Biblical Favorites by Jim Lewis
It is quite evident from reading the various accounts of the resurrection appearances of Jesus that His followers did not anticipate that He would be raised from the dead. The women going to the tomb had the ointments and garments to give Him a final burial. When Peter was told that Jesus was not in the tomb he had to run and see for himself. They should have expected the tomb to be empty instead of being surprised that it was.
After all these years it is still difficult for human beings to believe in the resurrection as a fact. Many are willing to accept it as a matter of their faith. They would quote Jesus in speaking to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Yet they do not have the faith that they will ever see or experience such an event for themselves. Jesus told His disciples and others many times during his ministry that he would be experiencing the death and resurrection but they did not grasp what he was saying. One of the most outstanding preliminary experiences that should have taught them something was the raising of Lazarus. When Jesus received word of Lazarus’ death he did not rush to Bethany. He deliberately waited. He told his disciples that Lazarus’ death would glorify God. It would also glorify Jesus, the Son of God. When Jesus arrived in Bethany he was met by Martha who cried out that her brother would not have died if Jesus had been there. Jesus said her brother would rise from the dead. She said she knew he would at the “last day.” But Jesus meant that day, not some day in the future as many Christians still hope and long for today. It was at this time that Jesus made one of his most dynamic statements about life. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life; He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25) He then continued with, “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:26)
Jesus asked Martha if she believed this. She said she did but it is doubtful if she even understood what He was talking about. Instead of staying with Jesus she ran home to tell Mary that Jesus had arrived. Mary went to Jesus and he had to repeat what he had said to Martha. He asked them to take him to the tomb. When they arrived at the tomb Jesus told them to have the stone rolled away from the entrance to the tomb. Martha objected, saying that her brother had been dead four days and that there would be an unpleasant odor. She still did not realize what Jesus was trying to tell her. They had the stone rolled away from the entrance. Jesus then spoke to Lazarus saying, “Lazarus, come forth.” It must have been quite a surprise and a shock for them to see Lazarus come out of that tomb. Jesus then said, “Loose him and let him go.” We too need to be released, released in consciousness from our human conceptions about life and death. Most of us are in a tomb of bondage to the human viewpoint. Most people believe that death is inevitable and that it is a part of God’s plan for their lives. The truth is, death is an unnatural experience and was brought about by man, not by God.
The “I AM” is God’s Spirit speaking through Jesus. This same “I AM” is within every person. It is the power of resurrection, for it is the power of God, the power of life and regeneration. The statement that Jesus made is in two parts. The first part states, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” Jesus is saying that there will be those who can believe in the resurrection and the power and ability within each individual to overcome death. They will believe or know that it is God’s will for them to experience the translation. But they will not be able to demonstrate it in their lives at the present time. Charles Fillmore believed this but he did not make it this time. Though we believe, we are still under the influence of human consciousness that believes that death is inevitable. But Jesus is saying that even though the individual may die, he or she should take heart for they will continue to live. They will live in a psychic body. And if you can accept it, they will eventually live again in another physical body. The soul will come back again to build the Temple, the body, the eternal, indestructible abiding place of God. In truth, each individual will have many opportunities to achieve the ultimate that Jesus expressed in the second part of His statement.
The second part reads, “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” The first states only “believes.” The second states, “lives and believes.” For Jesus, “to live” is to have existence in a body. To live is not just to exist as a human being with all human limitations. To live is to have mastery through a spiritual relationship with God as Jesus did. On another occasion Jesus said, “He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24) You will note that Jesus said “believes in Him who sent me” and not believing in Jesus the personality. In another translation the word for judgment is translated as “condemnation.” The implication here is that death is a further limiting experience and therefore should be overcome.
There will be many opportunities for all to learn to live. Many will seek to learn as soon as possible. They will not be influenced by human doubt. They may not make it right away, in this lifetime, but one day, if they are faithful to this great vision of eternal life, they will make it. They will not only believe, but they will live and express their belief. They will no longer experience the rounds of death and birth. They will be free of human bondage.
This will be the true “born again” experience. Many who think they have had a “born again” experience have not had the real thing. Jesus was talking about this with Nicodemus and He said, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) In other words, one who has learned to live as well as believe will no longer experience death. They will not be limited by this physical world for they will be able to come and go as they please. When we read the Scriptures with an open mind we find that some of these advanced individuals have come to earth to help at various times.
This is a challenging lesson for us and it may take many attempts to achieve the translation experience. The human passions are under the persuasion of the personal ego. The human ego is filled with much doubt, skepticism, and pessimism. It will probably take many human existences for some to get to the place where they can just “believe.” There will be many who will waste their time saying that this is a lot of nonsense. The disciples and others, hearing about Jesus rising from the dead, at first said it was just an idle tale.
One day all will come to believe. That is the first step. Then another day they will achieve the living and believing state of consciousness that Jesus said was essential for the eternal life experience. In the day that the soul is illumined, in that day the body will be transformed or changed in form. It will not look like the present body. The new body will be a more streamlined body. There will be no pain, suffering or missing parts. It will not be limited in any way. In relating or comparing this new body to the wind, Jesus is telling us that the power of dematerialization and the ability to manifest the body wherever the individual may be guided will be one of the great powers of the regenerated individual.
Jesus knew that many of the people hearing these great ideas for the first time would be doubtful and skeptical. He said, “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12) Fantastic things are in store for you and me and for everyone who can rise above the human hesitancy and reluctance and learn to “live and believe.” That is the great mystery, the secret and dynamic power of Jesus Christ to rise from the tomb. It is his message of hope and inspiration for us today. We should look forward to the day of the translation experience when we too will no longer experience death.
© 1985, Jim Lewis
All rights reserved by the author.
Reprinted with permission.