"Jesus said to her, 'I am the Resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die …'” (John 11:25-26).
Those words were meant to be a beacon of hope to a grieving woman whose brother had been buried four days before Jesus showed up “too late to help.” Remember Martha and Mary, confronting Jesus with the accusation, “If you had been here our brother would not have died.” In other words, “Where were you when we needed you?”
Many have held the same sentiment. “Where were you, God? Why didn’t you answer that prayer for help? Why didn’t you come through for us?”
With Martha’s stinging words in His ears, Jesus told this dear friend, “Your brother will rise again,” to which Martha responded, like any well-educated Jew, in the face of the death of a beloved family member, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” I’m sure this tearful friend of Jesus was thinking, “But I want my brother back NOW! HERE! Not just then.”
Honestly, isn’t that the dominant desire we all have when we stand at the edge of a grave? Like all believers, Martha had to long for that future event, that moment on that day when God will bring the dead back to life: the Resurrection.
We see resurrection the same way Martha did, as an event, but Jesus shatters that conclusion.
In one very matter-of-fact statement, He alters our basic understanding of what resurrection really is. Jesus insists the resurrection be seen, not as an event, but as a person: HIMSELF.
Hear it again: “I am the resurrection and the life.” He didn’t say, “I can show you the resurrection.” He didn’t say, “Wait for the resurrection.”
Jesus said, “I AM the resurrection and the life,” meaning that life itself is found in Him. The invitation to “come to Jesus” is an invitation to resurrection.
Resurrection happens the moment I stop trying to save myself and respond to Jesus’ invitation to come to Him and receive God’s free gift of salvation and life in Jesus Christ.
Yes, there will, one day, be an event we may accurately describe as our bodily resurrection … “the resurrection of the dead.” Yes, it will happen in “the twinkling of an eye” or in the flash of a split second at a particular moment in time.
But THE resurrection is not primarily an event. It is the person of Christ.
We could say our resurrection happens when Jesus’ invitation to us and our responsive invitation to Him meet.
What do I mean? Jesus invites us to come to Him, believe in and trust in Him. Our response to that invitation is to likewise invite Him to take up life-giving residence in us. That is when we truly “come to life,” or as Jesus said, that’s when we are “born again,” resurrected.
So, allow me to invite you to the resurrection right now. Jesus is calling you to come to Him. He said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Paul the apostle (one who preaches the good news of Jesus) said, “'...Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'” (Romans 10:13)
Jesus Himself said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). There’s the invitation to come to the Resurrection, the invitation to simply open your heart-door and ask Jesus to come live in you and give you eternal life.
You may have noticed that I stopped four words short of the end of John 11:26. After Jesus declared Himself to be “the Resurrection,” the life-giver, He asked Martha a brief but important question: “Do you believe this?” There it is. That’s the question put before each of us.
Do we believe Jesus is the Resurrection and the life?
How did she answer the question, “Do you believe this?” She responds, “Yes Lord, I believe You are the Christ, the Son of God.”
That confession, both for her and for us, is sufficient to move us from death to life.
Martha was living in the pre-resurrection era, but within a matter of days or at the most, weeks, she would move into the post-resurrection era. She would be among the first to hear that Jesus was risen from the dead and perhaps was fortunate enough to see Him alive with her own eyes.
We too live in the post-resurrection era, filled with the proof of the resurrected and living Christ. So may our questions of life and death, of resurrection and eternity find their answer in Jesus, who is Himself, our Resurrection. We know the story. Jesus raised Martha’s brother, Lazarus, from the dead. Let Jesus give you life as well. Come to the Resurrection. Come and live. Respond to His invitation with your own confident invitation, “Come Lord Jesus, come … Live in me … Thank you for dying for my sins … Please forgive my sins and resurrect me today. Be my resurrection.”
Those words, or ones like them, are exactly what God has been waiting to hear from us. So, call upon Him. Declare your trust in Him. Turn from sin and any attempt to save yourself, and come to Jesus Christ. Come to the Resurrection.