Jesus lays claim to divinity: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (Jn 11:25-26).
By Deacon Frederick Bartels
6 April 2014
In the gospel this Fifth Sunday of Lent (Jn 11:1-45), we hear about Jesus raising his friend Lazarus from the dead. On seeing Lazarus, Jesus as true man wept for him and, as eternal God, raised him from the tomb (see Fifth Sunday of Lent Preface). This event should not be viewed simply as a message from the past. It is an event that has meaning for us today, and, in fact, applies to our lives in the present. The Son of God who is fully human and fully divine takes pity on the human race and is deeply moved by not merely concern for the human condition but a passionate love for his people. His love is of such magnitude that he willingly walks toward the cross, and accepts a brutal death upon it in order to redeem humankind and offer salvation to all.
Further, notice how Martha expresses her faith in Jesus as Lord. She tells Jesus that, had he been there, Lazarus would not have died. She reasons that God would give to Jesus whatever he asks of him (Jn 11:21-22). When Jesus answers Martha, he does not simply agree that he has favor with God but rather lays claim to his divinity as well as his divine power. He tells her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (Jn 11:25-26).
We are not saved simply by knowing about Jesus, as if it is enough to admire him as a good and just man whose moral teaching is worthy of admiration. We are saved by entering into his life, by making his story our story. In that story is the cross–the only way to life. The authentic Christian disciple becomes like Jesus. In doing so, on the last day, he will be raised like Jesus.
Deacon Frederick Bartels is a member of the Catholic clergy who serves the Church in the diocese of Pueblo. He holds an MA in Theology and Educational Ministry and is a Catholic educator, public speaker, and evangelist who strives to infuse culture with the saving principles of the gospel. For more, visit YouTube, iTunes and Google Play.