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The Message of John (Lesson 17)
The Resurrection and the Life | John 11:25
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me will live, even though he dies.”
John 11 describes one of the most undeniably miraculous events in Jesus' ministry: the resurrection of Lazarus.
The chapter begins with Jesus receiving news that Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, is gravely ill. The sisters send word to Jesus, hoping that he would come and heal Lazarus. However, Jesus delays his visit, explaining that Lazarus' illness is "for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it" (John 11:4). When Jesus finally arrives, Lazarus has been dead for four days, and his body is in a tomb. This sets the stage for one of the most remarkable moments in the New Testament.
When Jesus meets Martha, she is mourning the loss of her brother and expresses her belief that Jesus could have saved Lazarus if he’d arrived earlier. In response, Jesus says that her brother will rise again, to which Martha affirms her belief in the resurrection of the dead on the last day. This is when Jesus makes his famous declaration, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die" (John 11:25).
First, Jesus identifies himself as "the resurrection." This statement is not just an affirmation of his power to be raised from the dead, but a claim to have the power to raise you and me from the dead, too. For those in Christ, death is not the end. It’s a glorious new beginning.
Second, Jesus identifies himself as "the life," which is a claim to be the source of life. We not only owe our physical lives to Jesus as Creator but also our eternal life to Jesus as Savior.
Jesus says, "Whoever believes in me will never die." Even when our present bodies give way to death, we not only will continue to exist but will be raised in perfection in the presence of God’s joy forever (see Psalm 16:11).
As with each of Jesus’ “I am” statements, the images of life and resurrection are rooted in the Old Testament.
While the concept of resurrection in the Old Testament is not fully developed and the understanding of it is limited, the expectation of resurrection is clearly established (e.g., Deuteronomy 32:39, Psalm 16:10).
For example, in the book of Isaiah, it is prophesied that the dead will be raised (26:19), and in the book of Daniel, it is prophesied that “multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).
The way to be one who awakes to everlasting life is to rest in Jesus’ substitutionary death as the one who died on a cross for the contempt (penalty) we deserve for our sins.
With Jesus as our crucified sin-bearer died who was raised from the dead, we have confidence that this life is not the end for those who die in Christ.
It’s a new beginning.
Because Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
What would you have thought if you’d been there to witness Lazarus walking out of his tomb?
What does Martha’s faith that Lazarus could have been saved if Jesus had arrived earlier reveal about her understanding of Jesus' power?
What if we had the same faith in the power of Jesus?
How does Jesus raising of Lazarus display his deity and authority?
How is Jesus’ resurrection make Christianity unique among world religions?
How does Jesus' promise of eternal life through belief in him provide comfort and hope to believers?
How do you think Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are related?
Dear Father in heaven,
Thank you for sending Jesus to be the resurrection and the life.
Help us to rest in Jesus as our sin-bearer and trust in his promise of resurrection and eternal life.
May we find comfort and hope in the assurance that death is not the end and that we will be raised with him on the last day.
We pray this in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
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