READ: Job 37-39, Psalm 12, John 5, Revelation 13
In John 5 Jesus establishes His credentials. He makes Himself equal with God (v. 18), declares He can give life to whom He will (v.21), asserts that all judgment is given to Him (v. 22), demands that all should honor Him (v.23), and proclaims that He has life in Himself (v.26). Upon these assertions Jesus then announces: “The dead will hear my voice and live…The hour is coming when all who are in the graves will hear [My] voice and come forth” (v.25, 28, 29).
Living in the Arab World does wonders for faith. I have just come back from Mexico where hundreds of South Americans filled an auditorium and flooded the air with exuberant praise and prayer. Rapturous worship ascended to the heavens. I stepped off the plane into a Muslim city of 25 million and wonder if the Arab praise will ever rival that of their Latino brothers and sisters. And Jesus assures us it will.
We now see only a painful trickle of Arab Muslims into the Kingdom. The work is so slow, the ground so resistant, the enemies so organized. Death tightly holds on to its victims. Jesus sees the immanent hour we can hardly believe will happen–when Arab Muslims will hear His voice, rise from the bondage and chains of Islam, come forth, and live! Our reality now is backbreaking labor for unsteady fruit, our soon-to-be-future is abundant harvest, net-breaking fish, more Arab Muslims flooding into the Kingdom than we know how to deal with. Men and women coming in groups, morning and night, hungry for Jesus, desperate for the Bible, longing to be discipled.
John 5 in context refers to a physical resurrection, but the principle involved is that Jesus is God and has the power to bring life from the dead. Jesus resurrects dead dreams, dead relationships, dead hopes, and dead longings. Jesus has the ability to take that which the enemy has crushed and breath it back into God-filled shape. When we walk by cemeteries, they should make us a little excited; think of the living that will burst forth from some of those earth beds in glory! When we walk in Muslim cities, something in our spine should tingle; think of the men and women Jesus is going to call into life. These living dead will hear His voice and they will rise to live. Jesus will call them out of the deadness of Islam and into the glorious liberty of being sons and daughters of God. And because God’s heart is great and generous, it will not be a few; God will call millions of Muslims to life.
If all things were easy and possible, God would be redundant. God by definition requires impossibilities. Bringing the dead to life? Easy for God. Just about to happen, too.