“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. Believest thou this?”—John 11:25, 26
Pause my soul, over those divine, those glorious, those soul-quickening, soul-reviving words of thy Almighty Redeemer! What man, what prophet, what servant of the Lord, what angel but he that is the angel of the covenant, one with the Father, over all, God, blessed for ever, could assume such a language, and prove that assumption as Jesus did, both by his own resurrection and that of Lazarus? And mark, my soul, the many precious things contained in this sweet scripture. Observe the blessing itself, even resurrection and life. Observe the source, the author, the fountain of it. Jesus, thy Jesus. Observe for whom this stupendous mercy is designed, and to whom conveyed; namely, the dead in trespasses and sins, and for the dying languishing frames of believers. And lastly, observe how absolute the thing itself is; they shall live. Oh precious words of a most precious Saviour! And may I not say to thee, my soul, as Jesus did to Mary, after proclaiming himself under this glorious distinction of character; “Believest thou this?” Canst thou answer as she did, “Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world?” This is a blessed confession to witness before God. For if I believe that Jesus be indeed the Christ of God, every other difficulty is removed to the firm belief that, as the Father hath life in himself, even so hath the Son life in himself, and whom he will he quickeneth. Witness then for me, every looker on, angels and men, that my soul heartily, cordially, fully subscribes to the same precious truth, and in the same language as Mary. Yea, Lord, I would say to every word of thine concerning thy sovereignty, grace, and love, as thou hast said it, so I accept it; in the very words of thine I take it, and cry out, yea, Lord, even so be it unto me according to thy word. And now, my soul, under all remaining seasons of deadness, coldness, backslidings, wanderings, and the like, never henceforth forget, from whom all revivals can only come. Never look within for them; for there is no power of resurrection in thyself. “Can these dry bones live?” Yes, if Jesus quickens. And is Jesus less able to quicken thee than thy connexion with Adam to have killed thee? Oh how plain is it, that the very wants of the soul correspond to the very fulness of Jesus to answer them. And therefore, when the Lord Jesus saith, “I am the resurrection and the life,” he comes to seek employment in this glorious character, to quicken the dead and revive the living. Oh Lord, give me to hear thy blessed voice this day, and my soul shall live, and live to praise thee.
Robert Hawker (1753-1827) was an Anglican (High-Calvinist) preacher who served as Vicar of Charles Church, Plymouth. John Hazelton wrote of him:
“The prominent features…in Robert Hawker's testimony…was the Person of Christ….Dr. Hawker delighted to speak of his Lord as "My most glorious Christ.” What anxious heart but finds at times in the perusal of the doctor's writings a measure of relief, a softening, and a mellowing? an almost imperceptible yet secret and constraining power in leading out of self and off from the misery and bondage of the flesh into a contemplation of the Person and preciousness of Christ as "the chiefest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely." Christ and Him crucified was emphatically the burden of his song and the keynote of his ministry. He preached his last sermon in Charles Church on March 18th, 1827, and on April 6th he died, after being six years curate and forty-three years vicar of the parish. On the last day of his life he repeated a part of Ephesians 1, from the 6th to the 12th verses, and as he proceeded he enlarged on the verses, but dwelt more fully on these words: "To the praise of His glory Who first trusted in Christ." He paused and asked, "Who first trusted in Christ?" And then made this answer: "It was God the Father Who first trusted in Christ."