JESUS IS THE RESURRECTION
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this” (John 11:25-26 NKJV)?
The passage above is one of Jesus’ seven I Am sayings in the Bible. Through these sayings, He revealed his divinity to his listeners; as was the case here during his conversation with Martha who was the sister of Lazarus in a town called Bethany. His (Lazarus) sisters (Martha & Mary) had sent for Jesus to come and heal their brother while he was sick and alive. Jesus got the invite; but intentionally delayed. It was too late when he showed up; in her pain of grief, Martha said to him; “…Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died (John 11:21).
Life after death is a debatable topic. The uncertainty of life after death is heightened by many beliefs with different point of views. For example, some people look at life as cyclical whereby we are born to die and reborn many times; some also look at life by seeing death as the ultimate terminator of human existence; this means, there’s no life after death – we are born to live and die. However, Biblical Christianity teaches that, life has a beginning in this world and an end in the other world. This means, there’s life after death; and that, everyone who dies will resurrect after death – some, spending eternity in heaven, and some in hell fire.
The logical question one may ask is, why would a loving, merciful and gracious God allow some of his own creation to go to hell fire and suffer? The truth is, God’s desire is that all mankind will spend eternity with him in heaven; provided we all believe in his Son Jesus Christ, who was given as a sacrificial lamb to shed his blood for the remission of our sins. John wrote; For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16-17).
Man is more than flesh and blood – all human beings are both physical and spiritual; in other words, we all have flesh and souls (spirits). Our flesh houses our souls. We see, feel, taste, smell, hear, talk, think, touch etc as we are enabled by our flesh. The soul is a spirit which cannot be touched or seen. Both the flesh and the soul are united as one but different entities within our bodies; which gives us our individual identity and peculiarity. Death separates the soul from the flesh; we die because the soul has left the body. Paul wrote; For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked… 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:1-2 & 9-10).
It is on the basis of our appearance before God to face judgment that Jesus said; And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die (John 11:26a). Here, we see Jesus talking about security and investment; our souls need to be secured in the bosom of God when we die. For this to happen, there’s the need for each one of us to make spiritual investment in heaven for the sake of our souls. Naturally, most of us try to invest in our physical wellbeing to the neglect of our souls. The time we put into taking care of our bodies – eating well, exercising, planning for our future by saving some money or establishing some business. All this are laudable and worthy objectives; but if we do so without doing same for our souls, we will regret after death.
In his parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus drove home the importance of investing in our souls when he said; 16 “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:16-21).
Most of us would often see lifeless human bodies either at funeral homes or elsewhere. Such a picture would not tell us much about how that individual lived his or her life. On the contrary, people who have seen those in the process of dying could make their own personal conclusions about how that individual had lived their lives. This is based on the following observations: 1. Some people who are in the process of dying would face death gracefully with peace and contentment; knowing that, they have lived a fulfilled live, and are willing to die. 2. Others would face death with fear and sense of unpreparedness; such people wish they had more time to finish their earthly duties. 3. Some would face death with sense of guilt wearing on their faces; such individuals had wished they had the opportunity to right some wrongs they’ve done to some people while they lived.
In some cultures, it is a taboo to talk about death; because, they see it as a bad omen. But whether we talk about death or not, it’s inevitable. We will one day die and after that, we are going to meet God, our Maker; where he will judge us according to how we lived our lives in this world. If we want to escape hell fire, it’ll be great, if we heeded to Jesus response to Martha and invest our souls into his care; for he spoke the truth when he said; “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25-26).
In conclusion, let us reflect on Charles Wesley’s hymn: LOVE DIVINE, ALL LOVE EXCELLING
1. Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.
2. Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into every troubled breast!
Let us all in thee inherit;
let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.
3. Come, Almighty to deliver,
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.
4. Finish, then, thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee;
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.
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