Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Ever hear something like this? “Jesus was a great teacher and a great example. The world would be a better place if more people tried to live as he lived. I don’t subscribe to the idea that he was more than a human being, but that takes nothing away from my high regard for what a good person he was.”
Opinions like that have been around for quite some time. But as writer CS Lewis once pointed out, Jesus does not let people get away with opinions like this. Instead, Jesus confronts them with very pointed claims that he makes about himself. The Word of God before us in John chapter 11 is a perfect example. No mere teacher about God talks like this. No mere teacher about God makes such an outrageous claim. No mere teacher about God has the chutzpa to say, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live.
Confronted in this way, what are people to conclude? CS Lewis offered some possibilities. Perhaps Jesus was a liar. If that’s the case, however, no one has any business calling him good, especially since his followers willingly faced torture and death rather than renounce what Jesus claimed. Perhaps, then, Jesus was a lunatic, a madman with delusions of grandeur. Insanity, however, does not fit with the written record of how he consistently conducted his ministry.
And so if Jesus is not a liar, and if he is not a lunatic, what is he? The Holy Spirit brings us to another conclusion—that Jesus is exactly who he claims to be. He is God the Son, who became fully human. He came here to live a life of perfect goodness on our behalf. He came to suffer and die for our every sin. Then, to demonstrate who he is and what he’s accomplished, he raised himself to life three days later.
Do you believe this? Jesus asks. His gospel empowers you and me to say, “Yes.”
Lord Jesus, you are the resurrection and the life. Empower me to live and believe in you. Amen.