He WIll Raise You Up

The Gospel Reading for the 5th Sunday of Lent (John 11:1-45) is a common choice for funerals. It speaks of new and eternal life with God, of hope and it brings comfort. John’s writings are often misunderstood or even too complex to look at with everyday eyes. For a man who has been so prominent in Christian thinking throughout the centuries, John is a strangely shadowy figure. His theology is as profound as it is deep even though his writings appear to be simple and easy. John gives us a truth which no Christian can neglect.

Dear Friends

Throughout the Gospel of John people seem to misunderstand Jesus. They understand his words in a human way of thinking but Jesus was always about raising people’s thinking and understanding to a new higher way of looking at life. John’s words surprise people, because he asks them to see Jesus in a new way, divine rather than human. 

Let me give you a couple examples of John’s writing:

Jesus said to the Jews

“Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). Those who were listening misunderstood and thought he was talking about the temple in Jerusalem. They said it took forty-six years to build the temple but we know that Jesus was referring to his own body. When he rose from the dead his disciples remembered and believed. We have been celebrating the Eucharist ever since.

Jesus said to Nicodemus

“No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above” (John 3:3). Nicodemus didn’t understand and asked, “How can anyone who is already old be born? Is it possible to go back into the womb again and be born?” Of course, we understand today what Jesus is saying, but back then his theological ideas were not only foreign to people like Nicodemus,  it was something they couldn’t grasp.

Jesus said to the crowd

“Whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (John 6:47-48). This idea was too much for many of Jesus’ followers. Many of his disciples abandoned him and returned to their former lives.

Jesus said to Martha

John’s words surprised people, because he asked them to see Jesus in a way, divine not as a human. And so we come to our Gospel where Jesus said to Martha: “Your brother will rise.” Martha said, yes he will rise – but on the last day! And this is where Jesus wants to take her to a new level of understanding. He said to her: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” We will not die in the sense that the life we live in Christ now, will continue after death, “everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”

Jesus offers us new life

We believe that we will have a new life when we die, this is the way we think on a human level. But John challenges us to look at life in a spiritual way. He challenges us to open our eyes to his theology and follow Jesus every day. How can we live this life? Let’s look at Jesus again and follow the examples he gave us. The New Testament is filled them. Try to integrate them into your life with your family, with your friends, at work, in your relationships. One very good example can be found in the Gospel of Matthew. It’s called The Golden Rule: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”


If we could live this new life the way like it is offered by Jesus, here - today on earth, don’t you think that our world would look much different? He proved his words to Martha by raising Lazarus, so the resurrection is not something in the future. Jesus offers us a new life now. Don’t miss out on his offer and start living your new life now.