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him we are instructed in the course which we should keep, so as to walk both safely to ourselves and usefully to others. Without him, there is no light in us. Our way is error, and our end destruction.
11. These things said he : and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth ; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 2
12. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
13. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death : but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
14. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
15. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless, let us go unto him.
16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
Thomas said this, not knowing what he said : not perceiving that it needed more of divine grace than had yet been bestowed on himself or his brethren, to be faithful unto death. But it was a good thought, and arose from a proper feeling. Let us also go, that we may die with him. The friend who has directed us, and given us sweet counsel ; the master who has instructed us, who has “the words of eternal life;"—if he is resolved to persevere in the path of duty to the end, and that end the grave :—let us also go, that we may die with him, and at least show our love and faithfulness, if we cannot prevent the malice of his enemies.
2 The verb which signifies to sleep, was commonly used in Greek for to be dead. So, (1 Thess. iv. 15,) “ They that are alive at the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them that are asleep :" i. e. have died before.
3 That is, the Twin.
In one sense, though not in the sense intended by the apostle, we are all required to make a like resolve. Jesus set his face steadily to go to Bethany, though well aware, that it was the step between him and death. The miracle which he should perform there would excite the Jews still more violently against hirn, and his death would quickly ensue. His hour was come, the twelfth hour of his day : and he went in perfect foreknowledge 66 what death he should die.” God had committed to him a work : and “ how was he straitened till it was accomplished ?” This work was the satisfaction for sin. “ In that he died, he died unto sin.”
We too have a work before us, in the accomplishment of which our safety rests. Our work is the mortification of sin. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” This, therefore, is the object which demands our resolution. Let us also go; go in our hearts and minds to the contemplation of his cross, that we may die with him unto sin.
" It is a faithful saying, If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him : if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him.”
Therefore reckon ye your
selves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”3
JESUS DESCRIBES HIMSELF TO MARTHA AS
THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.
JOHN xi. 17-27.
17. Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.
18. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off :
19. And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
21. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
22. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
23. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24. Martha said unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
3 2 Tim. ii, 11, 12. Rom. vi. 8-ll.
25. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Martha here expresses her confident assurance, that her brother should rise again. Such was the belief of all among the Jewish people who rightly interpreted the Scriptures, though it was left for Christ himself to declare in plain terms, that “ all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth ; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” It was left for him to bring life and immortality to clear light, which could not be concealed. Still the obedience of Abraham, the self-denial of Moses, the courage of Daniel, the faithfulness of Isaiah, of Jeremiah, of the many prophets whose blood cried out against Jerusalem, prove sufficiently that these all felt confident that they should “ attain a better resurrection.” Martha, therefore, spoke the sentiments of all the best and most pious among her countrymen, when she declared her full assurance that her brother should rise again. Martha too had already heard the same truth affirmed by her beloved Lord, as the foundation of all he did and taught : as the reason of his coming into the world : namely, that “ we must all stand before the judgment seat of God, to receive according to the things done in the body, whether they be good or bad.” Therefore Martha had no hesitation in saying, I know that he shall rise again at the last day.
1 John v. 28, 29.
Jesus, however, now discloses to her a mystery which she could not yet fully comprehend; and tells her to associate with himself every idea she might conceive of the resurrection. She had believed in a life to come. She had believed, that Abel was not allowed to be a loser, and forfeit all existence,
“ because by faith he offered a better sacrifice than Cain," and fell by his vengeance. She had believed that Enoch, when taken of God, had been taken not to death, but to life : she had believed that God, when he was distinguished as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was the God of them still living, and not having ceased to be: she had believed also the words of Christ, when he had warned her to “ labour not for the meat that perisheth, but that which endureth unto everlasting life.” But she was now taught a further lesson.
She was instructed never to think of everlasting life, except as connected with Christ as its author ; who alone will be the cause, if the future world be a blessing to any soul of man. He is the resurrection and the life: he is “ the second Adam, the Lord from heaven. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Martha could as yet know this but imperfectly. The scheme of man's redemption was not yet fully disclosed. And even now that it is fulfilled, and plainly revealed, how common is it, and how dis