Jesus said to her, “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?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:25–27—NKJV)

We get so very busy with the clutter of everyday life that we only face the really monumental things when some major event intrudes directly in our path something of real significance. The pattern is the same whether it is the multiplied demands of parenting a son versus the focus on the overall plan for the day you fully release him to live on his own. Whether it is the pressure-packed burdens of everyday work versus the day your witness finally bears fruit and a fellow employee trusts Christ, salvages his marriage because of your godly advice, or thanks you for your consistent testimony. We tend to passively watch our devotional time gobbled up by the other “necessities” of the day and we rob ourselves of real meat in observing, meditating on, and anticipating the things God intentionally does.

Your own resurrection is a significant, God-sized action, but because it does not appear to be a likely event for you today, you quickly drop its relevance for you down to the bottom of your priorities list and your thoughts quickly go elsewhere. You are most likely to contemplate resurrection at someone else’s funeral, during a preaching service, when you get really sick, or when you get down to brass tacks on financial planning and making a will. Even in these instances, it still seems unlikely you will need resurrection today—yet what is more important to you except your soul’s salvation? The words of our Lord concerning resurrection are worthy of regular meditation.

Our passage recounts Jesus’ communication with Martha about resurrection at the event of the death of her brother, Lazarus. There had been much grief in the house at the loss of such a beloved brother. Our Lord was certainly not immune to grief’s salty taste for He counted Lazarus, Martha, and Mary among His closest friends and held each of them in loving esteem. He has arrived at the home of the two sisters and deceased brother so that He may call Lazarus and “wake him up” (verse 11). Lazarus had been buried for four days! So what was our Lord’s meaning with His words quoted above?

The Greek word for “resurrection” simply means to stand again—a very human desire. High on a toddler’s priority list is to stand and walk. Many bumps and bruises are gained along the way until he finally prevails and wreaks havoc upon his world. When a young man is striving for adulthood, he wants to “stand on his own two feet.” When we are required to meet a need, we rise to meet it. When we are introduced, especially on first meeting, we rise out of respect and create a first impression. When we grow weary, we retire to our beds for rejuvenating sleep so that we may arise again. When we are confined to our sick bed, we lie prostrate in weakness and standing is an effort. When we bury a loved one, we place their body reclined in a coffin, not because the soul is asleep but because he is absent from his body and his body appears to be at rest. For this reason we call the final resting place a cemetery—a sleeping place—awaiting resurrection day!

Now you have arrived at the same place Martha occupied when He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” He is the “I Am.” He is the Sovereign Lord who spoke and the earth was formed, and breathed the breath of life into the first man. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the One who “stands again” on the third day after His crucifixion and is alive today! Martha, you, and I need to be reminded of this.

With the same breath He asserts that anyone who lives and believes (prior to their death) in Him shall never—not ever—die. Though the body appears deceased to all who see it, the one who believes is alive. In token of this living truth, Christ will reunite him with his rebuilt body on resurrection day and cause him to stand again.

Martha affirmed her implicit faith in her Lord Jesus as the Christ of God. Are you prepared to stand before your Just Creator and give account? Have you made it a habit to remember every time you stand up each day that God is able to strengthen you to stand before a lost world, and that He will call you forth to stand on the Last Day? Though the body weakens and fails, may your faith strengthen and prevail! Trust and obey.