October 29 (Daily reading: John 11) People have historically been fascinated with youth. All cultures have their own stories of magically reversing the process of aging. Juan Ponce de León, the first Governor of Puerto Rico, supposedly searched for the Fountain of Youth in Florida in 1513. John 11 tells us what Jesus said to Martha and Mary after their brother Lazarus had died. He revealed the best possible way to extend life; in fact, He talked about the reality of never dying. “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (vv. 25-26). Talk about remaining young!
In all human efforts medically or magically to extend life, there is a truth we must not overlook. Jesus was all about life: eternal (spiritual) life! He said, “I came that (people) may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes … He who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (Jn. 5:21, 24).
When He called Lazarus to come out of the cave where he had been buried four days earlier, Jesus was making a statement about His power over life and death. He said: “Unbind him, and let him go” (Jn. 11:44). Through our belief in Jesus Christ, we are freed from the restraints of death that bind us. We live joyfully, even as we are aware of our mortality. Physical death is a release to truly live — “And so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thes. 4:17).
– Al Gary