Jesus’ Seven ‘I AM’ Statements in John (5)


Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life… (John 11:25)

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). Jesus knew that the culmination of His earthly mission had arrived, and He was determined to see it through to the end. His journey up to Jerusalem took Him by way of Jericho where He healed the blind man, Bartimaeus (Luke 18:35-43), and “saved” the publican (tax collector), Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10).

While there, possibly in Zaccheaus’ home, Jesus received word that His good friend, Lazarus, had fallen deathly ill. “Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick” (John 11:3). Bethany (John 11:1), where Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, lived, was just up the road from Jericho about a day’s walk. Answering the call would not have distracted Jesus from His determination to face the cross. Bethany was on the way up to Jerusalem, but “When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was” (John 11:6, emphasis mine). That seems like a strange reaction for the compassionate Jesus to take with regard to a “friend.”

“When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (John 11:4). In reality, Lazarus probably died shortly after the delegation departed Bethany. It took them a day to arrive in Jericho. Jesus remained another two days before making trip up to Bethany, plus the day to travel there – four days. When Jesus arrived in Bethany, He was informed that Lazarus had been dead four days (John 11:39). Did Jesus err in His assessment that “This sickness is not unto death”? No, Jesus, in His omniscience, knew the situation perfectly. The delay would glorify the Son and bring glory to God. John points out that “Jesus loved Martha, and her sister [Mary], and Lazarus” (John 11:5), yet He delayed His departure.

When the day came to depart, Jesus’ disciples, vaguely knowing what awaited Him, tried to dissuade Him from going up to Jerusalem. “His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?” (John 11:8), but Jesus knew what He was doing. “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep” (John 11:11). The disciples took this as a good sign. “Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead” (John 11:14).

As He approached Bethany, Martha rushed out to meet Him. “Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:21, emphasis mine). How many times have similar sentiments been expressed at the death of a loved one? When the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001, many demanded to know, “Where was God?” He was where He has always been – on His throne and in command. Even so, Martha expressed remarkable faith. “But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.” (John 11:22, emphasis mine). What could she have been thinking? Did she indeed believe that Jesus could raise her brother from the dead? This would not be something new. Jesus had raised the dead before: a widow’s only son (Luke 7:12-14), Jairus’s daughter (Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:22-43; Luke 8:41-56),  and unnamed others. Nevertheless, this was different. Lazarus had been dead four days “when it was believed that resurrection was no longer possible.”[1]

“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” (John 11:23-24). Sure Lazarus would rise again, but not today. After all, he had been dead four days; his spirit had long departed. The resurrections Jesus had performed before where shortly after the victim had died. Common thought was that the person’s spirit lingered around a few days before finally departing. Raising the dead shortly after death was consistent with their tradition, but after three days, the spirit departed, and Lazarus had been dead four days. Sure he’ll rise again – at the resurrection!

I AM the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25, emphasis mine). Ego Eimi. I, I AM. As explained in recent “I Am” articles,[2] this phrase expresses the deity of Christ. Jesus was saying, “I, Yahweh, am the resurrection and the life.” The Greek word translated “resurrection” is anastasis and it means to “stand up again,” and “life” is the Greek word zōē meaning the very essence of life – that animating energy or force that goes beyond biological function. It is that “breath of life” given to man by God at the moment of creation (Genesis 2:7). That Jesus incorporated both “resurrection” and “life” recalls Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37). He preached to the dry bones and they came together. Flesh and skin formed upon their frame, but they did not stand until the breath of life came upon them, and they stood up.

Jesus, the Creator (John 1:1-3) not only has the power to create biological life, but He gives the very essence of life. All of it comes from the Great I AM. Because He is “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 11:26, emphasis mine). “Never die?” Jesus here referred to eternal life. We all will die physically as a result of the curse (Genesis 3:19; 1 Corinthians 15:22); however our “life” will continue in one of two destinations, either with God or apart from God. “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (Revelation 20:14, emphasis mine). There are two deaths: one we all experience as physical death; the other death is eternal life in hell, apart from God. Those who believe in the Great I AM, will never experience that second death, i.e. “never die.” “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8, emphasis mine).

Jesus is “the resurrection and the life.” “In him was life; and the life was the light of men …  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not … But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:4, 10, 12, emphasis mine), and they shall never die.


[1]  Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, The Jewish Gospel of John: Discovering Jesus, King of All Israel, (Tel Aviv, Israel, Jewish Studies for Christians, 2015), 190.

[2]  See esp. the 3rd paragraph of

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