Participants: Charles Byrd (Host), Andrea Endries, Levi Longoria, Stephen Fowler
Series Code: THL
Program Code: THL000016
00:01 I just don't like them, funerals.
00:05 There's a lot of humor on TV about funerals,
00:07 but when it's your child,
00:09 when it's your spouse, or your parents,
00:12 it does something bad to your insides.
00:15 155,000 people die everyday on this planet.
00:20 And at best that's just a statistic.
00:22 But at its worse, it's someone you know, someone you love.
00:27 It's something that hurts.
00:29 So what happens when a person dies?
00:32 Is this just the end of the line as evolution teaches?
00:36 Or is the grave as most suggest
00:39 just a doorway that leads to a new reality?
00:43 On this point, Jesus' teachings
00:45 are a giant thunderbolt of confusion and contradiction,
00:49 to almost every form of religion
00:52 that's out there, including Christianity.
01:48 When it comes to the subject of death,
01:50 the teachings of Jesus do not start in the four gospels.
01:55 They start in the Book of Genesis.
01:58 In John 1:3, the last of Christ's twelve disciples
02:02 makes this bold statement.
02:04 "All things were made by Him,
02:06 and without Him was not any thing made that was made."
02:11 In other words, Jesus was the creator God.
02:15 The apostle Paul wrote the same message
02:17 to the believers in Ephesus.
02:19 Ephesians 3:9 says,
02:21 "God, who created all things by Jesus Christ."
02:26 John plainly stated, "The world was made by Him."
02:30 John 1:10.
02:32 "For by Him," that is by Jesus
02:35 "were all things created, that are in heaven,
02:37 and that are in earth, visible and invisible,
02:41 whether they be thrones, or dominions,
02:43 or principalities, or powers,
02:45 all things were created by Him, and for Him.
02:50 And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist."
02:57 So back in the Book of Genesis 2:17,
03:01 the creator God in love for His new creation,
03:04 warned our first parents not to eat of the tree
03:07 of the knowledge of good and evil.
03:10 "But of the tree of the knowledge
03:11 of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it,
03:15 for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
03:20 The key word here is die, not live.
03:26 In this verse, God is either telling the truth
03:29 or telling a lie.
03:31 He either means what He says
03:32 or His words have no meaning at all.
03:36 In Genesis 3:4,
03:37 we find the serpent sitting in this very tree
03:39 of the knowledge of good and evil.
03:42 This interloper encourages our first mother
03:45 to eat of the forbidden fruit.
03:47 She knows she should not eat or even touch it.
03:50 And she knows the consequence of doing so is death.
03:55 "But the serpent said unto the woman,
03:57 ye shall not surely die."
04:01 Hmm, creator says you will. Snake says you won't.
04:06 Today each of us has a choice.
04:08 We will either believe what the creator God says
04:11 or we will believe what Satan,
04:13 that old serpent, the devil, says.
04:16 From the dawning of time, the source of all love
04:19 and all truth has offered to us the truth about death.
04:23 And when Emmanuel, God with us,
04:26 came to this earth, He reiterated that truth.
04:30 So what was Jesus' disruptive doctrine about death?
04:35 Well, Charles, there's probably no better way
04:37 to see and understand the teachings of Jesus
04:40 about death than by examining
04:41 the story of Lazarus, here in Bethany.
04:44 Now we're on the way to his first tomb
04:46 and as we're headed there,
04:48 Andrea, why don't you get a start on this story?
04:49 Sure. This story starts in John Chapter 11.
04:53 "Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany,
04:57 the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
04:59 It was that Mary which anointed the Lord
05:01 with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair,
05:04 whose brother Lazarus was sick.
05:07 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying,
05:10 Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
05:14 When Jesus heard that, he said, this sickness is not unto death,
05:19 but for the glory of God,
05:21 that the Son of God might be glorified thereby."
05:26 So what do we know from these first, four verses?
05:29 Well, we know that Lazarus is sick.
05:32 And his sisters Mary and Martha
05:34 are sufficiently concerned to send a message to Jesus,
05:37 fully expecting Him to come and work
05:39 His healing powers on their brother.
05:41 The followers of Jesus believed that He had the prophetic gift.
05:45 And so Mary and Martha must have found some courage and hope
05:49 when Jesus said,
05:50 This sickness is not unto death."
05:53 But Jesus delayed His coming.
05:55 He did delay His coming
05:57 even though He loved Martha, her sister and Lazarus.
06:02 "When He had heard therefore that He was sick,
06:04 He abode two days in the same place where He was."
