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Jesus’ Death, Resurrection, and the Day In-Between

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Easter, resurrection, Jesus

Graves outside eastern wall of temple in Jerusalem 

The day in between. A day to contemplate the whirlwind events of the week. From a day of celebration, adoration, and praise as Jesus entered Jerusalem to his brutal death and the dissipation of his band of followers just days later, the week had swung from one end of the spectrum to the other.

The day between Jesus’ death and resurrection was a day filled with questions, despair, grief, and doubt. Was Jesus really who he said he was? How could a man who claimed to be God have been overcome by the world? From all appearances, evil had won. Or so it seemed. 

A woman in Bethany likely experienced some of the same emotions. Her brother, Lazarus, had been seriously ill. She and her sister, Mary, sent a message to Jesus asking him for help. Mary and Martha were well aware Jesus had healed complete strangers from a variety of maladies. As close friends, they knew he had the ability to help them, and expected him to have the desire as well.

But Jesus didn’t come. They waited and watched for his face on the horizon. Nothing. 

Lazarus died. He lay decaying in his tomb for four days before Jesus showed up. Imagine the doubts and questions in those in-between days. 

When Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, Martha went out to meet him but Mary stayed at the house. Was she steeped in grief? Anger? 

Jesus told Martha her brother would rise again then shared, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will live even if he dies; and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”

Then he drove this question home to Martha’s heart. “Do you believe this?”

At this point, with her brother dead in the tomb, Martha’s response showed her “even though” faith.

Even though you let us down, I believe you still have the power to do something. Even though you didn’t come . . . even though you destroyed my hopes . . . even though you broke my heart . . . even though you didn’t answer or show up the way I expected you to, I still believe you are the Son of God. 

How would you have answered?

Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead proving his power over death. 

In his deadness, Lazarus was completely helpless to change his condition . . . the same way all people who are spiritually dead when they are born into the world are helpless. In our spiritual deadness, we are unable to change our condition without Jesus.

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:36

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24

In his divine nature, Jesus is life. Eternal life is personal relationship with Jesus that never ends. There is no life apart from him.

Jesus is the resurrection. Those who have life in him cannot be defeated by death. He has overcome it.

Easter, Jesus, resurrection

Golgotha in Jerusalem

The day Jesus lay in the tomb . . . the day in-between. A time of waiting and wondering. What next? What now? What just happened? 

No one expected to see Jesus’ face on the horizon ever again. But Easter morning came. True to form, the tomb was empty. He appeared to Mary then later to his disciples. Then to many more.

Easter, Jesus, resurrection

Garden tomb in Jerusalem

So why did Jesus wait to go to Lazarus? Why was there a day in between his death and resurrection?

The sole purpose of his waiting to go to Lazarus? To reveal the glory of God. Lazarus had to die in order for resurrection to occur and for the power of God to be displayed.

On the night of his arrest, Jesus prayed, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your son, that the son may glorify you.” Everything about Jesus was aimed at revealing the glory of God.

In his death, God was glorified. His followers didn’t understand it in the day in-between. Many of us don’t. It wasn’t until the resurrection that they got it. God’s glory on full display.

Jesus is primarily about the business of bringing dead things back to life – particularly spiritually dead hearts. Are you in a place where you’ve been watching for Jesus’ face on the horizon and he hasn’t shown up yet. Like Jesus’ disciples, Mary, and Martha, are you waiting in the days in-between? 

Easter, Jesus, resurrection

Even though you may feel he’s abandoned you . . . even though your heart is broken . . . even though you’ve lost hope, remember Jesus is who he says he is. He is God. He is powerful enough to help you persevere . . . to overcome.

He says to you as he said to his followers just before his death. “In the word you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” The resurrection proves it.

Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He revives hearts, souls, hopes, dreams, families, lives, faith.

The days in-between give us an opportunity to make our faith real. It allows God to stretch our faith, flex it, build it’s muscle. It’s a time for us to decide for ourselves, “Is Jesus really God?” 

In your days in-between will you say with conviction – regardless of what’s happening in your life. “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God. who has come into the world.”

Resurrection is coming. 




One Comment

  1. Kathleen says:

    I especially appreciated your comment that Jesus is in the business of bringing dead things back to life, particularly spiritually dead hearts. Absolutely true!

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