“I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” (John 8:51, NIV84)
Now here is a truth claim that should cause most to stop and listen. There aren’t too many ways to misinterpret what Jesus is saying in the verse above. He is claiming authority over absolute truth and over life and death. There are only two conclusions one can draw from Jesus’ statement above. Either He is telling the absolute truth, or He is a mad man. Jesus doesn’t leave room for much gray or middle ground in His teaching. He says that if we hold to His teachings, we will never see death. This is why He says to Mary and Martha at the tomb of Lazarus: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 NIV)
The key is always, “Do you believe this?” The question raised to Mary and Martha is before us as well. Do we believe the words of Jesus? Do we accept them as authoritative and true? If so, then our lives will reflect the fact that we have adopted Jesus’ teachings as true, and we will never see death. Like Lazarus, we will live. Jesus repeatedly told His disciples that He would suffer many things at the hands of the religious leaders, and that He would die and rise again. His message was clear that He had come to defeat death and its root cause (sin). Jesus came as the spotless lamb. He took upon Himself our sins, and on the cross, He bore them, and the punishment due them. He could state the verse above as truth because He knew why He had come and what He was going to do to defeat death on our behalf.
Today, we should be moved evermore to hold fast to Jesus’ teachings. They are our life!