Worship with Us This Sunday - 10:15 a.m.
There are many books in my library. There are likely only a few where I find myself agreeing with “everything” from Forward to Afterword. Rather than not read books I might find disagreeable, I often will read to sharpen my own understanding – and where necessary be challenged to learn and grow. Many however prefer to shut down discussion by describing a “for everyone” position. If you do not adopt that evaluation then you find yourself marked as outside the pale, and outside orthodoxy for many.
What would it mean for us to read on past Jesus’s words, “I am the Resurrection,” to Mary in the conversation prior to the raising of Lazarus in John 11? There we would find, “and the Life.” Now, we may well think that “and the life” pertains to life after the Resurrection of the Dead. Except, we would need to consider John 12 to be really pointing beyond this life to another – a stretch by anyones allegorical standard.
No, Lazarus is presented as “dead no more” and being party to a party at his own house in John 12. There is the “life.” Could Jesus be saying something about life now experiencing the “Resurrection” realities before our bodies see death? Pastor Rob Bell, for all of the controversy surrounding his most recent book, pressed the point that life in Jesus is Good News “right here, right now.” Jesus said, “And the Life.”
We may offer a form of Good News filled with our best speculations of Heaven. What Jesus calls us to is to offer the present realities of the Kingdom that give greater vision to our speculations. In other words, without living our lives the way Jesus would were he us, the world is left to its own speculations about what life in the Kingdom of God would look like be it right here right now, or someday somewhere.
The Apostle Paul noted that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God in the Resurrection. Jesus said he was the Resurrection and the Life. There must be something to that right here, right now. And for pressing us to think that way, even in a most provocative way, we cannot fault Bell . . . or Jesus.
(How would you put this passage together with the Ezekiel passage for a “right here, right now” understanding of “and the Life?”