Discover the profound meaning behind Jesus' words, 'I am the resurrection and the life,' and how they offer hope beyond death.
John 11:17-27 — Living Forever — Aneel Aranha
Hello and welcome back to the Bite-Sized Gospel. Today we will reflect on John 11:17-27. Listen.
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
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?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die." This is yet another of Jesus' "I am" statements and arguably the most powerful. To truly appreciate its significance, we must dig into the layers of meaning embedded within it.
In these seven words — "I am the resurrection and the life" — Jesus sums up the essence of his mission on Earth. He doesn't merely proclaim to have the power to raise the dead, but he identifies himself as the very source of life itself. In him, we encounter the fullness of life, not merely existence, but life in abundance. This is why he earlier said, "I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). Jesus is the wellspring from which all life flows, a life that transcends earthly death.
Then Jesus continues, "The one who believes in me will live, even though they die." This statement challenges our conventional understanding of life and death. Jesus is not speaking of physical life alone but of a profound spiritual reality. When we place our faith in Jesus, we enter a new dimension of existence. Death, as we know it, loses its finality. Paul would later ask, "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55).
Death no longer has any power over us because the believer in Christ lives forever! But paradoxically, to live, we have to die. How does this work? Let us understand this properly.
In the Kingdom of God, life and death are not isolated events but interconnected, with death serving as a gateway to eternal life. Like a seed: for a seed to bear fruit, it must first be buried in the ground and seemingly cease to exist. But from that death emerges new life, a flourishing plant bearing fruit. The apostle Paul puts it beautifully: "What you sow does not come to life unless it dies" (1 Corinthians 15:36).
Similarly, our faith in Jesus Christ leads us to a profound transformation. When we place our trust in him, we die to our old selves, our selfish ambitions, and our sinful nature. This spiritual death is symbolized in baptism, where we are buried with Christ and raised to newness of life (Romans 6:4). Just as the seed must die to bring forth fruit, we must die to our old way of life to experience the fullness of life in Christ.
Yet, this spiritual death is not the end; it is the beginning of a journey toward resurrection and life. Through faith, we are united with Christ in his death and, consequently, in his resurrection (Romans 6:5). The believer's physical death, then, is not the final chapter; it is the doorway to eternal life in the presence of God. Death loses its sting because it cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39). How amazing is that!
God bless you.