I am the Resurrection and the Life John 11:35

25 Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.
This is one of the seven “I am” sayings of Jesus which we find in John’s Gospel. We only finished a series in John a couple of years ago, but I am still going to focus on this verse tonight because somehow I neglected to talk about it then. More importantly, it has something very significant to teach us. Or should I say, remind us of, because the central point I am making tonight is found in many places in the New Testament, just in case you think I am making a mountain out of a molehill. These words of Jesus simply illustrate a vital truth. Let me introduce it with a question.
Why did Jesus say, “I am the resurrection and the life” and not “I am the life and the resurrection”? After all Christians experience eternal life here and now, We will only experience the resurrection of the dead at the end of time, when all believers are raised from the dead into glory. Why say resurrection first, and life second?
Let’s just remind ourselves that Jewish hopes of eternal life or everlasting life did not rest on the idea that human beings are born with some part of us called a soul which is immortal and cannot die. The immortal soul is a Greek idea, not a Jewish idea. Nor did the Jews think that that God would give to people some quality of life which would make us “eternal” so that we wouldn’t die. The Jewish hope of life after death expressed in both the Old Testament and in the New Testament is the hope of resurrection. The hope that at the end of time God would bring all people who had died back to life again. Some would receive blessings and others would face judgment but all would only be alive after they had died physically because God raised them to life again. This was the Jewish hope Martha declared.
21 ‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’
23 Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’
24 Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’
Like very many Jews and particularly the Pharisees but not the Sadducees, Martha shared the hope of life beyond death through the resurrection of the dead which will take place at the last day.
That is exactly the hope Jesus points to in the words which follow. “The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” This earthly life will end for all believers. It has for each one so far and will continue to do so until Jesus returns. Our physical bodies will all die. But then we will live again when we are raised back to life. “The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” This is our hope of resurrection.
This week I came across Benjamin Franklin’s epitaph which he wrote himself. Although we are not sure he was a believer, this is what he wrote.

The Body of B. Franklin, Printer
Like the Cover of an old Book
Its contents torn out,
And stript of its Lettering and Guilding,
Lies here, Food for Worms,
But the Work shall not be wholly lost:
For it will, as he believ’d,
Appear once more
In a new & more perfect Edition,
Corrected and amended by the Author.
There is indeed the Jewish and Christian hope of resurrection. A new and more perfect edition, corrected and amended by the Author of life God Himself. This is our Christian hope, celebrated in so many places in the Bible.
1 Corinthians 15 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
Philippians 3 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first,
Exactly as Jesus says, “The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” This is our hope of resurrection.
When Jesus returns, Christians who have died will be raised from the dead. Actually Paul goes further and says that even in this life we are already sharing in the death of Christ. We have died with him, waiting until he returns so that we can be raised to life.
Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
The hope of eternal life we have as Christians is all wrapped up in us sharing in the death and the resurrection of Christ. He is our life. We share his life.
This week in Draw Near To God we were talking about suffering. We said that when we are in the middle of experiencing suffering there are many things which might encourage us. The fact that how we respond to suffering proves that our faith is genuine, or that it helps us to empathise with others, or that suffering teaches us perseverance. But we also said that in the middle of great suffering, especially when a person is suffering opposition or persecution for the name of Jesus, the only thing which helps us get through is the hope of heaven. To look beyond our present sufferings to the hope of the inheritance waiting for us in glory.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.
Beyond this life which can be filled with tears, we have a living hope and we have an inheritance.
This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
We have not fully received our salvation yet. It is waiting for us, being kept safe for us by God himself.
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
We rejoice not because of anything the suffering is doing in our lives but because of the hope we have in Christ.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

So we look beyond our suffering to what awaits us in glory. “The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” This is the promise Jesus gives us all. The hope of resurrection.
But surely that is looking beyond this life and our inevitably physical death to the life to come. So why did Jesus say, as he did, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Surely the resurrection Jesus gives to believers will be subsequent to the life he promises here and now. Why did Jesus not say, “I am the life and the resurrection” ?
The significant truth which this saying illustrates, I think, is this. Although in chronological order our experience of eternal life now precedes the experience of resurrection which awaits us all when Jesus returns, our experience of eternal life now comes from our future experience of resurrection. In this life now it is as we share in the experience of Christ’s resurrection, that we have a glimpse, a foretaste of our own resurrection which will we experience when Christ returns. In our lives now we experience the seal and the deposit and the first installment of heaven which is the work of the Holy Spirit, bringing the power of Christ’s resurrection life into our lives now.
Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life” because it is resurrection which is the source of life. Resurrection comes first because new life is the product of resurrection. The resurrection of the dead is not some bonus tagged on to the end of the experience of eternal life we are enjoying here and now. Our future experience of the resurrection of the dead is the source of the eternal life which we are beginning to experience now.
We sometimes miss the fact that many of Jesus’s promises of eternal life actually look forward to the resurrection of the dead.
6 35 Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
We think of Jesus as the bread of life giving life here and now. But actually the promises look forward.
37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.’
6 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Our experience of eternal life now is all tied in to the promise and the happy certainty that we will be raised back to life at the Last Day, when Jesus returns.
6 53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
So eternal life comes to us now, already, here and now, as a foretaste of the resurrection life which is waiting for us when Jesus returns. This is why Jesus’s words are true and inevitable. 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.
The person who experiences eternal life now by putting their trust in Jesus is guaranteed life forever. Even if their physical body has died, their life into eternity is certain. Because their eternal life here and now does not lead on to resurrection. Rather their life here and now flows back from their future experience of resurrection.
That is why Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life,” and doesn’t phrase the saying the other way round. But we mustn’t miss the significance of the first two words. I AM the resurrection. Jesus is saying that all the Old Testament promises and all the Jewish expectations of the resurrection of the dead will be fulfilled IN HIM. HE is the resurrection. And all the promises and the expectations of eternal life, life in all its fulness, come to men and women THROUGH HIM.
I am the resurrection and I am the life.
Do you believe this? Jesus asks Martha. And her reply is significant.
27 ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’

The Jews believed that the Messiah was going to come in the Last Days, and when he came the promised Messiah would bring about the resurrection of the dead. So Mary’s answer declares that she believes Jesus is indeed the Christ, and the Messiah, and truly the Son of God. For anybody who believes these things, and puts their trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, these wonderful promises Jesus makes are for us too.
25 Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.

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