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in pain, in sorrow, in persecution, at the Lamb of God, and pray, brethren, that you, under your trials, your cross and sufferings, may have some portion of the same mind that was in Christ Jesus!
JOHN, xi. 25, 26.
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
THESE words were spoken by our Lord to Martha, the sister of Lazarus, at a time when she believed her beloved brother to be dead. She had sent to Jesus on his illness, imploring Him to come. But the Lord had not come, and Lazarus had died; and now, when at length He arrived at Bethany, and it was told Martha, she went out to meet Him, and accosted Him with words of half reproach; as if, by His coming sooner, He might have saved her from her great sorrow-Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died! It does not seem that Martha had expected any greater help from Christ than the power to raise her brother from his sickness; for when He answered her touching words with the assurance
that Lazarus should rise again, she replied, as if that resurrection could only be at some far-distant time, and not so as to bring comfort to her present grief,—I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
Then it was that our Lord spoke the great words that are before us--words that our Church has so well placed foremost in her Order for the Burial of the Dead. I am the resurrection, and the life he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die!
Now what is it which these words lay claim to? They claim for Jesus Christ the sovereign power over death: they claim for Him the power of giving life out of Himself to whom He pleases.
And that claim was made good, more than once, during His stay on earth. It was made good in the case of this very Lazarus. The Lord desired to see the place of his interment. Where have ye laid him? They said unto Him, Come and see. Then all went, weeping together, to the grave. When they came there, Jesus ordered the stone that covered the sepulchre to be removed. Martha objected, lest the sight to be disclosed should be too painful, too harrowing. Her objection was put aside by the Lord-Said
I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
And they did see that glory. At the voice of Christ, and after His prayer to His Father, Lazarus came forth-the grave gave up its dead: Jesus Christ showed Himself to be the resurrection and the life!
That was one and an immediate proof of the truth of His words. Other proofs are supplied by the raising of Jairus's daughter and the widow's son at Nain. But the greatest proof of all, perhaps, is that which is furnished by the great event which we commemorate this Easter Day. The power of Christ over the grave is best witnessed to by His own resurrection. He had been put to a horrible and cruel death. He had been taken down a lifeless corpse from the cross, and laid by Joseph of Arimathæa in his new tomb. The chief priests, to guard against any possible fulfilment of His words, After three days I will rise again, had requested and received permission to set a band of soldiers to watch the tomb. They had, moreover, sealed the tomb, and done all that could be devised to make it secure, But for all this, what happened? happened as on this very day? In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other
Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake; for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow; and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. These trembling keepers saw not the Lord Himself. They saw
but the empty tomb, and the heavenly messenger who said that He was alive. Others, indeed, saw the risen Saviour: for more than forty days He went in and out amongst His followers, eating with them-instructing them-working miracles for them-giving every proof that He was alive— and then, in the sight of a large company, He left the world for the place from whence He came. He ascended to His God and our God, to reign at God's right hand in heaven, till all that oppose Him be put down!
It was then, by His own resurrection, that Jesus Christ most effectually overcame death. He had said, while He was yet alive-Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. He had said, speaking of His life-No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again and now, as on this day, His words were proved true. By virtue of that power, that