John 11:26 whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
If we understand Jesus’ words in the previous verse to be a promise of life after death, here we have a promise of life without death.
How do you define death? No pulse? No breath? No brain activity? The medical definition seems to keep on moving. Many people view death as something final, the end of our existence. The body stops functioning beyond the point of repair or revival. It decays. There is no person left with whom to communicate or relate. He is dead.
Do you remember the warning God gave Adam and Eve about the forbidden fruit before the first sin? “The day you eat of it, you will surely die.” But they don’t choke on the fruit and buy the farm. Adam lives another 930 years! Was God lying? Did he change his mind?
No. Spiritually, biblically speaking, death has more to do with our relationship to God. After the fall Adam and Eve’s trust in God turns to terror. Their confidence turns to shame. They don’t run to embrace him in love. They run to hide from him in fear. They even dare to blame him for their sin! Ever since, fear and shame and even blame have infected the lives of their children, leaving them dead in their trespasses and sins.
Faith in Jesus brings us unending life even now. “Whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” Our pulses may stop and the monitors may register no brain activity anymore, but by forgiving our sins Jesus has given us a restored life with God that keeps right on going even after the body stops.
Remember poor Lazarus in the story of the rich man and poor Lazarus? His body dies, but angels come and they escort his soul to heaven. Remember Jesus’ promise to the thief on the cross next to him? “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” Those who live and believe in him have never lived closer to Christ than when they leave their bodies behind. Their souls rest in the peaceful country above where there is no death. All that is left for Jesus to do is to raise their bodies and gather them above.
That is no hoax. Nor is it a matter of mere curiosity, a story that amazes for a minute, and then we can go back to what we were thinking about before. Jesus IS the Resurrection, and he is our promise of life that never ends.