06:09 Then Jesus said to His disciples,
06:11 "Let's go back to Judea.
06:13 Our friend Lazarus sleepeth.
06:15 But I go, that I may awake him out of sleep."
06:18 Okay, what does sleep mean?
06:20 Here is where the teaching of Jesus
06:22 needs a complete reading on the text because
06:25 if you read the story in context it's absolutely clear.
06:30 An important principle in biblical study says,
06:32 "A text, without a context, is a pretext."
06:37 That is to say, you can take a single word
06:40 or even a single sentence and make it say almost anything.
06:44 So the context, the bigger picture can create a broader,
06:48 more complete understanding of the text.
06:51 Jesus said His friend Lazarus was sleeping.
06:55 So what's the context?
06:57 Well, the disciples thought, this was great.
07:00 They said, "Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
07:05 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death.
07:08 But they thought that he had spoken
07:10 of taking of a rest in sleep.
07:12 Then Jesus said unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead."
07:19 We often use colloquialisms to describe something's
07:21 that's difficult to talk about.
07:23 When referring to death,
07:25 we use words like crossing over or passing on.
07:27 But when Jesus used the word sleep to describe death,
07:31 He was deliberate in His intent.
07:32 For example, in Mathew Chapter 9,
07:34 Jesus came to the home of the ruler
07:35 of the synagogue in Capernaum.
07:37 His daughter had died.
07:39 And people had already gathered to mourn her passing.
07:41 "He said to them, 'Why make this commotion and weep?
07:44 The child is not dead, but sleeping.'
07:46 And they laughed Him to scorn."
07:48 They laughed at Jesus because they all knew she was dead.
07:51 But here again, Jesus calls death, sleep.
07:55 Death and sleep have some real similarities,
07:57 but the most notable
07:59 is the suspension of consciousness.
08:01 Eight hours can quickly pass by, but we are unaware
08:03 of our surroundings or lapse of time.
08:06 This was the same teaching of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 9:5,
08:10 "For the living know that they shall die,
08:12 but the dead know not any thing,
08:14 neither have they any more a reward,
08:16 for the memory of them is forgotten."
08:19 The word of God clearly states the dead don't know any thing.
08:23 Here in Israel, when you want to remember a departed loved one,
08:26 it is a custom to leave a stone on the grave.
08:28 It is a reminder to us, the living,
08:30 that we are not the only ones who have come to remember.
08:33 But for the person inside the grave,
08:35 it means absolutely nothing because they are asleep,
08:38 completely unconscious to the world around them.
08:41 Unfortunately, this restful truth
08:43 does not resonate with most people
08:45 on this planet, including Christians.
08:47 But whether we choose to accept it or not,
08:49 the truth is still the truth.
08:51 And death, being in an unconscious state of sleep
08:54 is the clear teaching of scripture.
08:56 In fact, 66 times the term sleep is used for death
08:59 in 17 different books of the Bible.
09:02 The same is true, in the case of Lazarus.
09:05 Jesus said Lazarus was asleep and He was going to wake Him up.
09:09 The disciples took Jesus literally.
09:11 He's sleeping let him rest.
09:13 "Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead."
09:18 Two small observations here before I move on.
09:20 Back in the day, they didn't have cell phones or email.
09:23 So how did Jesus know that Lazarus was dead?
09:26 The same way He knew that Lazarus's illness
09:28 would not ultimately end in death.
09:31 My second observation is that Jesus clearly understood
09:34 that Lazarus had died and so did every one else.
09:37 In fact, in the story of Lazarus in John Chapter 11,
09:40 it is categorically stated eight times
09:42 that Lazarus was dead.
09:44 And by the time Jesus had finally showed up,
09:47 Lazarus had been dead for four days.
09:51 Yes, it had been four days since Lazarus had died
09:53 when Jesus finally showed up here in Bethany.
09:56 And it would appear that Jesus was late.
10:00 But God's plans know no haste and no delay.
10:05 What appears to be our extremity
10:07 is God's opportunity to better showcase
10:11 His unlimited power and love for the human race.
10:15 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
10:17 she slipped out to meet Him.
10:19 And from the pain in her heart, she said,
10:22 "Lord, if you had been here, my brother had not died."
10:28 There was no recrimination in her words,
10:31 just disappointment and sadness.
10:34 But I think the next two verses reveal
10:37 why she could keep herself from going negative.
10:40 'Cause she knew, who she was talking to.
10:44 Absolutely, if you had been here,
10:47 my brother would not have died, she said.
10:50 "But I know, that even now,
10:52 whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee."
10:56 Martha knew she was talking to someone who wasn't limited.
