I am the Resurrection and the Life
Sharon W. Betters
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? (John 11:25-26).
Each woman of the resurrection, whether standing at the Cross or standing afar off was a follower of Jesus. Each one had a tender, personal connection. Though we have focused on women who Jesus healed, I suspect that even those women followed Him not because of the physical healing but the genuine love and acceptance He extended to each of them. As they watched Jesus dying, each one probably tried to remember poignant, potent words spoken by their Lord, words to help them understand what they were witnessing. Mary and Martha loved Jesus before He raised Lazarus from the dead. Each time we see them interacting with Him, He teaches not only them but us another insight into what following Him means. I suspect that as they stood afar off from the Cross, these personal moments flashed through their hearts as they tried to remember His words and how they could comfort them in this tragic, horrific event. I bet His declaration to Martha that He is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25-26) rang in her ears, causing more confusion than comfort.
Because of the Cross and the resurrection of Jesus, God’s character in us frees us to reflect His love and faithfulness despite our circumstances. Understanding our identity as children of God motivates and energizes us to become His promise keepers as we offer courage, hope, and confidence based on who we are in Christ. After the resurrection, it’s not hard to believe all of Jesus’ words about who we are in Him helped equip them to know how to reflect on their identity as His people:
The salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13)
The light of the world (Matthew 5:14)
Children of God (John 1:12)
Christ’s friends (John 15:15)
Can you understand how these truths spoken by Jesus guided the lives of His followers in the aftermath of the crucifixion and His resurrection? How can they equip us to show by our behavior our identity as children of God?
Because of who our Father is and because of the riches of our inheritance, we always have something to offer to others. The woman with physical disabilities can know she is not limited in her ability to serve God. The wife who grieves every month when her body tells her she is not pregnant can choose to display God’s character in her sorrow because her identity is in being His maidservant, not in being a mother. A Christian widow can know that her life does not end when her husband’s does because she can learn new ways of responding to her redemption. The woman who loses her job can work through her options with confidence because she knows that where ever God places her is her own specially assigned mission field.
Each of us can offer scriptural encouragement from the wellspring of the comfort God gives to us.
I cannot write these words without hearing the protests from women with broken hearts as well as the whispers from my own heart, “Sharon, this is so hard, and these words make it sound so easy.”
I share the anguish and struggle. Every morning when I awake, I express the same protests as I reread the headline in my soul: ”Mark is gone.” But God’s indwelling Spirit gives me supernatural power moment by moment to choose submission to God, to reflect my identity as His child, and to seek His kingdom and His righteousness through obedience (Matthew 6:33).
I am learning that tearful disappointments do not mean God is absent but that He is walking in the fire with me. The future may change how I wait on Him, but it cannot change who He is, how much He loves me, or my calling to serve Him. Please listen to my words; they are still hot from the refiner’s fire: Circumstances do not change who you are. Your primary calling is to reflect the character and nature of God. Whether you are experiencing pain or prosperity, you have many treasures to offer people. When God calls you to offer the treasures of your inheritance, you are on holy ground. He is doing “soul work” and He is giving you the privilege of fulfilling His promises in a needy heart. This is grace. (Excerpts from Treasures of Encouragement, Sharon W. Betters, Women Helping Women, pages 37. Used with permission from P&R Publishing).
Jesus, thank you that no matter where we go, what we do, our identity is in You. We are your daughters. And because I am your beloved daughter, nothing can break your bond with me.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sharon W. Betters is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, pastor’s wife, and cofounder of MARKINC Ministries, where she is the Director of Resource Development. Sharon is the author of several books, including Treasures of Encouragement, Treasures in Darkness, and co-author with Susan Hunt of Aging with Grace. She is the co-host of the Help & Hope podcast and writes Daily Treasure, an online devotional.
For more from Daily Treasure please visit MARKINC.ORG.