When I saw him I fell down at his feet as though I were dead, but he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last, and the one who lives! I was dead, but look, now I am alive—forever and ever—and I hold the keys of death and of Hades!” Revelation 1.17-18

These were some of the first words of the Lord Jesus to the apostle John when, on the Lord’s day, he found himself in the Spirit. John had already registered a word from God the Father, that he was the Alpha and the Omega, in verse 8. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet; omega, the last. Continue reading

In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it. John 1.4-5

On earth, the sun makes life possible. Without it, everything would soon die. So we see the connection between light and life. In a similar way, as the light of God, Jesus brings life to man. This life is not physical, but spiritual and eternal.

Jesus as light shines in darkness. His light has the capacity of scattering the densest darkness. No person is unrecoverable. Jesus can save all. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven. NRSV translates the phrase, “of mankind,” as “of all people.” Nobody needs remain outside, excluded. Continue reading

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies, and the one who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

John 11.25-26 NET

That’s a good question for all of us, is it not? Living on the resurrection side of the Cross, we’re in a better position to appreciate the truth of Jesus’ declaration. Continue reading

My prayer for youFrom yesterday’s Bible reading, I borrow Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians, in order to make my own request to God for you. After all, no word, no prayer, is better than one from Scripture:

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 1.11-12 ESV Continue reading

Repent for LifeEvangelicals tout faith only. We speak often and much, necessarily, of baptism. Nobody pays much mind to repentance.

When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God. They said, “We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.”
Acts 11.18 NLT Continue reading

CourageAmong human powers, one rises only to fall shortly thereafter. This is especially clear in dictators like Kadhafi, who yesterday toppled the previous head of Libya in order to exercise complete power and oppress his own people, but today was toppled by rebels. There is one, however, who has defeated his enemy to never again be challenged.

[Christ] has broken the power of death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!
2 Timothy 1:10 NET Continue reading

lazarus come forthThey say that shouting solves nothing, that it only worsens things. So they say. And they’d not be far from the truth. But we have the Shout of Ipiranga, of Brazilian Independence, to go against this piece of popular wisdom. And the Shout of Bethany.

When he had said this, he shouted in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44  The one who had died came out, …
John 11.43-44a, NET

The act was the Word. The word in itself made Lazarus come back to life. Divine power contained in a pronouncement, in an order, in a shout!

Rhetorically, shouting gives emphasis, raises the term above the common conversation, highlights the proclamation among other sayings.

Jesus didn’t need to shout. He could have whispered, with the same effect. But the solemnity of the moment deserved an emphasis on the re-creation of life.

Which reminds us of the promise of the Shout of the Last Day, when all will be raised from the dead (1 Thes 4.16).

 

We mark the great passages of life with solemn ceremonies or happy celebrations. Birthdays, high school and college graduations, weddings, wedding anniversaries, promotions, retirements. These are important moments that deserve to be noted and celebrated. A passage of life that ought to happen to all, however, is experienced by few, and this because people refuse it.

I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears my message and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life.
John 5.24 NET

The people of this world do not even recognize that a passage exists from death to life. They call death-dealing practices enjoying life. They think that immorality and perversity mean possessing life. They are dead in their sins.

Jesus guaranteed the passage and the bridge. Life is knowing the Father, receiving from him the new birth into the divine family.

The bridge is faith, a word which captures the whole human response to the Creator’s goodness. It includes repentance and immersion in water as the dividing line between darkness and light, death and life, between condemnation and cleansing from sin (see Acts 2:38).

Faith means assuming the Lordship of Christ, the paternity of the eternal Father, the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

Faith means confessing total dependence upon God, fulfilling the divine project on earth, putting oneself at the disposal of the Lord every minute of the day.

Faith starts and ends by hearing the word of Christ.

Passing a test, graduating from college will not, in the end, make much difference. Celebrations, weddings, promotions are things indifferent in themselves. But not passing from death to life brings eternal suffering, inexistinguishable regret.

Have you passed over from death to life?