Not unto Death

Michelle Christy

Read: John 11:1-44

I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live. (v. 25)

I read John 11 shortly after my breast cancer diagnosis. God spoke to me from verse 4, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God.” Could I trust this as God’s word for me? I wondered, “What if I die? What about God’s word then?” In my heart’s wrestling, I resolved in death or life that I would live, and my cancer could bring glory to God.

When Jesus sees death at work, he delivers death’s defeat. Martha knows if Jesus had not delayed, Lazarus would be alive. She believes Lazarus will rise again on the last day. Yet Jesus turns Martha’s attention to the present and to himself. Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life.” “I am” is present tense. Martha has no idea Jesus intends to raise Lazarus from death to life as a foretaste of his own death and resurrection—death’s defeat. “Death is swallowed up in victory . . . O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:54-55).

Whatever the illness, the issue, or the struggle, it need not ultimately lead to death. In Christ Jesus, life begins eternal the day we believe and receive him. Resurrection and life is a person—Jesus. Resurrection and life is the present tense, “I am.” Jesus is available today. “Neither death nor life . . . will be able to separate us from the love of . . . Christ” (Rom. 8:38-39). —Michelle Christy

Prayer: In life or death, Jesus, you are our resurrection and life this very day.