I am the Resurrection and the Life. Those who believe in me even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? (John 11: 25 & 26)
This is the fifth of the seven “I am” sayings of Jesus in the gospel according to St. John otherwise known as the seven revelation statements of Jesus. Jesus revealed himself as the bread of life, the light of the world, the gate, the good Shepherd, the resurrection and the Life, the Way, the truth and the life and finally the True Vine.
What does Jesus mean when he said “I am the Resurrection and the Life?”
Lazarus was dead. Earlier Jesus had heard that His good friend was sick, but instead of going to visit Lazarus, Jesus stayed where he was for two more days (John 11: 6). He explained to his puzzled disciples that the sickness was “for God’s glory, that the son may be glorified through it” (John 11: 4).
After Lazarus died, Jesus began a journey to Bethany, Lazarus’s home. Significantly, when Jesus informed His disciples that Lazarus was dead. He simply said His friend was asleep, but “I am going there to wake him up” (John 11: 11).
Outside Bethany, Lazarus’s sister Martha went out to meet Jesus “If you had been here” she said “my brother would not have died” such was her faith in Jesus power to heal. Jesus assured Martha that her brother would rise again. Martha responded again in faith: “I know that my brother will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” At this point, Jesus makes His fifth “ I am” statement in the gospel according to John “I am the resurrection and the Life” and He followed it up with a call to faith “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11: 21 – 26).
When Jesus said “I am the Resurrection and the life, He was claiming to be the source of both. There is no resurrection apart from Christ and there is no eternal life apart from Christ. Beyond that, Jesus was also making a statement concerning His Divine nature.
He does more than give life. He is life therefore death has no ultimate power over Him. Jesus confers His spiritual life on those who believe in Him, so that they share His triumph over death (1 John 5: 11-12). Believers in Jesus will experience resurrection because having the life Jesus gives, it is impossible for death to defeat them. (1 Corinthians 15: 53-57).
The grieving Martha wished that Jesus had arrived earlier so He could have healed her brother, and when Jesus spoke of resurrection, Martha assumed He was speaking of “resurrection at the last day”. In both statements, Martha reveals that she considered time an insurmountable obstacle. In effect Martha was saying it is too late to help Lazarus (the time is past) we must wait till the “last day”.
Jesus shows that neither death nor time is an obstacle to Him. Outside the tomb, Jesus called in a loud voice “Lazarus come forth” The dead man came out (John 11: 43).
It is one thing to claim to be the resurrection and the life but Jesus proved this by raising Lazarus who was four days dead. Truly, with Christ, death is but “a sleep” (1 Thess. 4: 13). Death has no dominion over Him who is life itself nor does death have dominion over those who are in Him (1 Cor. 15: 54-55). Because He lives, we live. Because He is life, we have life eternally.
After presenting Himself as the Resurrection and the Life, Jesus asked Martha an all important question. “Do you believe this?” (John 11: 26). May Martha’s answer be ours as well “Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the son of God who was to come into the world” (John 11: 27).