The Resurrection and the Life - John 11:25-26
April 4, 2021 Series: Easter Sunday
Scripture: John 11:25–26
Humanity has many enemies. Among them are sickness, disease, blindness, deafness, paralysis, poverty, hunger, disastrous weather, and the powers of evil. During the earthly ministry of Jesus, He demonstrated miraculous power over all of those to show that he was from heaven and that he was, in fact, God come to earth.
But his raising of his friend Lazarus from the dead, about which we just read, is a different kind of miracle. It’s different because by resurrecting this man, Jesus showed his power over humanity’s greatest enemy, over our final enemy. You know the one. Jesus demonstrated his power over death itself.
His miracle was a sign of things to come. We read earlier also about Jesus’ own, greater resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus was greater than the resurrection of Lazarus. Lazarus was raised, but he was still able to get sick and he would one day die again. But Jesus was raised unable to die again, untouchable by the effects of sin.
And yet it is here at this lesser resurrection where Jesus says something very important about his greater resurrection to come and about the resurrection for all who trust in Him. He tells us why it is so glorious to say, as we do on this special day, that “Christ is risen!”
Notice verse 25 again. Jesus didn’t just tell Martha that he could perform a resurrection and give someone life. He says, “I am the resurrection and the life.” What does he mean? We know he was resurrected; He was dead and came back to life. But he is the resurrection and he is the life? Why does Jesus speak in this way?
Well, what Jesus says next is his explanation, and we are going to look at it together. Notice the two statements on page 6 and 7 in the WG. You see, when He says that He is the resurrection, he means that though our bodies die, our souls are raised from their state of spiritual death through Jesus our Resurrection. And when He says that He is the life, he means that All who are spiritually resurrected by Him are forever and ever, in both body and soul, secure in Jesus our Life.
I realize there may be some words here that need to be defined. So we’re going to go back to the beginning, all the way back to the beginning of the world, described at the beginning of the Scriptures: to Genesis chapter 1.
In Gen. 1, Moses describes the creation of the world, as told to him by God. He tells us that after God created the earth and various living things, He created humans in his own image. The first man and woman had a unique role in the world. They were created as God’s representatives on earth, set up to rule on earth similar to how God rules over all things.
They had a distinct relationship with God, different from all other created things. In fact, the first man and woman possessed a unique existence transferred to them by God, installed within them by God. Genesis 2 says that “God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
Yes, God gave man physical life, just as He did all other living creatures; but, being made in God’s image, God gave man another kind of life. God put within the man something resembling God himself, something special, something that made the created man and woman like the Creator, something that gave them the ability to reflect God’s character and His ways.
We understand this other kind of life given by God, breathed into man by God, to be the human soul, the spiritual part of a person. The first man and woman possessed the ability to mirror the holiness of God; they could display the greatness of God in ways that all other created things could not.
But sometime after their creation, they rebelled against God. They sinned. They broke their covenant with God. They rejected the authority of the One who made them, and the image of God within them was not totally destroyed, but it was severely tarnished. Terribly damaged.
Sin drove a wedge between God and man. Sin invaded their souls and plunged them into spiritual death. They still possessed the souls put within them by God, but their sinful souls were now separated from the sinless, holy God, and their unique spiritual life was replaced by death.
As a result, they and every person since are spiritually dead in our sins. Our souls are corrupted throughout by evil. Selfishness has touched every part. And as a result, we physically die as well. Sin reigns in us, and so death reigns over us. We cannot, in our own efforts, get that life back. But Jesus said he came so we could have life. He came to restore the spiritual life lost in the beginning.
My wife and I were watching one of these singing competitions on TV this week, and I saw something that made me laugh. There was a young man, an outstanding singer, wearing a turtleneck shirt. Turtlenecks have a neck so long that you fold them over so they double. I wore turtleneck shirts in the 8th grade. I was 13, 14 years old. They were stylish, I hope. Lots of people wore them.
That was 30 years ago. I never see men wear turtlenecks anymore. So I asked my wife, “Didn’t turtlenecks go out of style?” She said yes. But I looked it up online and sure enough, they are bringing turtlenecks back in 2021. If you still have one, you can help bring them back!
Listen carefully to me: Jesus brought life back. God came to earth as a man; he lived a sinless life and died to pay the penalty for the guilt of our sins; he then rose from the dead to bring back the spiritual life we lost because of sin. And the only way to bring back something from the dead is resurrection.
Notice the rest of verse 25. “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” Though you and I die physically, if we trust in Jesus Christ as the only Son of God, as Lord of our lives and Savior from our sins, spiritual life with God for eternity can be ours.
The soul is created by God, so it has a beginning, but once God creates a soul, it is everlasting. When we turn from our sin and put faith in Jesus Christ, we receive eternal life with God rather than remaining destined for eternal death in hell.
If you believe in Jesus, though your body will one day die, your soul will be, in an instant, raised from spiritual death. By the power of His Spirit, Jesus himself resurrects us. By turning from sin and believing in Christ, you can be made spiritually alive with Him.
Sin will no longer have the same power over you in this life, and you will have no need to fear what comes after death. John Calvin wrote, “Faith is a spiritual resurrection of the soul.” Faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself is our resurrection. Jesus is also the life. Look at verse .
He goes on to say, “and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Never die? How so? Jesus is saying that all who He makes spiritually alive will never be separated eternally from God. That life can never be lost. It is certain. Interestingly, in the Greek manuscripts, it literally says, “never, never.” Shall never, never die.
You see, all who are spiritually resurrected are forever and ever secure, both body and soul, in Jesus our Life. The souls of believers are born again and will live forever, but also, those who believe in him will receive an immortal body like the one Jesus had when he rose from the dead. In Romans 8, the apostle Paul says, “if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
On the Last Day, when God brings history as we know it to a close, Jesus will return from heaven to judge sin, he will make all things new, he will renew the earth, and all who trust in Him will receive a new, resurrected body to go with our resurrected souls. This is through trust in Jesus. Jesus himself is the life.
I want to point out that when Jesus says these words, he speaks to a woman who just lost her dear brother. Death was on the forefront of her mind. Death is stunning. It is so final. We feel so powerless in the face of death. We have wonderful medical technology and we can do various things to promote good health.
But death cannot be delayed forever. At the very least, even as we delay death through healthy living and medicine, we still age. We naturally deteriorate physically. Life escapes our grasp.
However, there is a resurrection, and everlasting life is available to us. Have you experienced the resurrection Jesus describes? Do you have this life? To have it, you must have Jesus, and Jesus must have you. Because Jesus himself is that resurrection and life.
Will you resist him, and cling to your own sin and false beliefs? If so, you only cling to death. Pray to Christ Jesus, admit to him that you have lived selfishly and trusted in the false gods of this world. Admit that you have done evil, and thought evil, and desired evil. Let those things go, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to take away your sin and make you righteous before God.
Receive Jesus. Only He is the resurrection and the life.
Let’s pray together.