by Lloyd Streeter
The Bible says in John 11:25-26, “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?”
This is one of the great “I Am” statements of the Gospel of John. John is the only Gospel writer to record these statements. There are seven of these “I Am” statements in this book. These statements describe the Lord Jesus Christ. These statements all teach the deity of Jesus Christ, and much more.
All of the “I Am” statements in John are related to what Jesus said in John 8:56-58. After Jesus’ enemies had accused Him of being demon possessed, He told them who He really was.
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”
There was no doubt about what Jesus was saying. He was saying He was present before Abraham was born. In fact, He was saying that He is the Eternal, Ever-present God whom Moses knew. His “I Am” is a clear reference to Exodus 3:14.
Jesus had been saying this all through His conversation with the Jews, but they were not “getting it.” For example, in John 8:23, He had said, “I am from above.” He also had said, “for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (8:24), and “I am he, and I do nothing of myself” (8:28).
However, when Jesus said “before Abraham was, I am,” they “got it.” And they did not like it, because Jesus was saying that He is the ever-continuing, self-existent, eternal, always-in-the- present God.
This claim of absolute deity on the part of our Lord was more than His enemies could take. “Then took they up stones to cast at him” (8:59).
So, the “I Am” statements of Christ are the lowest common denominator of Christ’s description of Himself. He is saying, “I am Jehovah God.”
That self assertion of deity then helps to form the other titles in Christ’s self-descriptive “I Am” statements. He says: “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35); “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12); “I am the door” (John 10:7); “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11-14); “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and, “I am the true vine” (John 15:1).
When Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life,” it was the occasion of the death of Lazarus. Lazarus is one of three persons raised to life by the Lord Jesus. He raised the young man from Nain saying, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.” He resurrected the little girl saying, “Talitha cumi; . . . Damsel, I say unto thee, arise” To the dead, decaying body of Lazarus he cried, “Lazarus, come forth”! And Lazarus came to life and hobbled out of the tomb with grave clothes still wrapped around his body.
Only God can raise the dead. Our Lord Jesus Christ is “declared to be the Son of God with power, . . by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).
When Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life,” He was saying that He is the only source of resurrection. He is the only power of resurrection.
There is intimation in what Jesus said of the Rapture of the Church, of the translation of dead saints, and of the catching away of the living.
When He said, “Though he were dead yet shall he live,” does it not refer to those who “sleep in Jesus” who will be raised when He comes? And when He said, “Whoso liveth and believeth in me shall never die,” does it not refer to a generation of believers who will be living when Jesus comes, living saints who will never die, but be translated and raptured to Heaven to live with him forever?
Paul the apostle wrote under inspiration of God to say, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the arch-angel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
A young boy in England grew up being constantly fearful regarding the Coming of the Lord. His fear was increased by the huge stones used for grave markers in the local cemetery near his home. He was worried that the gigantic memorial stones would prevent him from rising on Resurrection Day. Eventually, the young man became comforted by two events. The first was that he saw and heard an old man walking through the cemetery talking to the grave stones. He saw the old man shake his cane at the markers and say, “O, ye stones, ye’ll all be broken to pieces on the Resurrection Morn. . .ye will!”
The second and more important event which brought courage to the young man’s heart was to hear the words of the Lord Jesus as they were read to him by his mother, “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?”
The power of the Lord Jesus to raise the dead is a great comfort to every child of God. But, that power is no comfort to the unsaved! This wonderful death-abolishing power will be used to drag every Christ rejector out of the grave to stand before a thrice Holy God for judgment.
In John 5:25, 27-29, Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. . . . And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
He who has the power to raise the dead has power to bring men into judgment. He proved by His resurrection from the dead that He will judge all men.
God has given over all judgment unto His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
This living, glorified, eternal Son of God will judge every unsaved person at the Great White Throne in that coming day when the books are opened (Revelation 20:12).
The proof of this judgment is the fact that He is alive from the grave. In Acts 17:31, we read, “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man who he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
We urge any unsaved person reading these words to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Personal Savior. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).