Let’s read John 11:21-26: “Then Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this’?” (NKJV)

In this chapter we have the story of the death of Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary. Jesus was told that Lazarus was sick (verses 1-5) but He purposely waited until Lazarus had died before He went to Bethany where his funeral was taking place (verses 6-17). To Martha’s credit, she did believe that Jesus could have healed her brother had He come in time, but she did NOT realize that He could also RAISE THE DEAD. Yet she was confident that even now Jesus could call upon God and He would grant Him His request. To comfort Martha, Jesus says, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha had no idea that his resurrection would happen that day, so she responds like any orthodox Jew would respond by affirming her belief in the resurrection of the dead “at the last day.” Prior to this, the commonly-held belief was that there would be a “general resurrection of all the dead at the end of time.” Sadly, this is STILL the belief of many who call themselves Christians and we shall see that this belief falls woefully short of the truth.

Now we come to the verse in question. Jesus gives Martha a revelation that would correct her thinking, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” He is basically saying, “Martha, you won’t have to wait until the last day to see Lazarus rise from the dead, for I have the power of both RESURRECTION and LIFE and I’m going to raise him up today!”

In verse 26 He goes even further, “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” In those precious words the Lord anticipated the time when all believers will be raised and experience immortality. Again, this will NOT occur at the “last day”; it will happen when the Lord Jesus returns to take all believers home to glory. Let’s read what the Apostle Paul had to say about that in 1st Corinthians 15:51-54: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’.” Notice how this passage corresponds perfectly with John 11:25-26, for there are two classes of believers being raised, those who had died and seen corruption (like Lazarus) and those who will never die. The former will be raised from the grave and “put on incorruption” and the latter will be raised and “put on immortality.” All this will happen in a split second when the Lord Jesus, who is “the Resurrection and the Life,” returns to take His redeemed ones to heaven. I would encourage you to read John 14:1-3 (where Jesus promised to do this) and then 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18 (where the Apostle Paul gives us more details about this blessed event). (258.3) (DO)