by Santosh Poonen
Every Bible, no matter what translation you use, contains a powerful story in John Chapter 11. Jesus had a close friend in Bethany named Lazarus who fell seriously ill one day. When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, rather than rushing quickly to his bedside, He hung out for a couple more days where He was staying at the time, and then decided to go see Lazarus. By the time Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days – long enough for his body to begin decomposing! You know how the story ends… Jesus stands in front of the stinking grave and calls Lazarus out. Imagine the shock that the witnesses experience when they see Lazarus emerge, still attired in his funeral “suit”, but hale, hearty, and probably a little hungry.
Then there’s the everyday life Bible. This is the “Bible” that corresponds to the faith and practical experience of most Christians. According to this “Bible”, Jesus rushes up to Lazarus’ tomb like an ambulance in panic, and being an EMT, performs emergency CPR on Lazarus, hoping and praying that somehow there’s a little life left in his body to bring him back to life. Imagine performing CPR on a four-day dead body!
You get the point. This is another “Bible” (not the powerful Word of God) and another “Jesus” (not the omnipotent Son of God). Sadly, most Christians read the KJV or the NASB or the NIV, but live this counterfeit version. You see, we’re struggling to resuscitate the little bit of life that’s left in “Me.” And that’s the problem. “Me” has to die, and die so completely that he starts to rot. Then Jesus can impart His resurrection life, so that He, not I, lives in me (Galatians 2:20)!
What Jesus said before He raised Lazarus from the dead was not, “I am the resuscitation,” but “I am the resurrection” (v25). Small difference in spelling, big difference in impact! The dictionary defines resuscitation as “revival from apparent death or from unconsciousness; revitalization; coming to.” Resurrection is defined as “rising again to life from the dead.”
If our spiritual lives lack power over sin and death, then the Jesus we believe in was merely revived on the cross after swooning for a few hours (as some religions claim). Rather, because of Christ’s resurrection after His body was dead for 3 days, and our partaking in that death and resurrection, we can confidently say, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:54-57).
It’s quite fashionable to talk about revival these days. You may be surprised, however, to learn that the word “revival” appears in the Bible a total of zero times.
You will find the powerful word “resurrection” plenty of times in your Bible, though. And that’s what you really need!
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