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As we end our year in search of God’s Shadows, it is good to reflect on the most important fact a person can learn in their lifetime. The Book of Job is thought to be the oldest written word of Scripture. Job struggles with God, asking the most important question humanity can ask its Creator:

(Job 14:14)1NIV New International Version Translations – “If someone dies, will they live again?”

In the Gospel of John, there is the story of a man named Lazarus. He is the brother to Martha and to Mary, the young woman who poured perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiped it off with her hair. Lazarus is a friend of the Lord. Jesus even weeps at the news of his death (John 11:35). But in this story, we can find hope for humankind and an answer to Job’s question. Humans, because of their free will, failed to secure their eternal life with God by willfully separating themselves through disobedience (the great apple debacle). Their failure to love God more than themselves set in motion a finite life. Death now haunts humanity.

(Genesis 3:17-19) – “To Adam, he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, “You must not eat from it,” ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil, you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust, you will return.”

This passage shapes our understanding of death. Upon separation from God (Genesis 3:8), death became our destiny.

(John 11:25-26) – “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’”

John’s Gospel offers humanity hope. Jesus uses the word “life” to mean a resurrected life. Something different, something new, something we have not yet experienced. Jesus is telling Martha that even the one whose body is buried if they are a believer, will live despite their death. The believer will be resurrected. Jesus doesn’t end there; in the next verse, He speaks of one who lives and believes as never dying. Here “lives” is referring to eternal life. Remember that the Gospel of John was the last gospel written. John had watched Jesus and His ministry. He watched Lazarus come to life. John wanted to make sure that future Christians did not miss the point Jesus was making. Eternal life is not something that believers get in the future. Eternal life is something that believers have now! Even if the outer person dies, the believer will live as part of the outer Christ again since Jesus is the resurrection. Why? The believer already has eternal life in the inner Christ. What’s the catch? “Do you believe this?”

Humans are, by nature, dead from the moment of birth. Dead in the sense that our free will perverts our choices in life, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23). We are separated from God through sin. This is what our Bible teaches. The first resurrection, the resurrection of which Jesus speaks, takes place when we believe. Jesus is changing Martha’s outlook on her brother’s death. This should not be new or shocking to us. Adam and Eve were hiding from God in paradise after their great sin. God immediately instituted the plan for their recovery, to fellowship with God. In Genesis 3:21. “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” No more nakedness. In this moment of the first sin and first sacrifice, God’s plans are revealed. God knew at that moment how to fix everything through the incarnation of His Son, Jesus, and His sacrifice upon the Cross. The good news, it doesn’t end with the Cross.

There is the proverbial question of why did Jesus wait four days to come in order to bring Lazarus to life again? Where was His sense of urgency? He loved Mary and Martha. Why would Jesus let them have four days of utter grief and sorrow? “The world believes that there are different kinds of “dead:” there’s sort of dead, mostly dead, and all dead.2Quote taken from the movie, Princess Bride – quote no. 24” There was no doubt that by the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus was “all dead.” This would be the third time that Jesus spoke an “I AM” statement as part of a miracle. Jesus was the bread of life after He fed the five thousand. He was the light of the world after He healed the man born blind. Now, He is the resurrection and the life as He raises Lazarus from death. The implications of all of this for others would be that if you believe, you won’t be hungry, you won’t be in the dark, and, you will never die.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are brought into a new life. We will never die again. Our souls will live forevermore in fellowship with God. For Jesus to be the resurrection, He had to first defeat death. The empty tomb was Satan’s greatest defeat. “he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). Yes, from the moment of that first sin in Genesis, Satan’s days were numbered. Jesus Christ is Lord! This is because He defeated that ancient enemy: death!

The danger to all humanity is to miss the connection of Jesus to our lives. It isn’t just nice teaching. It is life-changing teaching. Why?

  • You are going to die someday – What will happen to you depends on how you answer Jesus’ question to Martha. Do you believe this? Not just do you believe that this is true, but do you believe this is true for you? Is your life now with Christ; is He your life?
  • All those we know, and love will die – It is going to happen, and it is going to hurt. We will grieve, we will weep. To an unbeliever, this is nonsense. Death is final. Faith makes all the difference. Do you believe this?
  • Death does not need to bring fear – God calls us to fight in this life for His Truth to become known. Our enemies will never stop attacking us. We are called to live with fortitude, strength, and courage in the Lord. Do you believe this?
  • Jesus is the Resurrection – We are not dead yet, are we? We are called to this life and the next life to be with Christ. We are called to live life and serve boldly with the Lord now and forever. Do you believe this?

The only New Year Resolution worth its salt is to BELIEVE!

Happy New Year


  • What are your greatest fears?
    • Ideas to Explore: Failure? Success? Judgment? Time? Death? Or maybe the unknown things that lie ahead?
  • Is it even reasonable to think about a life that comes after death?
    • Ideas to Explore: Where do our fears come from about death? Do people just ignore death, or do they even understand it? How will you understand it?
  • Do you believe Jesus died and came back to life? “Do you believe Him?”
    • Ideas to Explore: Jesus is trying to tell us that there is life after death. Why do so many people struggle with believing in Jesus? Would more evidence even help? 
  • The Scriptures are no ordinary set of writings. They are part history, part law, and part advice on how to live.  Could humanity write them without the inspired help from God?
    • Ideas to Explore: They are 6,000 years of writing. Is there anything equal to them? If humanity followed God’s Word and Truth, would we have a better world? Maybe even a perfect world? Why do so many people hate the thought of a Godly world?