Resurrection of my body, after death, will happen. So is the eternal life I have right now as a follower of Jesus. They are not mutually exclusive. I have one now, and the other later. It is “yes / and”.
By His teaching, His miracles, and His own resurrection, Jesus clearly taught the resurrection of the human body. He has declared once for all that death is real, that there is life after death, and that the body will one day be raised by the power of God.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?
He transformed this teaching in a second way: He took it out of a book and put it into a person, Himself. “I am the resurrection and the life”! (John 11:25) While we thank God for what the Bible teaches (and all Martha had was the Old Testament), we realize that we are saved by the Redeemer, Jesus the Messiah, and not by a doctrine written in a book. When we know Him by faith, we need not fear the shadow of death.
- When you are sick, you want a doctor and not a medical book or a formula.
- When you are being sued, you want a lawyer and not a law book.
- Likewise, when you face your last enemy, death, you want the Savior and not a doctrine written in a book. In Jesus the Messiah, every doctrine is made personal.
- When you belong to Him, you have all that you ever will need in life, death, time, or eternity!
But perhaps the greatest transformation Jesus performed was to move the doctrine of the resurrection out of the future and into the present. Martha was looking to the future, knowing that Lazarus would rise again, and she would see him. Her friends were looking to the past and saying, “He could have prevented Lazarus from dying!” (John 11:37) But Jesus tried to center their attention on the present: wherever He is, God’s resurrection power is available now.
Jesus affirmed that believers would one day be raised from the dead. Then He immediately revealed the added truth that some believers would never die (and it is a double negative, “never never die!”) (John 11:26).
How is this possible? The answer is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 18. When Jesus the Messiah returns in the air to take His people home, those who are alive at His coming shall never die. They shall be changed and caught up to meet Him in the air!
- John 11:25–26 — 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
- Daniel 12:3 — 3 “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
- Luke 20:35–36 — 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
- John 5:24–25 — 24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.