Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 (NIV)
Jesus had the power to bring the dead back to life. Compassion moved him to restore life to the only son of a widow, a daughter of a leader, and his good friend Lazarus. (Luke 7: 12, 8:53-54; John 11: 43-44) Jesus brought these people back to life but they were mortal and did eventually die again.
But Jesus’ claim to be the resurrection and the life refers to a life after death which is continuous and a body imperishable. Paul refers to the resurrected body as a heavenly, glorious, powerful, and spiritual in I Corinthians 15.
If Jesus did not rise from the dead himself with such a body our hope of resurrection and eternal life would be in vain—or as Paul states in the same chapter of I Corinthians, our faith would be futile, our preaching useless, our testimony false, and our lives pitiful. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, we are still dead in our sin without hope in this world.
But Jesus did rise and many saw him!
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. I Corinthians 15: 3-8 9 (NIV)
And those of us who await Jesus’ return have this same hope—
“I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishablemust clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” I Corinthians 15: 50-54 (NIV)
Belief in Jesus Christ is the key to receiving the grace of God—he is the resurrection and the life!
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”