10:59 And that was born out of the promise He made to her.
11:02 "Thy brother will rise again."
11:06 So here's Jesus' teaching on death,
11:09 just as sleep is temporary so death is also temporary
11:14 for those who love the Lord.
11:17 But Martha already knew that. She did.
11:20 Verse 24, "Martha saith unto Him,
11:23 I know he shall rise again
11:25 in the resurrection at the last day."
11:29 How did Martha know
11:31 about the resurrection of the last day?
11:34 And because she was also a disciple of Jesus
11:36 and she knew what Jesus taught on that subject.
11:38 And here's what He taught from Mark 12:26, 27,
11:43 "And as touching the dead, that they rise,
11:46 have ye not read in the book of Moses,
11:49 how in the bush God spake unto him,
11:51 saying, I am the God of Abraham,
11:53 and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
11:56 He is not the God of the dead,
11:58 but the God of the living, ye therefore do greatly err."
12:04 Jesus said there will be a time when the dead rise.
12:09 That's exactly what Jesus said in John 5: 28, 29.
12:13 He said, "Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming,
12:19 when all who are in the graves will hear his voice,
12:22 and will come forth, they that have done good,
12:25 unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil,
12:28 unto the resurrection of damnation."
12:32 Here Jesus expands our understanding
12:34 with one more insight.
12:36 Not only will there be a resurrection
12:38 when dead people will come back to life
12:40 or the sleeping people will be wakened.
12:42 There's actually going to be two resurrections.
12:45 Now we need to unpack that further,
12:46 but we're going to do that at another time.
12:49 The point we need to make here is that Jesus taught
12:52 there is something beyond death.
12:54 Indeed. And that something is called the resurrection.
12:57 Right. And didn't Paul refer to that as the blessed hope.
13:02 Yes, in his letter to Titus.
13:05 He said, "He was looking for that blessed hope,"
13:08 and he defined that as "the glorious appearing
13:11 of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ."
13:14 When the dead will be raised to life again.
13:17 Hey, there's the tomb.
13:21 In Mathew Chapter 21 and Luke Chapter 20,
13:23 the Bible makes it very clear
13:25 that Jesus definitively believed in
13:27 and taught the resurrection as one of His kingdom truths.
13:32 But He told Martha and He's telling us,
13:34 that the resurrection is not so much an event in the future.
13:38 The resurrection is a person.
13:42 "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection,
13:46 and the life, he that believeth in Me,
13:49 though he were dead, yet shall he live.
13:54 Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life,
13:59 no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me."
14:04 There is no resurrection and no life
14:07 and no way to get there, if you don't have Jesus.
14:11 And John 11:26, Jesus makes such a radical claim,
14:16 you must conclude that He is mad
14:19 or that He is opening up one of the most precious truths
14:22 about death, that we could ever embrace.
14:26 "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.
14:31 Do you believe this?"
14:34 Jesus asked Martha that question.
14:37 And He's asking us that question.
14:39 "Whoever lives and believes in Me, shall never die.
14:43 Do you believe this?"
14:46 Martha's answer was "Yea, Lord.
14:48 I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God,
14:51 which should come into the world.
14:54 She chose to say, yes, to the Lord's doctrines.
14:57 Yes, to His teachings, His truth.
15:01 Any one can make a foolish claim that has no basis in reality.
15:06 Martha, on the other hand,
15:07 based her faith on the reality of prophecy
15:11 that pointed directly to Jesus
15:13 and on the works that Jesus had already done.
15:16 The miracles he had wrought
15:18 that could never have been done in normal human strength.
15:23 In stark contrast to Martha's steady,
15:26 calculated faith is the blatant and willfully blind rejection
15:30 by the priests and the Pharisees of Christ's teachings on death.
15:35 The same truth that Christ shared
15:37 with Martha in John Chapter 11, He had already sought to share
15:40 with the Jewish leaders in John Chapter 8,
15:43 "Verily, verily, I say unto you,
15:45 if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
15:50 Then said the Jews unto Him,
15:52 Now we know that thou has a devil.
15:55 Abraham is dead, and the prophets
15:58 and thou sayest, if a man keep my saying,
16:00 he shall never taste of death.
16:03 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead?
16:06 And the prophets are dead, whom makest thou thyself?"
16:11 By asking their indignant question in verse 53,
16:15 are you greater than Abraham and the prophets?
16:18 Who do you think you are?
16:20 They are actually asking, are you greater than death?
16:25 Jesus had said if any man keep my saying,
16:28 he shall never see death.
16:30 Are you greater than death?
