It is either lunacy or the great hope for mankind
I often think of those who may be visiting with us as either seeking answers for life’s hard questions or skeptics who sit here wondering what the big deal is. Jesus’ statement here is one that makes it hard to admire Jesus in a kind of religious sense without it driving you to a very personal decision about who He is. Who says things like, “I am the resurrection and the life?” Such a claim is so absurd unless you are who? God. Only God could make a claim like this and the conditional clause of “whoever believes” forces us to internalize our admiration in what the Bible calls “saving faith.”
I don’t see how people can admire Jesus generally, not with statements like this. He is either a madman, in which case you wouldn’t want to admire anything about Him, OR He is who He claims to be – eternal God, giver and sustainer of life eternal for all who believe in Him. It is impossible to rationally sit on the fence about Jesus. So like Jesus said to Martha, I ask you, do you believe?
Jesus’ promise is nothing less than an indestructible, eternal life
Of all the “I am” statements, this one is the most dramatic because it is filled with the most far reaching promise. To believe in Jesus is to be promised by God an indestructible life. The skeptic will quickly say, “Christians die.” Yes. But so did Lazarus and Jesus resurrected Him as a demonstration of His power to raise the dead.
How can this be anything less than about the most wonderful news we could ever hear? For the natural man, death is a nightmare unbroken by a dawn. Death is emptiness. It is the absence of everything, including everything I value and want from beauty to love, to family, to relationships, and even deeper to my personhood and whether anything matters at all.
I was recently asked to speak at a high school that was dealing with a suicide. The condition was that I could not mention or insinuate anything about God or the gospel or faith, and definitely not Jesus. As I considered it, I couldn’t think of anything I would say. How do you speak hope into a grieving student body filled with young people asking very personal questions, like “What really matters?” “Why did this happen?” “What will death mean to me?” I declined the offer.
The only thing I know to say is what Jesus said at a funeral so many years ago, “I am the resurrection and the life.” There’s hope in that. There’s hope in Him. I couldn’t say it at the high school, but I can say it here, and I can say it to you. The question is, like for Martha, do you believe this?
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
©Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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