With everyone staring death in the face and smitten with grief, Jesus turns their eyes to Him and declares Himself to be death’s remedy. To validate His claim, almost as an object lesson, Jesus would raise Lazarus from the dead, calling him by name to come to Him. With that call Jesus gave Lazarus the ability to hear and come forth.
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25, NKJV)
Jesus wants to impress upon us that in Him there is life, and that life is ours through faith in Him. All of the various ways by which He communicates Himself tells us something about life. He is the Word who begets life, the Lamb who gives His life, the Bread that sustains life, the Light that leads to life, the Shepherd who comes that we might have life and have it abundantly. Later, He will describe Himself as the Vine with whom to be united brings life, growth, health, vitality, and fruitfulness.
Now in John 11, at a funeral no less, we learn the impact of what it means for Jesus to be life.
Jesus received word that His friend Lazarus had died. He traveled with His disciples to the funeral. He is greeted by Martha, the sister of Lazarus. The conversation dabbles around the edges. She tells Jesus if He had been there when Lazarus was sick he would not have died. Martha knows the power of Jesus.
Jesus does not disagree. He could indeed have prevented the death of Lazarus. He assures Martha that Lazarus would rise again. Martha expresses agreement. She knows that he will indeed rise again in the resurrection to come.
But then Jesus meets the issue of death head on. He tells Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26). Martha grasped the significance of His words: “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (John 11:27).