"I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
What a powerful statement made by our Lord. He boldly proclaims that those who believe in Him will live...even if they die. He goes even further and says that though a believer dies, yet, they "shall never die." How can this be?
These statements are amazing enough. When you add the occasion in which He makes these assertions, it is staggering. The sounds in the background are the cries of family and friends who are grieving the death of Lazarus. These people are emotional to be sure, but they have not lost their minds. They know that Lazarus is dead.
It is in this very setting that Jesus makes two things clear. First, eternal life for the believer is secured by faith in Jesus. Second, a believer never truly dies.
1. Eternal life for the believer is secured by faith in Jesus
Jesus makes clear that eternal life is not found in religious ceremony nor any man-made tradition. The one who "shall live" is the one who believes in Christ. In His day, it was not accepted by the masses to make such an exclusive statement. Imagine the audacity of such a claim...if you believe in me, you will live even if you die. Most in His day rejected such a claim as was proven on the cross at Calvary. The unbelieving world had little tolerance for a man from Nazareth who claimed to hold eternal life in His hands.
The same is true in our day, isn't it? It is not widely accepted in 2018 to declare that eternal life is found only in the name of Jesus Christ. While our culture remains religious and tolerant of being "spiritual," when it comes to the exclusivity of the gospel, the battle lines are quickly drawn. The gospel message remains the same, however. Everlasting life is found in Christ and Christ alone.
2. A believer never truly dies
If His first assertion isn't difficult enough, the second is just as shocking. He says that whoever "believes in Me shall never die." Again, Jesus says this AT A FUNERAL. It takes true faith to believe that a person never truly dies when their heart stopped beating four days ago, and they have been placed in a tomb. How can this be true? After all, Lazarus hasn't taken a breath in one hundred hours.
Jesus makes clear that the one who believes in His name simply goes from life to life. As David said in Psalm 23, our forever-home is dwelling in the house of the Lord forever. While a person dies physically to enter into heaven, in the truest sense, they never truly die at all. A Christian lives for Christ while living on earth and is eventually called home to live in the house of the Lord forever. Jesus instructs those who will listen that by believing in His name, you never truly die.
We take comfort in knowing that there is really nothing man can do to us. Whether we live or die, we will do all things for the glory of God. We will live with faith and boldness knowing our eternity has been secured by Christ. We will live with hope and confidence knowing one day when our heart stops beating, we will be more alive in heaven than we have ever been while on earth.
So, rest in these promises:
-2 Corinthians 5:8 "Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord."
-Philippians 1:21 "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
-Philippians 1:23 "My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better."
-Matthew 5:12 "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven"
You can read part 1 -- "There is Design in the Delay" -- by clicking here.
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