“From death to life” is some of the most powerful words a person can hear. Death is the worst thing in our world, and the Bible tells us it came through sin. I have had the privilege of doing many funerals and memorials, all of which are extremely difficult because death really just sucks. However, there is a big difference in the hope one has when a believer dies than when a non-believer dies. I love to proudly proclaim at a believer’s funeral, “Heaven is a real place for real people, and (the person who has died) is alive and well, walking the streets of gold.” In 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, Paul tells us to comfort one another with these thoughts, and if I can bring comfort to someone at a funeral, that is a win. Hopefully, I can also show someone that Heaven is attainable only through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In John chapter 11, we see a funeral for Lazarus. His sisters Mary and Martha along with the whole town are mourning his death. These three siblings were close to Jesus, so much so that in verse 35 we see Jesus weeping for their hurt seeing and feeling the pain that death inflicts on humanity. Even knowing that in just a few minutes He would be raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus still wept.
Jesus makes a statement to Martha in verses 25 and 26 saying, “Jesus said to her, ‘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?’” Jesus is not only proclaiming this truth to Martha, but also to the world and the enemy that He has full authority given to Him and only through Him can someone find life. John 14:6 compliments this exact statement “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
Death is appointed to all human beings, but Jesus brings hope into the world. We have a chance to go from death to life, and only through His resurrection can we be resurrected. The world has tried to come up with other ways or other thoughts on death. People run from reincarnation to the do good and you can earn your way to heaven thoughts, but none of these are truth. Jesus said all the way back in Exodus, “I am.” I Am means authority. I Am means truth. I Am the resurrection means that Jesus identifies as the way, and the only way, to go from death to life.
Death does not have to sting. We can celebrate the home-going of a child of God. In Philippians, the Apostle Paul says “Death is gain,” meaning that we should long to go from death to life. When we die as children of God, covered by the blood of Jesus, we awake to life eternal. Jesus was clearly explaining to Martha that He was in control of who dies and who lives, not this broken system of this world. Death can truly be devastating. I hate it and will always hate it. The reason we experience it is sin, but Romans 6:23 gives us hope in the darkness. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The “I am” is that gift and I Am (Jesus) has authority over death and is our way from death to life.