John 11:21-26 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
In the book of Hebrews, we read, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” (Hebrews 6:1,2) In the New Testament, the specific word “resurrection” is found forty one times. Some occurrences refer to the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead, both of the just and the unjust (Acts 24:15). This is recorded in the gospel of John as being the resurrection of life or the resurrection of damnation (John 5:29).
One of the foundational doctrines of Scripture is the bodily resurrection of The Lord Jesus Christ. When the apostles were looking for someone to replace the vacancy left in the apostolic office of Judas Iscariot, one had to be ordained who was a witness of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 1:22). In other words, they had to have seen Jesus after He rose from the dead. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter quoted the patriarch David and how he spoke of the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:29-32). From that day on, these eyewitnesses began to preach the resurrection of the dead, which was met with strong opposition from the religious community of the day (Acts 4:1-3). Not deterred by persecution and the opposition, with great power, the apostles gave witness of the resurrection of The Lord Jesus (Acts 4:33). When the apostle Paul visited the city of Athens, he was stirred in heart when he saw the people there wholly given to idolatry. To avoid “offending” any unknown deity, they had an altar that was dedicated to the UNKNOWN GOD. To that “politically correct” city Paul preached the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 17:16-34). In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul declares the gospel to be the atoning death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. A prayerful reading of the rest of 1 Corinthians 15 unpacks some of the most remarkable truths about the resurrection of the body.
While there are many passages of Scripture that pertain to various aspects of the bodily resurrection, and what happens after that, I would like to explore the words that our Lord Jesus spoke to Martha: “I am the resurrection, and the life.” Please take a moment and prayerfully read those words of Jesus again. Meditate upon them until your soul can personally declare without a shadow of a doubt both theologically and personally an astounding Amen and Amen. What I want to focus on here is the fact that Jesus Himself is the Resurrection. Yes, there is the doctrine of the resurrection which is critical and a vital part of our faith; but to be content with a “paper explanation” of the doctrine of the resurrection of the risen Jesus apart from an actual encounter with the risen Jesus is a form of godliness without power. To academically be able to dissect every biblical aspect of the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus may indeed qualify you to pass an ordination ceremony or write a compelling thesis, but it is not equivalent to knowing Him as The Resurrection and The Life.
Jesus Christ IS the resurrection. Jesus IS what the “theology” of the resurrection is all about. Jesus came, He died on the cross, He was buried, but He rose again on the third day, because death could not crush, control, or contain the resurrection life of Jesus! Our Lord Jesus is, and will forever be, The Resurrection and The Life. Because Jesus IS The Resurrection and The Life, it is by Him and through faith in Him that we are raised from the dead. Because Jesus IS The Resurrection and The Life, we are able to walk in newness of life. Think that through. We are now in a covenant relationship with Jesus, Who IS The Resurrection and The Life. We are not in a relationship with any religious system. No “ism” died on the cross. No “ism” was buried in grave. No “ism” rose from the dead; but Jesus died, and was buried and rose from the dead. When Martha accurately answered Jesus’ question about when her brother Lazarus would be raised from the dead, He then quickly corrected her by saying, “I am the resurrection, and the life.”
It’s as if Jesus said, ‘Martha, you are only thinking of the resurrection in religious terms as an event, but the truth of the matter is this, I AM The Resurrection.’ While there will be a time known as the resurrection of the body, what Jesus wanted Martha, and you and I to know today, is that the bodily resurrection is much more than an event; it IS HIM. Connect the dots. The apostle Peter wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). God’s abundant mercy has begotten us into this living relationship with Jesus Christ, Who IS The Resurrection and The Life. This relationship is called a lively or living hope. It is a quality of life that begins with a new birth and ushers us into “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).
Jesus Christ died for our sins, but He then rose from the dead in victory. Jesus is alive! Jesus is everything that we could ever long for. Jesus IS The Bread of Life. Jesus IS The Fountain of Living Water. Jesus IS The resurrection and The Life. Knowing Him and the power of His resurrection is what it means to be a child of God. The eternal question for both writer and reader alike is this: Do you know Jesus Christ? Is He your resurrection and your life? “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) Do not be content or deceived into thinking that “celebrating” a holy day is equivalent to an encounter with The Lord Jesus Christ Who IS The Resurrection and The Life. Selah