I Am The Resurrection And The Life
John 11:23-28 "Your brother will rise again," Jesus told her. (24) Martha said, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." (25) Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. (26) Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die--ever. Do you believe this?" (27) "Yes, Lord," she told Him, "I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world." (28) Having said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, saying in private, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you."
Jesus tells Martha that Lazarus will rise from the dead, and then demonstrates it later. Lazarus’s resurrection is thus a prefiguring of the resurrection of Christ and later of believers.
When Jesus says: “Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever” He is not meaning that Christians will not die physically. This is evident because:
For Christians the body dies, but the soul lives on – in a conscious state, which we discussed at length in the previous Eternity –DBS on Lazarus’ “sleep”. The Christian finds himself or herself fully alive and in the presence of God, even though the body has passed on.
Faith in Jesus also ensures our participation in the resurrection where our bodies will be raised, glorified and transformed into imperishable, immortal and spiritual bodies. (1 Corinthians 15)
John is telling us that Jesus is the source of real eternal life. It is connection to Christ that transforms us, resurrects us and enlivens us.
The resurrection makes us into angel-like immortals - who do not have to procreate to preserve the species:
Luke 20:34-36 Jesus told them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. (35) But those who are counted worthy to take part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. (36) For they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are sons of God, since they are sons of the resurrection.
The resurrected ones “cannot die anymore” as they are sons of the God who is eternal, immortal and deathless.
Our qualification for the resurrection is not wealth or talent but faith in Christ: “The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. (26) Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever.”
Life is not merely biological and earthly; it is deeply spiritual and heavenly. We sense this when we admire a rose, we intuitively know the life and beauty in the rose comes from something beyond the rose. Life is spiritual and eternal and for a while life takes on a biological form, which it can then express itself its unique life characteristics in, or leave behind and return to eternity. We see this in the Jesus cycle of pre-existence, incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension and glorification. The life of Christ always was, and always will be, but for 33 years, was biological. That is the nature of eternal life.
Martha captures this eternal nature of life and pre-existence in her confession of faith: "Yes, Lord," she told Him, "I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."
The phrase: “who was to come into the world." Naturally implies that Jesus pre-existed, and then came into the world, and the phrase “son of God” implies His eternal nature and thus that He would go back to Heaven where He truly belonged.
If believers will truly rise again, and if life is not merely biological, then this has huge implications for the way we live now. It makes our eternal reward to be of ultimate importance. It also makes present physical comfort of minor importance. We will leave this body behind. It will be like the 33 years of Christ compared to His entire eternal existence. Yet what we do in the body is not unimportant!
2 Corinthians 5:6-10 Therefore, though we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord-- (7) for we walk by faith, not by sight-- (8) yet we are confident and satisfied to be out of the body and at home with the Lord. (9) Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him. (10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad.
Thus what we do “in the body” has consequences when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ. The temporal and the eternal connect in the act of judgment. Yet while the body is important, while we are in it we are “away from the Lord” because “flesh and blood does not inherit the Kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable”. (1 Corinthians 15:50)
Our death ushers us into a far greater presence of God. So much so that “we are confident and satisfied to be out of the body and at home with the Lord.” Thus, as eternal beings, who will inherit Heaven and know the resurrection and the life we should adopt Paul’s injunction: “whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him.”