You've probably heard a lot of outrageous claims about products before. "One formula removes every stain!" "Best television show of the decade!" "Never experience bad breath again!" "This product changed my life!" We hear outrageous claims so often we desensitize ourselves to all sorts of advertising and promises, because so few of them hold up to their promises.
Jesus Christ made some pretty bold declarations as well. He claimed to be the Son of God, he claimed to be the promised Messiah (Christ) prophesied about in the Old Testament, he claimed to have power over death, and he claimed to knowingly offering himself on the cross in order to accomplish payment of the penalty of my sin and yours. His claims were so marvelous that people weren't sure what to think about him all the time — but his miraculous works matched his promises. Jesus wasn't the first or last person to make over-the-top religious assertions, but he was the only one to back them up.
John 11 records the encounter of Jesus and his friends, Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Lazarus had died after a brief but severe illness and by the time Jesus arrived at their town, the body had been entombed four days already. Mary and Martha met Jesus and questioned why Jesus wasn't able to be there to heal their brother before he died, but Jesus promised that her brother would live again. Martha assumes that Jesus is assuring her that Lazarus will be in heaven, but Jesus makes a powerful assertion in verses 25,26: "Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"" At this point, Martha affirms her faith in Jesus' identity as the Christ, but Jesus wasn't going to let this claim go without backing it up. After walking over to the tomb encasing Lazarus' body, Jesus prayed a brief prayer to his father and called the dead man back to life, intending to solidify his identity as God's Son the Savior to everyone who had come out to watch (vs. 42,45).
Just two weeks later, Jesus was put to death on a cross and enemies and doubters alike assumed that was the end of Jesus and his outrageous claims of being the Prince of Life and holding power over sin and death, but Jesus' own resurrection from the dead served as undeniable evidence that Jesus is exactly who he claimed to be, and can do everything he said he could. Over the years, there have been many world religions that have made claims and prophesies and offered ideas and opinions, but no religious leader even pretended to possess the power of life. Jesus was raised as evidence for us to confidently trust his claims that he is our Savior who died in our place, offering forgiveness and payment of sin before his Father on behalf of anyone who trusts in him.
This Easter, let the promises and evidence of Jesus' resurrection give you security in his identity as the Savior and confidence in his ability to prepare you for eternity.