Going From Abstract to Concrete

Going From Abstract to Concrete

John 11:25-26 must be among the most comforting passages in all the Bible! Jesus said, “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?” Of course, the context of these verses has to do with the death of Lazarus. Jesus especially talking to Martha at this moment. These verses are all about going from the abstract to what’s concrete. The amount of specificity is astounding in the passage! Here are six truths to consider.

There’s a PERSON – Jesus refers to Himself as “I am” (cf. Ex. 3:14; Jn. 10:11-18; 14:6). Throughout the gospel of John, the Lord’s deity and His humanity are affirmed (cf. John 1:1-3; 14-18; 20:28). There is something absolutely exclusive about the Person of Jesus! We dare not be indecisive and ambiguous about Christ.

There’s a PROMISE – Jesus as God seeks to give “resurrection” and “life.” He can do this because He has power over death and is the Source and Giver of life (Jn. 10:10; Heb. 2:9-14). “Life” is one of the keywords in the gospel of John. In this book, there’s no real quality of life apart from Jesus. But just as important there is no quantity of life – no eternal life – without Him. So many people need to hear of “the life” that can only be found in Jesus (cf. Jn. 20:30-31).

There’s a CONDITION – Jesus says “belief” is the condition and He speaks of it three times! There’s no question that “belief” saves; the real issue has to do with what this “faith” looks like. This “belief” involves trust, great joy, and obedience. Such belief has Jesus as its object, the will of Jesus as its content and pleasing Jesus as its intent. See Galatians 5:6 and James 2:14-26. The motivation for this faith is love for Jesus while the demonstration of it is in humble obedience (Jn. 14:15). The people of God must be very clear in speaking about what “belief” in Jesus truly entails today (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:36-38). 

There’s a POSSIBILITY – Jesus says that potentially “whoever” and “anyone” can know Him and His promise through faith. God would have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). But Jesus also acknowledged not all would (Jn. 5:39-40). The gravity and seriousness of this matter cannot be overlooked!

There’s a DESCRIPTION – Jesus speaks of a person who believes, though they die, yet shall they live on the one hand and then of one who lives and believes in Him never dying on the other. You have “believe,” “die” and “live” in one phrase, and you have “lives,” “believes” and “never die” in the other. Surely this is another way of stating what is elsewhere found in Philippians 3:10 and Revelation 2:10. There’s nothing ambiguous about the nature of the relationship described by Jesus. It’s in Him. It’s living and real!

There’s a QUESTION – Jesus asked Martha, “Do you believe this?” This remains one of the most important questions in all the world. And it’s one we need to ask others and to positively answer ourselves. Jesus wasn’t abstract but concrete in what He said. Are we? Everything depends on how we answer! 


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