Believest thou this?

John 11:25-26 is the most remarkable statement in all of the word of God. It identifies who Jesus is and what true believers experience. The passage ends with a question that we must all answer one way or another. Notice what the text says in John 1:25-26. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”[1] The setting of this passage is the time when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. As Jesus approaches the scene He finds that Lazarus has been in the grave for four days. Of course, this is no surprise to Jesus, who knew all along. When Lazarus’ sister, Martha, heard that Jesus was there she came to him and said that if He had been there sooner, her brother would not have died. Jesus told her that her brother will rise again. Martha said that she believed that he would rise again at the last day. But, Jesus wanted Martha to see that her brother would not have to wait until the last day. Jesus makes an amazing statement that reveals who He really is followed by a very sobering question. After His conversation with Martha, Jesus does something very miraculous, He raises Lazarus from the grave!

Who Jesus is. When Martha told Jesus that she believed Lazarus would rise again in the last day, Jesus responded by saying that He is the resurrection and the life. In other words, Martha, your brother does not have to wait until the last day because the resurrection is here right now. Lenski writes, “When Jesus is absent then resurrection and life are absent, when Jesus is present then resurrection and life are present. We should not separate the resurrection and the life, should not ask which is first, which second, which depends upon the other, or produces the other. These are not two, they are essentially one, even as Jesus is one. This one concept is expressed by two words, because we lack a term great enough to serve in place of the two. We must say “life” as the opposite of death, and “resurrection” as the annulment of death. Neither is without the other.”[2] Basically what Jesus was saying to Martha was that He is the embodiment of life. He is the opposite of death. Therefore, when Jesus is present, there is no death there is only life. “This appears when Jesus now speaks about the possession of himself, the resurrection and the life. Martha had only a small part of the truth when she spoke of the resurrection as an occurrence only at the last day. Jesus gave her the whole truth, not only by combining the resurrection with the life, but by identifying these with himself.”[3]

Those who believe. Jesus goes on to say that those who believe in Him though they are dead will live and those who lives and believes in Him will never die. An understanding of the original language is important here in interpreting this text. Basically what Jesus says is this: “He that believes in me, even if he dies, shall live; and everyone that lives and believes in me, in no way shall he die forever.” You see, when you believe on the Lord Jesus you are eternally set free from death. When the body of a believer ‘dies’, that body is only sleeping. The soul leaves the body and is immediately in the presence of God. Therefore, once you come to faith in Christ, you will never die. The opposite is true for those who do not believe on the Lord Jesus. If you do not come to faith in Christ, you will experience eternal death. When you leave this earth you spend an eternity separated from Christ who is life. Therefore, you will be in an eternal state of dying. However, for those who do believe, the Gospel becomes so much more beautiful. W.A. Elwell says, “The resurrection life is a present experience! Eternal life begins now for the person who trusts in Christ (vv. 25–26). The horror of death is gone (v. 26; cf. 3:16–21).”[4] Think about it. You do not have to wait until you get to heaven to experience resurrection life. That life began the moment you trusted in the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior. Therefore, as believers, we have the best of both worlds. We are living eternal life in Christ right now! This puts a whole new perspective on the Christian life. A relationship with Jesus does not just have future benefits, it has benefits right now! Through the power of the Gospel, those who believe on the Lord Jesus will be given a transformational life. The old self that was dying is gone and the new self that is living for eternity has begun.

Believest thou this? After explaining to Martha this amazing truth concerning himself and what is given to those who believe in Him, He then asks the question, ‘believest thou this?’ Lenski says, “To believe “this” is to believe what he says of himself and thus to believe “in him.” It is one thing to hear it, to reason and to argue about it; and quite another thing to believe, embrace, trust it. To believe is to receive, hold, enjoy the reality and the power of it, with all that lies in it of joy, comfort, peace, and hope.”[5] I ask you the same question that Jesus asked Martha, ‘do you believe?’ As that old camp song says, “Do you believe? Do you believe in Jesus? That He died for your sin and if you will receive Him, He will come and live within. Do you believe?”

[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Jn 11:25–26). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The interpretation of St. John’s gospel (pp. 800–801). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Elwell, W. A. (1995). Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, Jn 11:1). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[5] Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The interpretation of St. John’s gospel (p. 803). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.

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