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Eternal life through Christ

Listen to Jesus Himself deal with this issue of our destiny—what will happen when we die. In John 11:25-27, speaking to Martha at the grave of her brother Lazarus, Jesus said, “‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she told him, ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.’” Jesus said this to comfort Martha (and her sister Mary) after their brother had died, acknowledging that Lazarus would rise on Judgment Day. Yet Jesus went one step further. He didn’t wait until Judgment Day; Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead that very day, proving He was the Christ, the Son of God, and the Resurrection and the Life.

Interestingly, Lazarus has two tombs on the planet. One is in Bethany, not far from Jerusalem in Israel. That town is now called Azariyeh or Lazariyeh, meaning “the place of Lazarus,” to mark this significant event. The other tomb is on the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea. It says, “Lazarus, bishop of Larnaca. Four days dead. Friend of Jesus.” This inscription fits the account in John that he was Jesus’ friend (John 11:1-3), and that he was dead for four days (John 11:38). But even more amazing is the fact that Lazarus did indeed live after his first death! His second tomb is a testimony to that fact. Therefore Lazarus is a reminder to all of us that Jesus has conquered death, because He is the Resurrection and the Life.

Notice that Jesus called Himself the Resurrection, and not the Reincarnation. We are not reincarnated, with our soul returning to live in another body. Ecclesiastes 12:7 says that our body “returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” Furthermore, Hebrews 9:27-28 says, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” The Bible says we die once and then face God’s judgment, either having faith in Christ as Savior or not.

On Judgment Day, facing an eternity either with God or without Him depends on our faith, or lack thereof, in Christ. In John 3:16-18 Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

The Apostle John wrote the same thing in 1 John 5:11-13. It says, “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

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June 19, 2018

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