“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)
Funerals are not normally a joyous occasion. It has been my experience that most of the time at a funeral, or visitation before a funeral it is mostly a somber occasion and family members are grieving the loss of a loved one and is not something that we look forward to being able to do. Most of the time at a funeral, family and friends will come to support the remaining family and pay their respect to the one that has passed, perhaps some will send food or flowers to the funeral home, and for the most part, it is a sad occasion as a loved one has passed, and we are left to suffer the loss of our beloved. In times of losing a loved one, it is difficult to see past the pain and loss that is before us, although the Scriptures remind us of the rewards that await those that are faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10). In John 11, Jesus comes to visit the family of Lazarus (one that Jesus loved; John 11:3), and as He arrives, He reminds the sisters of Lazarus of the resurrection. As we examine the “I am” statement found in John 11:25, we are given hope, as the end of this life is not the end, but there is a resurrection that will take place.
The occasion. John 11 begins by mentioning a man named Lazarus of Bethany, and his sisters Mary and Martha. These three were close friends with Jesus, and as Lazarus had become sick, his sisters sent word to Jesus. Perhaps they were sending word to Jesus because they believed He had the power to heal Lazarus of his sickness, we are not told the reasons why they sent word to Him, only that they sent word to Him, and after hearing of this news, Jesus stayed where He was for two days. After two days, Jesus tells His disciples, Lazarus was sleeping, and He would go to wake him from his sleep. The disciples thought Jesus was referring to rest that Lazarus was receiving but Jesus spoke of his death (John 11:6-14). When Jesus and His disciples arrived, they found Lazarus had been laid in the grave for four days. When Jesus meets with Martha, she begins to say to Jesus that if He had been present then Lazarus would not have died, but is sure whatever Jesus asks of God will happen (John 11:21-22). It is in this occasion that Jesus makes this “I am” statement, as He states, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).
The statement. As Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story” is that Jesus would call for Lazarus and he would come forth out of the grave after being dead four days (John 11:43) but let us notice the statement that was made by Jesus. What did Jesus mean when He stated, “I am the resurrection and the life”? Is there any significance to this statement as it applies to us or was Jesus simply referring to the raising of Lazarus? As it applies to Lazarus, Jesus was the cause of him being raised from the dead, and in this miracle, as with all of the miracles of Jesus, Jesus is proving He is the One sent from the Father, and if Lazarus would have his life restored it would be because of the power Jesus had over life and death, but there is more significance to this statement that what lies on the surface. When Jesus makes this statement, He is proclaiming His deity and the power that He has for all of mankind. Jesus is the “author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2) and because of Jesus being obedient to the Father’s will (Phil. 2:5-11), He is able to provide us with the hope of resurrection someday. Jesus would go to the cross and be placed in the tomb, but Jesus was victorious over death and the grave and was resurrected from the dead on the third day. Not only is Jesus the “resurrection” but He is also “the life.” Jesus was present when creation was created (John 1) and took part in man becoming a living being, but more importantly, Jesus is the means to eternal life. It is appointed unto man once to die (Heb. 9:27) but death is not the end. Jesus came to this world to offer Himself as a Sacrifice for sins that those that obey His commands might have everlasting life (John 3:16-17). Those that have obeyed the Gospel commands will be able to dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6) and be victorious over death through Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:50-57).
The application. Jesus gives hope of resurrection, and those that die to sin and live for Him can have the living hope of resurrection (1 Peter 1:5). Jesus provides eternal life, and salvation from the wages of sin which is death (Rom. 6:23). Jesus promises that He will return (John 14:1-3), and like Lazarus, those that are in the graves will rise, and those that remain will meet Him in the air (1 Thess. 4:13-18). There is a great day coming when we will all stand before the Judgment seat of Christ and receive the things done in this body (2 Cor. 5:10; John 5:28-29). The earth will melt with fervent heat and all the works that are therein will be destroyed (2 Peter 3:10), the unrighteous will be cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 25:30), but those that obey the commands of God, will be rewarded the crown of life which is only available through the “Resurrection and the Life” provided because of Jesus.