When C.S. Lewis’s wife Joy Davidman died, he picked up his pen as a way to process the pain of death in the book A Grief Observed. One of the most profound comments that Lewis made in his observation was that “No one ever told me that grief feels so much like fear”.
It seems that we all face this fear of death. Death is the greatest problem facing the human race. Death is the one thing that no one has lived to tell about. For this reason, I think Jesus’ claim to be “the resurrection and the life” is one of the most profound and powerful statements concerning His identity.
As we pick up in this narrative, Jesus is well on his way to Jerusalem, knowing that when he arrives he will face the cross. The religious leaders have their search lights out for Jesus, and he is not far away, and the shadow of the cross is in His sights. In this progression toward His own death, Jesus proclaims:
I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever.
Note that Jesus doesn’t just give life – He is life. Here is another way to think about it – everything would go on in a similar fashion of you or I were to die. It is not so with Jesus. His life is the necessary life and the source of all other life. Eternal life is so closely tied to Jesus that it is embodied in him and can be found only in relationship to him.
Therefore Jesus words, “believe in me” implies personal trust in Christ, Therefore, genuine faith in Christ is the only thing that brings people into true life. Jesus is literally saying, I am life. I am your only hope. Look to me, life, to find eternal life. Do you believe this? This is the most important question you will ever face.
Let’s return to C.S. Lewis. One of this most moving pieces he ever wrote was not published on paper or in books, but on the headstone of his beloved wife.
Like cast off clothes was left behind In ashes, yet with hope that she Re-born from holy poverty, In Lenten lands, hereafter may Resume them on her Easter day.
There is coming an Easter day for you and I. Jesus will call out for everyone that has believed in Him to come forth. Knowing that Jesus has power over death gives us the confidence that we will not face the full horror of death. This also gives us the confidence to face any enemy or fear. This puts our greatest problems of this life in perspective.
There is no sin too great. There is no circumstance too dark. There is no sorrow too deep, or no situation too bleak. If Jesus has power over death, can we not trust him with ten thousand other cares in this life? Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Jesus will never face death, ever.