From Death to Life

By: Joseph H. Murray

   “Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:23–26).

   Jesus was not speaking of carnal things here, but was speaking spiritually. Yet, the things He said could be applied to the natural.

   Mary and Martha, naturally, were thinking in terms of the death of their brother Lazarus, who had laid in the tomb four days. They were thinking of the raising up of the body, and on the other hand, Jesus was thinking and speaking of the resurrection of men dead in their trespasses and sins. In the Spirit, Jesus was saying, I am here to raise you, Martha and Mary, from the dead. And henceforth, continuing to believe in me, ye shall never die. Believest thou this?

   The sole purpose of Jesus coming into the world was to bring life to dead man, for He said these words in John 10:10: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

   No man, no matter how avidly desirous he may be, can receive a gift until it is given to him. Nor could the followers of Jesus receive the life that was in Him until it was given them. Jesus said in John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.”

   “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:26–29).

   Jesus said in John 6:48, “I am that bread of life.” Again He said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us His flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:51–54).

   Now we know, and all sensible people will agree, that the wine that Jesus poured and gave the disciples to drink and the bread that he brake and gave them to eat was not His natural body nor His natural blood, for His flesh was still on His bones, and His blood still ran warm in His veins. And yet, He tells these Jews in John the 6th chapter that they must eat it or “have no life in you” (verse 53). Since we see that the wine and the bread partaken of by the disciples were not really His flesh and blood, we know that it was symbolic of something else yet to be given to them. And, if it had been the flesh and blood of Jesus, it still would not have given them “life”.

   When Jesus saw that He had offended them by His saying, He said to them, “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before?” In my understanding, He is saying to them, Suppose you see me go away into Heaven taking this flesh and blood with me? What then? Then again, we hear His words, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).

   “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:1–3).

   We can only know God through the revelation of the Spirit and that through proper channels and by proper steps. Jesus said, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27).

   The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the Corinthians as to how one can know the Son in His lordship: “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost" (1Cor. 12:3).

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