NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.
Bible Passages: John 11:25-27, 20:24-29
Discussion Question: What’s the closest thing you’ve seen to a “fountain of youth”?
Food for Thought by Alex Himaya*:
We all know that a healthy diet and exercise improve our bodies and therefore help us live longer. Beyond that though, researchers have discovered a few more things that might increase your life span.
— Live on top of a mountain. It may be because of the clean mountain air or because half of your walking is uphill, but people who live at high altitudes live longer.
— Learn a new language. Studies have shown that being able to speak multiple languages slows the onset of two fatal diseases: dementia and Alzheimer’s.
— Live on a reduced calorie diet. One of the longest-living people groups limits their daily intake to about 1,200 calories a day.
— Work harder. Serious and persistent workers tend to live longer than the carefree employee.
You could try all these — eat sparingly while living on a mountain where you work hard to learn a new language. While you might increase your life span, you can be sure of one thing: you’re still going to die.
Jesus told us the only way not to die is to believe in and follow Him. And He made that possible when He rose from the dead.
When Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, He sought to comfort Lazarus’ grieving sisters, Mary and Martha. He told Martha, “Your brother will rise again” (v. 23). Martha did not disagree; she accepted the popular view taught by the Pharisees that there is an afterlife and the Jewish people would experience a resurrection someday. But Jesus was referring to something a lot more immediate!
To explain the miracle He was about to do, Jesus gave one of His seven “I Am” statements. This one carried a great claim of Deity: “I am the resurrection and the life.” Implied in this statement is the truth that Jesus is the One true God; He is not just any god, but one that can resurrect Himself. He did not say He would bring about the resurrection or He would be the cause of the resurrection; Jesus said He is the resurrection.
Resurrection from death and the promise of eternal life are so closely related to Jesus that we can only find them in a relationship with Him. That relationship begins with believing. Jesus went on to say, “The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
Wait. If I’m dead, doesn’t that mean I’m not alive? Yes, your physical body will die, but you will not cease! For those who believe in Jesus, they are and will remain spiritually alive in Chris, and they will be resurrected to a new glorified body. Jesus promised us a life with Him in heaven (John 14:2-3).
“He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of his glorious body, by the power that enables him to subject everything to himself” (Philippians 3:21).
What brings this truth about Jesus into our lives is the word “believe.” This verb means far more than acknowledging something. The Greek word carries the idea of placing our confidence and trust in that which we believe. And in this context, we are to believe in Jesus.
This great truth of Jesus as the resurrection calls for a response. Jesus asked Martha, “Do you believe this?” She affirmed her belief and trust in Jesus as “the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world.” She had seen His miracles and heard Him teach. Now she came to the only conclusion: Jesus is the Messiah.
And John recorded many of Jesus’ teachings and miracles for our benefit, “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found on the Internet at www.biblestudiesforlife.com.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool or ordered at LifeWay Christian Stores.
*Alex Himaya is the founder and Senior Pastor of theChurch.at in Tulsa, Okla.