After Lazarus has died, there is this exchange in John 11 between Jesus and Martha (John 11:21-27).

21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give You whatever You ask of Him.” 23 “Your brother will rise again,” Jesus told her. 24 Martha replied, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me will live, even though he dies. 26 And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she answered, “I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

What does this tell us about expectations about the Messiah? Why is Jesus saying "I am the resurrection and the life" and "Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies" received with "Yes, you're the Christ, the Son of God"?

2 Answers 2


I assume that the connection between Jesus' two statements:

  • John 11:25, 26 - I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me will live, even though he dies. 26 And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.
  • John 11:27 - You are the Christ, the Son of God

... the connection is presumably exactly what Jesus had been say previously about Himself as the Son of God, namely:

  • John 5:21 - For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He wishes.
  • John 5:24-26 - Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment. Indeed, he has crossed over from death to life. Truly, truly, I tell you, the hour is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted the Son to have life in Himself.
  • John 10:27, 28 - My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand.

That is, Jesus Himself had made the connection between Himself being the Son of God and the source of life for all who believe. As one of Jesus closest friends and associates, Martha was presumably familiar with these teachings of Jesus.

  • 1
    +1 Yes, this is certainly a possibility. What I'm really wondering is whether more general cultural expectations fit into this. Jun 13, 2022 at 15:59
  • @OneGodtheFather - that is a good question but less concerned with the Bible text.
    – Dottard
    Jun 13, 2022 at 21:16

Everything about the Messiah we have in the NT, can be found in the Jewish interpretations, so it shouldn't be surprising to find they already understood that the Messiah is not just the Mighty God, everlasting father, Prince of peace, but also the forerunner or first-fruit of the final resurrection, and the source of the resurrection and eternal life.

English explanation of Mishnah Sanhedrin 10:1 by Joshua Kulp:

Chapter ten of Sanhedrin is one of the most theologically challenging chapters in the entire Mishnah. It lists those people who have a part in the world to come (olam haba) and those who don’t. There are two main opinions amongst Jewish authorities with regards to the definition of olam haba referred to in our chapter. There are those who say that the mishnah refers to a future time when God will resurrect the dead (tehiyat hametim) which will happen only after the coming of the Messiah (yemot hamashiach). Others say that the Mishnah refers to what is called to in modern language “heaven”. This final opinion is the opinion of Maimonides (the Rambam) who wrote a lengthy treatise on our chapter in which he included his thirteen principles of faith, which were later summarized in the “Yigdal” a poem commonly sung in synagogues.

Rambam on this Mishnah Sanhedrin 10:1:6

And the fifth group - and they are many - join all of these matters together and say that that which is anticipated is that the Messiah will come and bring the dead back to life, and they will enter the Garden of Eden, and they will eat there and drink and be healthy all the days of the world.

  • +1 This certainly makes sense of the way Martha responds. She seems to be saying "Yes, of course, I believe you're the Christ, the Son of God, and therefore what you (Jesus) just said follows from that." Not that she was privy to specific info from Jesus about what 'the Christ, the Son of God' meant - although of course she might have had that. Jun 13, 2022 at 18:03

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