Among the most significant pronouncements that Jesus makes are the “I AM” statements in John. Although many are fond of pointing out that this reflects the “I AM” of God’s self description in Exodus 3:14, there is much more here. There are many places where the verb “to be” is simply like an “equals” sign (“=”), known as a copula. As such, in other languages (such as the Hebrew and the Greek of the Bible), many times that verb simply drops out of the sentence, so that when it does appear, those occasions strongly emphasize the connection which is being made.
Therefore, when Jesus says, “I AM the Resurrection,” He means that THE Resurrection has a body, with nail scarred hands and a spear wound in the side; the same Resurrection Who promised, “Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, I AM in their midst” [Matthew 18:20], Who said, “I will never fail you nor forsake you” [Hebrews 13:5]; THE Resurrection Who proved these promises that very first Easter evening as He suddenly stood among His Disciples – this THE Resurrection is identical to and interchangeable with Jesus. If you want the Resurrection, then you must have Jesus; if you have Jesus, then you must have the Resurrection. This is also the impact of the other “I AM” statements: “I AM THE Life” [John 11:25; 14:6], “I AM THE Way” [John 14:6], “I AM THE Truth” [John 14:6], “I AM THE Door” [John 10:9], “I AM THE Bread of Life” [John 67:48], “I AM THE true Vine” [John 15:1], and “I AM THE Good Shepherd” [John 10:11].

A Seamless Unity

Obviously, such extraordinary statements would require that Jesus Himself be greater than an ordinary person, and He is. He is a totally unique combination of God and human in one Person, also with a seamlessness between these two “natures.” There is no way in which we can properly say in regard to Jesus, “oh, that is just the Man-side” or “just the God-side” of Him. Cut Jesus and the “man-side” of Him bleeds – but so also does the “God-side”! Kill Jesus and the “man-side” of Him dies – but so also does the “God-side”! Therefore His birth is as the God-Man, His death is as the God-Man, His Blood shed is as the God-Man’s, His resurrection is as the God-Man, He now sits on the throne of Heaven as the God-Man, and so forth.

As the sinless God-Man [Hebrews 4:15; I Peter 2:22], He did not come under the condemnation of death. He is the only One Who could do something extra, to actually go beyond what is required, that is, to experience the separation of death which He did not deserve. Had He only been a Man, He would be only one person’s worth and He therefore certainly could not die for all humanity for all time. Only because He is also God does He have the worth and the timelessness that can literally make available to all humanity more forgiveness and righteousness than which could ever be required.

Resurrection, Ascension, and Heaven

Jesus’ Resurrection – not merely a resuscitation as was Lazarus’ return to life and subsequent eventual return to death – stands as a signal event in the history of the Universe. This event is so uncharacteristic of reality that the early Church regarded it as the pivot of all Christian faith, for instance, “if Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain and you are still in your sin” [I Corinthians 15:17].
As God-Man, Jesus now intercedes for us on the very throne of heaven [Hebrews 4:15-16]. But we have to be careful. We are so oriented to Him within His saving work, that we almost imply that once we get to heaven, and we have been recreated and are now “perfect,” that really we no longer will require Him – our need for Him will now become obsolete. The truth is that even in heaven we will still need Him. Even in heaven, if we were to step outside of Jesus (although that will not happen), we would be lost. It is only in and through Him that we can live forever and dwell in the presence of God [John 14:6].

We “Belong”

Part of the struggle with “Ultimate Questions” is not just “Who am I?” but also “Do I belong to something significant?” – this is not so much to have “a place” in this locale and time period, but rather to have a place within the great scheme of Life and the Universe. Using the imagery of the marriage traditions of that day, Jesus answers that need when He tells us that He has gone to His Father’s to prepare a place for us and then will return to take us to Himself [John 14:3]. He will return as Judge, but not as if to preside over a grueling trial, but rather as a Shepherd Who divides the sheep from the goats [Matthew 25:32], because His sheep “shall not come into judgment, but [have already] passed from death into Life” [John 5:24]. He will return to take His Bride to Himself, so that in all eternity, she will be “the helper fitting for Him” [Genesis 2:18], seated with Him on the throne of heaven [Ephesians 2:4-7] by His side forever.