Nielsen Greiner is from Lancaster, PA and recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Currently, he works full-time. He has a heart for high school ministry.

The Resurrected Life, Part I: We live because He lives

“After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.”
John 14:19

“Resurrection,” as a concept, implies that something was dead, then raised to life. Paul writes in the Corinthians, “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:16-17). We were resurrected, first dead, then reborn through Jesus Christ, but only because he was raised up first. Without the resurrection of Christ specifically, there would be no reason for a church or for Christianity for that matter; we would still be in our sins, damned to eternal separation from God.

What does “resurrection” — being raised up from death — look like in our lives? It can be classified in a number of ways, as resurrection from:

  • Death (physical)
  • Sin (spiritual)
  • Shame (emotional/mental)

And unto:

  • Freedom (from the former)
  • Victory (more than enough)
  • Life (now and to come)

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me … Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you …” John 14 is a beautiful passage that tells of some of the final moments Jesus spent with His disciples —His closest friends — before His suffering began. He spoke words of comfort, strength and peace; He knew He faced His death on the cross, the grave, then the resurrection (when he would see them again) and, ultimately, His ascension to the Father. When He was speaking, He was offering comfort and strength because He knew there was about to be pain and disappointment for His disciples. Conversely, He also knew there was hope because of his coming resurrection. He was making it clear, before any of the events took place, that “… because I live, you will live also.” We see the prophetic words of Christ, here; the disciples did not know what was coming. While we know the end of the story, they certainly did not.

Looking further back, the story of Lazarus is told in John 11. Lazarus was one of Jesus’ closest friends, and Jesus loved Him very much. Lazarus became deathly sick, and his sisters sent word to Jesus, pleading with Him to come see them. Jesus ended up waiting two days longer to leave and Lazarus died before he arrived. The implication is clear: Even though Jesus could have left in time to heal Lazarus, He specifically did not.

But just as with His disciples, there was something Jesus knew all along. I see this narrative as something of a foreshadowing of what was to come with Jesus Himself. There was always a greater purpose, even in Lazarus’s death, just as there was in Jesus’ death. If we return to the meaning of “resurrection,” we see there can’t be a resurrection without a death. Knowing this, Jesus said, “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. Do you believe this?”

There is a purpose in the midst of the “sickness,” whether it’s physical, spiritual or emotional, and we also know Jesus promises a resurrection not only now, but also to come. It’s a promise: For those of us who have Jesus, no “sickness” will ever end in death. Even after something has died, or we think we are “too far gone,” there is always resurrection.