Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
This scripture has Jesus speaking with Martha. I really identify with Martha and feel like she got a bad rap. It’s all Mary this, and Mary that, and Oh, look at Mary following Jesus’ teaching while Martha gets a meal ready. You know what? Mary could have raised a hand to help and then they would have both had time to sit listen to Jesus. But that is another verse for another day.
Still, Jesus is speaking to Martha after the death of her brother, Lazarus. The verses before this verse are another reason I love Martha:
21“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
First she yells at Him and then she says she still believes that He and God can answer her prayers to save her brother. See? Isn’t that cool? This woman adored Jesus. She loved Jesus. But she could still get angry at Him. She could still yell at Him and she could still believe.
Our church showed a video about the book of John. Desmond, one of the hot guys from Lost played Jesus in the video, and just like God now looks like either George Burns or Morgan Freemon, Henry Ian Cusick is now my image of Jesus.
Jesus tells Martha, “23…Your brother will rise again.”
While on the surface this is a very straightforward and simple message, John 11:25-26 has caused me and a lot of my friends a lot of consternation. In this scripture, Jesus is basically telling Martha that if people believe in Him, they will live forever, and that people who do not believe in Him will not live forever.
I live in a very Jewish community and have some dear Jewish friends. I also have a lot of friends and family who are, as we say, “unchurched” who, according to this verse, will not go to Heaven. This causes me great distress. I have spoken about this at length with my bible study group and we do not know how to react to this scripture.
On one hand, it offers me and my fellow believers great comfort in knowing that we have something better to look forward to. On the other hand, it causes us great pain when we think of those we love who will not see Eternity. I come from a Southern Baptist background and this verse is something that many (dare I say, “all” SBs) believe defines Christianity. And at times, I think this verse can be highly divisive among friends of different faiths.
I wish that I had more comforting words to offer you, but I don’t. This is a challenging scripture. I had considered hitting the “refresh” on my random scripture generator site, but I felt it was cheating. Perhaps you may have some enlightening (and comforting) thoughts to add to this discussion. Biblegateway.com does offer some commentary on the entire chapter here.