Bible Study

The Resurrection and the Life

Jesus declared, ‘I AM the resurrection and the life’ at a moment of darkness, of heavy grief, and loss. These were words of comfort, spoken to His close personal friends Martha and Mary. They would not understand the full implication of this remarkable statement until much later. Martha and Mary had sent word to Jesus that, their brother, Lazarus was sick. Jesus delayed, Instead of rushing to help, He stayed where He was for a further two days. It appeared that by the time Jesus arrived in Bethany, it was too late to help. Lazarus had died from his illness.

Jesus the Resurrection and the Life

By the time Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been buried four days earlier. Martha and Mary were at home surrounded by visitors who were mourning with them the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was on His way, she went out to meet Him. This created a moment for Martha to talk with the Lord and share with Him, her faith and her hopes. Martha believed in Jesus’ power to heal the sick and goes on to declare her great faith, that even now God will give Jesus whatever He asks!

Sometimes we express our heartfelt desires without being bold enough to make a direct request. But God knows our silent prayers. He hears the cries of our heart.

Jesus responds to Martha’s declaration with the ambiguous comment that Lazarus would rise again. Martha replies that she knows he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.

Is there a hint here from Martha that sometimes it is hard to live on the promise of future blessing? Although we have hope for the future, our present needs can often feel overwhelming. It is natural that we seek comfort and relief for now, for this situation that we are living in.

I Am the Resurrection and the Life Verse

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?

John 11:25-26 NIV
A picture of sunflowers with the text 'I am the resurrection and the life' John 11:25
The Resurrection and the Life

I Am the Resurrection and the Life Meaning

Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus

Martha responds to Jesus’ statement with a great declaration of faith. She had already stated that she knew God would give Jesus whatever He asked for, but now she was declaring her faith in Jesus Himself. Martha believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, the One promised in Scripture. The One that Israel was looking for in hope of deliverance.

Jesus is the resurrection and the life, for all who believe in Him, He is the gift of eternal life.

After the revelation that Martha received of this aspect of Jesus’ character, she calls for her sister Mary to join them. When Jesus sees Mary’s distress, that she is weeping, He is moved and asks where they have laid Lazarus.

When they arrive at the tomb, which is a cave in the rocks with a stone laid across the entrance, Jesus tells them to remove the stone. Then He looks up and prays aloud, and after praying, He then calls to Lazarus to come out of the tomb. The man who was dead, walks out of the tomb still wrapped in his grave clothes. Jesus performed a miracle and Lazarus was raised from the dead and restored to his sisters.

Jesus our Resurrection Hope

The raising to life miracles in the Old Testament and in the New Testament were not ‘true’ resurrection. In the sense that those who were brought back to life where the same, still in an aging body and subject to time. They resumed their lives just as before.

Jesus is the first-fruit of resurrection, when God raised Him from the dead it was with a transformed body and a permanent life in glory. It is through Jesus’ death that the power of death is defeated.

The Old Testament first-fruit offering was a declaration of hope in the fullness of the harvest to follow. Jesus is the first-fruit of resurrection and the hope of those who believe in Him. Death is defeated and no longer has a hold on those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Because He was without sin His life was the perfect offering, He was vindicated by the Holy Spirit and God raised Him from the dead – to live and reign forever.

I Am the Resurrection and the Life Commentary

The revelation of Jesus as being the resurrection and the giver of eternal life was to Martha and Mary a statement that He would defeat death. Although they could not grasp, or fully understand, what He meant until later. In raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus brought great comfort to his sisters. But His resurrection is the foundation of faith for all who believe in Him.

The power of death is broken and no longer holds us in fear and dread. This life is not all that there is, we have an eternal future, and our place is secured in Christ Jesus.

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

1 Corinthians 15:19-23 NIVUK

The Significance of Jesus Resurrection

The knowledge of our hope for the future, based on the resurrection of Jesus, empowers us to live in freedom. We live the resurrection life now, dead to sin and raised to fullness of life. Jesus’ overcoming, brings comfort and encouragement. We can live in the freedom, joy, and peace of the Holy Spirit, in the blessing of His victory.

The reality is often a tension between the life that we live now, and the life that by faith we are yearning for and looking ahead to. It is the experience of living in God’s kingdom here and now, and the complete fulfilment of His kingdom still to come.  Our despair has been dispelled, we have hope for the future. Jesus’ resurrection assures us that one day we will be with the Lord forever!

A picture of sunflowers with the text 'The Resurrection and the Life'
The Resurrection and the Life

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

John 12:23-24

When Jesus knew that His time was near, He shared this illustration with His disciples. The principle of life through death is clearly seen in the plant world. Jesus came to die for the sin of the world and by His death to bring eternal life to all who choose to believe and follow after Him.

Related post: I Am the Bread of Life, I AM the Gate

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