By David ReayWednesday 22 May 2019
Read John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (NRSV)
This is one of many paradoxical sayings of Jesus. He says we die and yet we live, and adds that we never die. How to make sense of this?
He is speaking on the occasion of the death of his friend Lazarus. He is assuring his listeners that while death is a reality there is another reality. We die and yet we live…as he will illustrate when Lazarus is brought back to life, and even more significantly, when he himself comes back to life.
None of us can avoid dying: we are mortal. Our minds and bodies eventually give up. But we can choose to come alive again after we die. Death is a sad reality which caused even Jesus to weep. But there is a greater reality: those who belong to Jesus by humble trust in his mercy are ushered by him into new life after our present life ceases.
Jesus conquers death and so we, in union with him, also conquer death. With one hand he has burst open the door which separates us from God, and with the other hand he holds on to us, and brings us into God’s everlasting presence.
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For those who so trust in Jesus, death is the end of one chapter of the story, not the end of the story itself. Because of Jesus, death need not be fatal.