This is a article on John 11:25-26 and eternal life in Christ.

Source: The Outlook, 1980. 3 pages.

John 11:25-26 - Jesus, The Resurrection and The Life

Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?

John 11:25, 26

Everybody needs comfort and security! And we need it today, as well as tomorrow. We need it always. Martha and Mary, however, didn't have much of it at this present time, even though they did have some peace of mind and heart regarding the resurrection of their brother in the future. But right now they had very little peace.

Every one acquainted with the Bible knows the story so well. These two sisters and their brother Lazarus were special friends of our Lord. He stayed at their home many times. Here He likely could relax after a busy schedule. A deep relationship of friendship had been established. But now Lazarus becomes sick. And though he may have been better one day than another, his over-all condition is worsening. Soon he is critically ill. And the Master is far away in Perea, some 40-50 miles east. Of course, they couldn't give the Lord a telephone call urging Him to come immediately, nor drive out there to get Him. A messenger, likely a "runner," is sent out, with haste, urging Christ to come at once. But Jesus has no haste. He tarries, to the confusion of the disciples. How Martha and Mary must have been looking and waiting for Him! But He just didn't come. And Lazarus died.

Martha and Mary have problems. Big problems. As all Christians do when they lack faith.

The two sisters have several problems. First of all, there was that problem of the "if." If only Jesus had been there, when Lazarus was so sick. The If im­plies that they had no peace or comfort at that time, and they don't have it now. If has to do with the hypothetical, the conditional, that which is uncer­tain. But the two sisters have more problems. Jesus the Master, means something to them and would have meant a lot to them, only when He is physically near. A Savior who is absent from them physically really means little or nothing to them. He would have meant so much to them if He had been there and helped them physically by healing their seriously ill brother.

There are so many people like that. They look for Jesus, pray to Him when they need Him for some physical help. Otherwise they can get along quite well without Him. They treat God the same way. Someone once said, "He's like a handy man around the house." We like to have Him near when we need Him. Such people use the Lord, and that almost ex­clusively for themselves. And they call that religion! And they consider themselves to be religious.

Martha and Mary are like that here, even though they no doubt were Christians. But aren't we all like that so often, and altogether too much?

But the two sisters have still another problem. Their faith in Christ means something and will take on added meaning in the future. Martha believes that Lazarus will rise from the grave some day, in that final day. She doesn't doubt that at all. But that will be in the future. She has nothing now, in and for the present. Jesus, the Master, means nothing to her now, right now, It's too late. Her dear brother is gone. He's simply dead.

What does Jesus do? Immediately go to the grave and raise Lazarus? By no means. He will teach them something first, preach to them, and the miracle will confirm the Word. After all, this was always the pur­pose of the miracles.

Martha and Mary, the Jews, you and I, must know what Jesus means when He says, I AM the resurrec­tion and the life. Not I will be, some day in the future, no, no; NOW I am the living One. Christ speaks and acts already on the basis of what He is as the Son of God and what He will do and be as the risen One from the grave. These two women must also know that He is such a Savior, whether He is present with them physically or not. He is and will be the ever present spiritual Lord, to help them physically and spiritually. They must know that He gives comfort and promises it not only for the future, in that last day, but now, right now. Now Martha, I AM the resurrection and the life. He is the resurrection because He is the life, the eternal Son of God Himself. All this should take on much more meaning for us, who live after and know about His cross, resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit, and have the complete written Word of God.

Having given this sorrowing, weak-Christian Martha this assuring word, the Lord goes on to ap­ply this wonderful truth to her in her present needs and to all of us.

First of all He shows that He is aware of the Christian's sorrows and needs at the time of death, and He is also aware the Christian's deep concerns and fears about the grave, and about rising from the grave. With that in mind the Lord speaks those immortal words, "He who believes in me will live, even though he dies." These words refer to that future time when the body will die. But he who be­lieves need not worry. He will live again. Christ here reaches out to that great and final day of His return when all the dead will be raised. Surely the Lord knows how much we are afraid of the grave, of re­turning to dust. But be assured, He means to say, you won't stay there, your body won't. You SHALL live again, be assured of that. On what basis can He say this and give that kind of assurance? Because He IS the resurrection and the life. Today He is the risen, exalted Savior and Lord in heaven. He is alive, as the risen Son of God. He won't leave our bodies in the grave. Martha, He means to say, I won't forget you. I won't forget my people, my sheep. Never! They all shall live.

That will take place someday in the future. But how about the present? After all Martha needs comfort right now, and so do we all, especially when we are in sorrow and special need.

This Jesus knows only too well. And being aware of it and desirous to comfort these His people there in Bethany He further adds: "And whoever lives and believes in me will never die."

With these words Jesus refers to the present. He is speaking about those who believe and are alive. Those who have the new life, with new hearts. Paul calls them a new creation. Those people never die, not really. Not with their new hearts, their new in­ner life. Through Jesus who is the resurrection and the life those people constantly receive the Spirit and life that is in Him. They have that whether Jesus is in Perea or not. They have that whether they live in America, or China, or wherever it may be, or in whatever circumstances they find them­selves. They have that when they are healthy, but also when on deathbeds. This spiritual living Lord is always with them. Even the death of the body does not affect this relationship. They simply never die. They possess that new everlasting life. C. S. Lewis said once, "Christians never say goodbye." This Martha and all of us, must know. Jesus, as the Son of God, is much too small in the minds and hearts of Martha and Mary.

And isn't this true so often of us all?

Notice how Jesus adds to this powerful brief ser­mon a definite qualification. It is not for everybody. No, only for believers. But even then it must not be something that is objective. It must always be a soul-searching matter, one that brings us to self-examination. Therefore Jesus asks: Do you believe this? He wants these women and all of us to believe His words, constantly to believe and to trust in Him. And those who do so may be assured that He who can say, I am the resurrection and the life, is their Savior and Lord. And His promises are for them. He will be the resurrection and the life when they die, when their bodies are in the grave, but also for their souls and hearts, for all time, from the very present moment even unto eternity. Never is there or will there be a time when they don't belong to Him.

That's the answer to all the fear, problems, and anxieties of the two dear friends in Bethany. And for everyone who believes.

Then Jesus goes to the grave to raise Lazarus. These people, and we with them, must know that Jesus knows what He's talking about. Also that He can "back up" His words. Also when He says, just a few days later,

Let not your hearts be troubled. Peace I give unto you, peace I leave with you.

This is true for all believers, for all time and in all circumstances, barring none.   

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