16:32 No human being had ever cheated death.
16:35 Even the great pillars of faith
16:37 Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,
16:38 David, Daniel, and Isaiah had all died.
16:42 So how could these words possibly be true?
16:47 The only one who could rescue mortal souls
16:50 from the grip of death would be the one who could create life.
16:54 Jesus claimed to be the resurrection and the life.
16:59 Either this is an idle claim or this is the truth.
17:03 Let's join Levi and Andrea at Lazarus' tomb,
17:06 as we seek to discover the truth
17:09 concerning this mighty doctrine and claim of Jesus.
17:14 Jesus taught it. And Martha believed it.
17:16 At the end of this world
17:18 there is gonna be a resurrection,
17:19 when all who are in their graves will
17:21 awake out of the sleep of death.
17:23 And today, we're standing here at Lazarus' first tomb
17:27 which stands as a monument, a living testament
17:30 to the truth and teachings of Jesus.
17:33 Hey, I'm gonna head on in.
17:38 I wonder what Jesus would have been feeling
17:41 as He stood here at this tomb.
17:45 You know, that's a great question, Levi.
17:47 Perhaps, the two most touching passages in John Chapter 11,
17:50 are the ones that show the feelings,
17:52 the emotions that were in Jesus' heart.
17:55 The first is verse 35, the shortest verse in the Bible.
17:59 "Jesus wept."
18:01 No one gets through this life without some pain,
18:03 without some tears.
18:06 We live in a world that war with God's law of love.
18:10 This war causes us great deal of pain, hurt, and loss.
18:14 Often the mind maybe clouded because of this pain.
18:17 When that happens, don't try to think.
18:20 Just cling to this one truth, Jesus loves you.
18:24 He understands your disorientation,
18:27 your weakness, and tears.
18:29 In such cases, you may do His will
18:32 by simply resting in His arms.
18:36 The second verse that opens our view
18:37 to the emotions of Jesus is verse 38,
18:41 "Jesus therefore again groaning in Himself cometh to the grave.
18:45 It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it."
18:48 Jesus understands our emotions.
18:51 He has tasted the saltiness and the bitterness of our tears.
18:54 He understands the feeling of loss, of pain.
18:59 But that day when Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus,
19:02 he was not weeping merely for Lazarus, Mary, or Martha.
19:06 He was weeping for the countless millions
19:08 who would never know the joy of the blessed hope
19:10 of the resurrection.
19:12 Jesus cares about every one.
19:14 Even those who choose to reject Him
19:17 and are finally lost forever.
19:19 He weeps for them.
19:22 When Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus,
19:23 "He said, Take away the stone.
19:26 Martha, the sister of him that was dead,
19:28 saith unto Him, Lord, by this time he stinketh,
19:32 for he hath been dead four days."
19:35 It may not be socially acceptable.
19:37 And it may not be politically correct.
19:39 But it's time to cooperate with Jesus.
19:42 When we obey His command and take away
19:43 the stone of indifference, of apathy, of disbelief.
19:47 When we are ready to be honest with Jesus and to the world,
19:50 to admit that our way stinks
19:51 and has led to the death of God's plan for our life,
19:55 the way is clear for Jesus
19:57 to create a miracle of new life in us.
20:00 "Jesus said to Martha, Said I not unto thee,
20:03 that, if thou wouldest believe,
20:04 thou shouldest see the glory of God?"
20:07 He wants us to see the glory and the power of God.
20:11 He wants to do miracles in our lives
20:12 so that we can believe.
20:15 I think the hardest job that we have is,
20:16 making the choice to let God, be God.
20:20 To believe what He says.
20:22 Jesus had already told Martha,
20:24 I am the resurrection and the life.
20:27 "Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life.
20:33 No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me."
20:38 Just as described in the Bible, the tomb of Lazarus is a cave.
20:41 And as such you have to go down 28 steps
20:44 to get to the bottom.
20:46 When Jesus came to the entrance of this tomb,
20:49 He fully intended to do a miracle.
20:51 He was going to show that He was indeed,
20:54 more powerful than death,
20:56 more powerful than our strongest fear.
21:00 Looks less like a cave now
21:01 since a crusader strengthened the tomb with masonry
21:04 which obscures most of the original rock surface.
21:07 But the cave and the structure isn't what's important here.
21:11 Here's where Jesus submitted humanity the ultimate proof,
21:14 second only to His own resurrection of His divinity.
21:18 Here He presents a crowning act, a living evidence,
21:22 that He is indeed the Son of God.
21:40 Okay, so you now have an idea of how far down
21:44 in the ground Lazarus was buried.
