John 11:25-16, NIV
Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do
you believe this?”
Jesus sometimes gave emphasis to his teaching by talking in riddles. A riddle deliberately poses a problem in terms that seem to be confusing, but which make the hearer think. A riddle often depends for its success on two different meanings of the same word.
Martha’s brother, Lazarus, had just died. In these verses, Jesus is making Martha think about what happens to a believer in Him after death. He poses a riddle for her to work out by saying that whoever believes in Jesus will live, even though he dies, and then saying that whoever believes in Him will never die. How confusing! How is it possible to both die and never die at the same time?!
The solution to the puzzle lies in two very different meanings of the word death – one is physical and the other is spiritual. All people were born into the death which is the inheritance of the human race because of the fall – both spiritual and physical death. For a believer, however, physical death is no longer the end. It is the beginning of a new era of life. But for an unbeliever, physical death is indeed a disaster – for it marks the end of the years of grace when someone may choose to become a believer.
For a believer, therefore, physical death is a gateway, a gateway to Life. So, even though believers still experience physical death, for them it is not to be feared. To be in Jesus means that even though one day our physical body will cease to function, we will never die. We have Jesus’s word for it! What wonderful news. Even though Jesus did raise Lazarus from his physical death, it was only for a season of time. When he died the next time he would go through that glorious gateway of Life!
Prayer: Thank you Jesus that in You I have eternal life and that I need not fear physical death. Increase my concern, Lord, for those I know who are not believers, so that I can play my part in introducing them to you, that they may also come to know the truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.