not middle). "His sympathy with the weeping sister and the wailing crowd caused this deep emotion" (Dods). Some indignation at the loud wailing would only add to the agitation of Jesus.
He has a deep, emotional response to everything that is happening, all the pain, confusion, misconception, hopelessness --- all of it. It is an inner upheaval and he struggles with it and expresses it.
So, in verse, 34, he asks, "Where have you laid him?"
We have started with the very present, eternal reality of life that transcends death. We have passed through the crowd and experienced the emotions that are so overwhelming in the hour of despair and death. Now, Jesus confronts the physical reality of death. he wants to be taken to the tomb.
Then, Jesus wept!
"... (edakrusen o Ihsou). Ingressive first aorist active indicative of dakruw, old verb from dakru or dakruon, a tear ."
It was not wailing. That would be cultural and sometimes, contrived. Anyone could be employed or recruited to wail and howl with or without emotional engagement. Everyone in the community showed up and did that. It was expected.
Jesus' weeping was real. It was deep. It was personal. It was engaged. It welled up from within and flowed out through his eyes and his voice.
It was with strong crying and tears that he confronted the tomb.
It is the shortest verse in the Bible, but it is never short on meaning.
We have one to weep with us. His weeping and engagement in our humanity is in light of the reality of his life-giving presence. He knows our hope, but also our feelings of hopelessness and enters in. He avoids nothing of our human experience - spiritual, emotional, physical - He is present for us and with us.
The observation of the crowd was how much he loved Lazarus (epilei) with depths of affection and brotherly love.
Is that, perhaps, how we might be present for others in their pain?
We must be present in love.
Jesus said very little that day, but he said so much.
He used few words.
He did much.
He loved much.
"Lazarus, come forth," was a pretty powerful statement - short, sweet, and to the point.
He prays. It is a powerful and "desperate" prayer of faith to his Father to whom he defers to exercise the power through him and his words. But he does not wrestle in this prayer. in fact, he gives thanks for being heard, which indicates he has probably been praying all along.
In fact, his groaning was a prayer (See Romans 8:26https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+8%3A26&version=KJV).
Surrounded by doubters - legitimate doubters, one might argue, he steps out on faith. After all, Lazarus was a fourth-day dead man. That was the tradition point of no return. He was grave-yard dead and beyond hope.
It must have been by design that Jesus allowed his friend to get to that point. His Father would make a similar sacrifice of His Son in a a few days.
He calls us forth to life where there is no expectation or hope of life. We may also call life forth from the tombs of despair all around us.
"Again groaning in himself ..." in that context, he calls for the stone to be removed ... still groaning, still praying, still experiencing the pain and doubt around him.
That is always the context of the priestly ministry of presence in a doubting and despairing world.
" 'Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?' So they took away the stone."
He wants people to see the glory of God!
He wants us to experience glory in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death.
He calls us to be an embodiment of his very presence of life in the world show forth the glory of God.
""Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."
Robertson says there is a "purpose clause" here embedded in the Greek. (Of course, he is speaking Aramaic and we don't have that quote as such).
"Lazarus, come forth!"
" (Lazare, deuro exw). 'Hither out.' No verb, only the two adverbs.
Quickly! Out of there!
It does not take many words. It doesn't even take a complete sentence! It takes much presence and engagement.
He says it with a loud voice.
He wants to be heard now by the crowds.
It can drain us, but it can also fill us.
" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, 'Take off the grave clothes and let him go.'"
Living people need not be wrapped in grave clothes.
There is still work to be done to help people realize that they have life after resurrection.
There is a process to realizing freedom and walking around in it. The liberation process is an ongoing ministry.
We are told that a polarization was the response. Many believed, "but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done ..."
Their reaction had nothing to do with whether or not they believed in what had happened. Their reaction was, "What will this do to our position of power? How will the Romans react? Will we lose our status? Will we lose our favored position?"
In the ministry of liberation, life, and resurrection, many will be believe, many will be set free, and some, in power, who do not care about the dead and dying, but only their own power, will react and try to kill the movement of life.
Count on it and do it anyway!
"Martha said to Jesus, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.' Jesus said to her, 'Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.' Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?' She said to him, 'Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.'"
(John 11:21-27 ESV)