21:48 All right, Levi, what happens next?
21:50 John 11 says, "Then they took away
21:54 the stone from the place where the dead was laid.
21:57 And Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said,
22:00 Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
22:03 And I knew that thou hearest me always
22:05 but because of the people which stand by I said it,
22:08 that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
22:11 And when He thus had spoken, He cried out with a loud voice,
22:16 Lazarus, come forth."
22:19 With intense and painful interest,
22:21 all who were at the entrance were listening and watching,
22:24 for the evidence that would substantiate
22:26 His claim to be the Son of God.
22:28 They wanted to know if Jesus really did have
22:30 power over the grave.
22:33 The voice of Jesus was clear and penetrating.
22:36 It pierced the ear of the dead and sleeping Lazarus,
22:39 life sprang into the lifeless shell
22:41 of the man and he lived.
22:44 There's just one problem,
22:46 Lazarus was wrapped up like a mummy.
22:48 John 11:44 says, "He was bound hand
22:51 and foot with grave clothes
22:53 and his face was bound about with a napkin."
22:56 So the same power that gave Him life, picked him up,
23:00 and transported his once lived body,
23:03 out of the burial chamber and up the steps
23:06 and placed him at the entrance of the tomb.
23:15 No one likes the thought of death.
23:17 Placed in the ground to decompose
23:20 and that was never God's intention.
23:22 His desire is for us to live forever.
23:26 The teachings of Jesus make it absolutely clear,
23:29 how any one can escape their tomb
23:32 and live forever with Him.
23:35 In John 6:49-51, Jesus made it unmistakable,
23:40 that He is living bread.
23:42 If we want to live forever, we must eat that bread.
23:46 Jesus interprets what He means in verse 63,
23:49 "The words that I speak unto you,
23:51 they are spirit and they are life."
23:55 His words are life.
23:57 Many times we go through our day as a 'The walking dead.'
24:01 We maybe physically alive,
24:02 but spiritually and emotionally we're actually dead.
24:06 Jesus really emphasizes that point in John 5:24,
24:10 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word,
24:15 and believes on God that sent Me,
24:17 hath everlasting life,
24:20 and shall not come into condemnation,
24:22 but is passed from death unto life."
24:26 There's life in the word and no life outside the word.
24:44 Jesus also taught that just hearing
24:47 and believing His words isn't enough to escape death.
24:51 "Verily, verily, I say unto you,
24:54 if a man keep my sayings, he shall never see death."
24:58 Salvation is not just a mental ascent.
25:01 Salvation must also include doing what He says,
25:05 being obedient to His will, His love, love.
25:08 Saying, yes, to Him with every choice.
25:13 I believe it, Levi.
25:16 Starting in Genesis, the bible teaches
25:18 that life comes from God
25:20 and obedience to Him preserves that life.
25:23 If you disobey, you'll lose that life. You die.
25:27 In John 3:16, Jesus confirmed that teaching, that doctrine.
25:32 Now there are some Christians
25:34 who find this teaching so disruptive.
25:38 No, we have a soul that lives on,
25:41 a spirit consciousness that transcends death.
25:44 We go to heaven immediately when we die.
25:48 Often stated, but not biblical.
25:51 The three words translated in the Bible as immortal
25:55 are only used in the Bible in 16 verses.
25:59 Not once are they used to tell us
26:01 that a human soul is immortal.
26:04 In fact, they tell us the exact opposite.
26:09 Three verses tell us plainly that only God is immortal.
26:14 And here is the verse that is most clear.
26:16 It speaks to us of the Kings of kings
26:19 and Lord of lords, "Who only hath immortality."
26:24 So who are you gonna believe, God and His bible or Satan?
26:30 The serpent told Eve, "You won't die."
26:33 But the evidence shows that he was wrong, dead Wrong.
26:38 And that old snake is still tempting us to believe his lie.
26:44 So I've chosen to believe the clear teachings of Jesus.
26:48 There is life after death, but that will be
26:51 at the resurrection, at the last day.
26:54 That's what Jesus said in John 6:44,
26:57 "No man can come to me, except the Father
27:00 which hath sent me draw him,
27:02 and I will raise him up at the last day."
27:07 "Behold, I show you a mystery," writes Paul.
27:11 "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
27:15 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,
27:18 at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound,
27:22 and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,
27:25 and we shall be changed."
27:29 Lazarus's first tomb is empty,
27:31 proving Jesus has power over death and the tomb.
27:36 So who are you choosing to believe,
27:39 the truth or the one that has already
27:41 proven himself to be dead wrong?