Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” (NLT)
Death is part of life. It is not morbid or miserable to consider the fact of death. We all die, we all relate to those who have lost someone through death. Good and bad people die; people of all faiths or no faith die. But when it comes to the Christian faith, there is a difference.
Jesus tells us that those who entrust themselves to him will live beyond death. They die, but they live again, just as Jesus himself did. When he tells Martha that such people never die, he is referring to another sort of death, an eternal estrangement from God who is the source of all true life.
We all die, in that our brains cease to function and our hearts stop beating. But those who belong to Jesus are spared that second sort of death. We physically die, but because of our faith connection with Jesus, we go on living with new bodies in the new heavens and the new earth. In other words, we share Jesus’ own experience: mortal life, then physical death, then resurrected life.
Belonging to Jesus doesn’t quarantine us against grief. Jesus himself wept after saying these words. We still suffer loss, still shed tears, but look forward confidently to being with Jesus in that place beyond all tears. Faith in Jesus doesn’t have us avoid death, it simply means death is no longer fatal.