In John 11, we have the 5th of Jesus’ 7 I AM Statements. Jesus made seven statements that directly proclaimed who He was as it related to God and God’s purpose for Him. Jesus proclaims I Am the Resurrection and the Life.
20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
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.”
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. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Would have, could have, should have are all scenarios that we have played out in our minds. When circumstances happen that hurt and disappoint us, we all look for how those things could have been averted. For Martha, she told Jesus “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Mary too said the same thing when she saw Jesus (v32). Martha believed that Jesus could have prevented her brother from dying. From Martha’s response, we know that she was expecting Jesus to do something but raising Lazarus at this point was not her focus. In fact, when Jesus said “your brother will rise again”, she referred to a resurrection of the last day i.e. the final return of the Messiah to establish God’s rule over all. She believed in the resurrection but just not then. Martha was in better positions than the Sadducees, the majority of the Sanhedrin, who did not believe in the resurrection.
Then, Jesus expands her understanding of who He is. He declared to her I Am the Resurrection and the Life. Jesus is literally and figuratively the Resurrection and the Life. He begins to lay the foundation for that by raising Lazarus from the dead. I have read that Jesus was quite aware of the Jewish superstition of that time that said a soul stays near the grave for three days of hopes to return to the body; therefore, it was accepted that after four days there was absolutely no hope of resuscitation. After four days, everyone assumed that Lazarus was really dead as evidenced by Martha saying there would be a bad odor if they opened the tomb. Their concept of Jesus raising someone who were really dead was not at the forefront of their consciousness.
As He did with Martha, Jesus calls all of us to make a decision as to whether we believe in Him or not. He told 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. Do you believe this?” Just as He proclaimed that to Martha, He is proclaiming that to us today via His Word. Jesus is also asking us “Do you believe this?” Like the people of that day, we have to look at who Jesus said He is and what He did to substantiate our belief or faith in Him.
I can truly say that I continue to grow in my understanding of the triune God. Like Martha, I believe, but often, it is based on limited understanding. God continues to reveal Himself to me. That is what makes life so interesting and exciting. At times, I must admit that I get caught in the moment like Martha and Mary. It is in those moments that God challenges my faith in who He is. Where are we right now? Are we in the midst of a crisis where our belief of Christ is being challenged? For me, the answer to that is yes. In reality, we are always being challenged, but there are times where the challenge is more poignant.
Jesus says, “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.” While I may physically die, I will never die spiritually because of what Jesus did on the cross and from raising from the grave to ascend to the right hand of God. I will not die as Jesus proclaimed. If we want to be spiritually resurrected to life, we must believe in Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world to save those who are His. Do you believe this?