Everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life,
and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.
Publicize claim that you possess a remedy to ensure longer life and you will attract scores of eager shoppers. Fortunes have been made selling vitamins, elixirs, and advice. What makes these services appealing is that they promise longevity without the need for God.
The latest miracle is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, tenderly known as ObamaCare, which has raised the hopes of thanatophobites across America. Insurance: the secret to immortality! There are others who put their trust in science. Biotechnology will ultimately conquer death. Life extension is achieved through advances in biochemistry or the harvesting of vital organs. Certain scientists, futurists, and philosophers predict that technical breakthroughs will eventually lead to the absence of human aging. “Scientism is the new superstition, reverence for the white lab coat having replaced respect for the priest’s surplice [i].”
People want a long and prosperous earthly existence, but they want something beyond this material reality too. There are few who want to leave this life, and those who do are motivated to embrace death by rickety hope of a happier hereafter; the usual method is self-execution or jihadism. Gullible men trusting these suicide schemes lack a back-up plan if the result falls short of the superior afterlife that was envisioned. An improved existence beyond suicide or jihad is not what await the self-murderers, or even a state of nonexistence, but an unsympathetic reality, horrendous beyond words of description.
But there is one promise that comes with a remarkable guarantee: Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” What is the guarantee? Jesus Himself came back to life as proof that He conquered death. He lives; therefore His people live.
Despite arguments attesting that Jesus did not rise from the dead, no challenger has ever effectively explained the missing Body in the tomb. Was His body stolen as some suggest? This theory is unworkable due to the fact that the Lord’s tomb was protected by armed soldiers. Are we to believe that a company of laborers pulled the massive stone away from the tomb entrance while the guards were not looking? Jesus’s disciples were cowards and therefore too timid to undertake a courageous rescue mission. The followers of Jesus were at the time of Jesus’s death hiding in secret. Only later, after numerous post-resurrection appearances, seeing Jesus in the flesh – touching Him and eating with Him – did the cowards, now daring preachers of the faith, willingly take risks that cost them their lives. It is impossible that they could have persisted in affirming the resurrection of Jesus had the Lord not actually returned from the dead. Thomas, for one, was no longer doubting; rather he became bold – a man of unflinching courage. Peter, who previously denied Christ, is only a short time later preaching the resurrection in the open square and on the temple steps. How do you account for these transformations?
There is another impractical theory. Its argument is so weak that it is hardly heard from anymore. But we will review it since arguments of this kind seem to resurface every 20-30 years. It goes like this: Did Jesus simply recover from His injuries and walk out on His own? Speculation of this sort requires enormous faith. It certainly does not stand up to investigation. To begin with, the steps taken by the executioners to ensure that Jesus was physically dead could not be more painstaking and complete. The Roman death squad plunged a spear in His side to ensure they had fulfilled their duty. And does anyone truly believe that Jesus was lying for hour after hour with no medical attention in a cold tomb where he was able to free Himself from yards of grave clothes, weighed down with pounds of burial spices, and then walked miles on wounded feet?
So where is Jesus’s Body? Archeologists have located the remains of Caiaphas, the Lord’s antagonist; yet no one has found the bones of Jesus. Certainly the Jewish authorities or the Romans could have ordered a massive search and found the cadaver in a small district like Jerusalem. But no search was authorized because all knew that the inevitable miracle that had been predicted over and over again by Jesus Himself had ultimately occurred. Jesus conquered death! He now lives forever; therefore His followers will live with Him forever.
Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this [ii]?
- I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies [iii].
- For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life [iv].
- He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him [v].
- … whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life [vi].
- Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life [vii].
- For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day [viii].
- Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life [ix].
- Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life [x].
- I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand [xi].
- This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent [xii].
- When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed [xiii].
One would think that this good news would capture the attention of every man woman and child that ever heard the Gospel. Why isn’t the world demanding to know where and how to sign up? Look! There is no cost in securing this eternal life, for the price is fully paid by another Man.
So why are there no consumers? Why is Jesus’s resurrection not worthy of front page news? Should the cancer doctor advertise free diagnosis and treatment the hospital beds would be always full. If the cardiac surgeon offers door-to-door no-cost exams and surgeries without charge the good doctor would have every ailing heart in the world seeking aid. Is there any doubt that attorneys touting pro bono services for death row inmates there would be countless requests from prisoners across the globe?
The Scripture answers these questions for us: Men want to live forever, but not with God.
Due to man’s state of sin and rebellion he has lost all ability to choose eternal life through the cross. Man possesses a fixed bias of will against Jesus Christ and instinctively and willingly turns against Him. How can man repent of His sins when he loves it? Man’s love for sin is so great that He actually hates God. Jesus said, “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil [xiv]” and “… are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life [xv].”
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
Fallen man sees nothing desirable in Jesus as Lord and Savior. He may admire Jesus as a man, but wants nothing to do with Him as God, Redeemer, Creator or King. Fallen man resists the cross as the way to eternal life. He therefore rejects God’s plan of salvation. How will anyone escape the penalty of death by rejecting so great a salvation [xvi]?
When the saving power of the cross is presented to the unregenerate man, he may have an intellectual knowledge of the facts, but lacks spiritual discernment of Christ’s excellence and perfection and indescribable mercy; he therefore finds no delight in the cross or the teachings of Christ.
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Men want to live forever, but not with God. They will get their wish.
If you are interested in knowing more about obtaining the eternal life offered by Jesus Christ, contact a pastor at a church near you. Click here to find a local congregation.
NOTES AND CITATIONS:
[i] Gerald Warner, The Telegraph UK.
[ii] John 11:26
[iii] John 11:25
[iv] John 3:16
[v] John 3:36
[vi] John 4:14
[vii] John 5:24
[viii] John 6:40
[ix] John 6:47
[x] John 6:68
[xi] John 10:28
[xii] John 17:3
[xiii] Acts 13:48
[xiv] John 3:19
[xv] John 5:40
[xvi] Hebrews 2:3