“I Am the Resurrection and the Life”

Jesus previously spoke of the resurrection as an event that would take place on “the last day” (6:39-40, 44, 54; cf. 12:48). He now affirms, with his fifth “I am + predicate” pronouncement, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

In John 5, Jesus said that he has the divine power to raise and judge the dead (5:21-24), and in John 6, he repeatedly affirmed that he will resurrect those who believe in him (6:40, 44) and eat his Eucharistic flesh (6:54).

Jesus now elaborates on his identity as the resurrection and the life, speaking in both physical/literal and spiritual/figural senses. Jesus first says “whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.” Believers in Jesus will die physically, but on account of their faith and relationship with Christ, they will continue to live spiritually. Jesus gives the gift of eternal, eschatological life to those who receive him with faith and discipleship. This gift of Jesus continues to vivify believers beyond bodily death.

He makes a second, similar claim, “everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” Those who are physically alive and believe in Jesus will be delivered from spiritual death. Jesus does not deny the general resurrection of the dead, for he is the one who will raise and judge the dead on the last day (cf. 5:27-29). But these final, eschatological realities are spiritually linked to the decisions that people make in the present. By identifying himself as “the resurrection and the life,” Jesus establishes the raising of Lazarus as the sign which demonstrates these truths about himself and his divine power.

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5 Comments

Filed under biblical interpretation, biblical theology, Bill Wright, Gospel of John

5 responses to ““I Am the Resurrection and the Life”

  1. Dim Bulb

    Is this from the forthcoming volume on John in the CCSS?

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  4. Peter S. Williamson

    Yes, this excerpt is from the initial draft of the Gospel of John volume by Fr. Francis Martin and Dr. Bill Wright.

    • Dim Bulb

      Thanks, Doctor Williamson.
      The Epistle to the Ephesians has always fascinated me, and I have studied it, and commentaries on it, with some intensity. These commentaries range from simplistic to scholarly, and my experience has been that the market is bloated with both extremes. Your commentary, I believe, provides a very useful stepping stone between the two extremes. I can assert the same concerning the other commentaries available in the CCHS as well.

      I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you and all those associated with the CCSS for providing these commentaries. I’ve read all those currently available and have no qualms about recommending them to others.

      Now, if only we could get a Catholic commentary on the OT to serve the same function as the CCSS.

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