“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”
Yesterday’s post talked about Christ as the Giver of spiritual life. But, right along those lines, Christ is also the Giver of resurrection life. In this verse He is giving us insight into His Second Coming. Actually this is the first time Scripture records Him speaking about His return.
Many people who teach about the end-times don’t even bother dealing with this passage. If you think that way, then you’ve missed the whole point. Because this is the first recorded incident in Jesus’ ministry where He mentions the end-times, that makes it important. No, He doesn’t say a lot about it, but what He does say is at the very core of our belief in the Second Coming.
Jesus explains that there is a day coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and will come out – those who have done good will rise to live; those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. Unfortunately, we usually miss this key. It is the foundation stone for everything else that you will learn about the Second Coming of Christ. Everything else that Jesus teaches builds on this.
The cross is our starting point. We come along about 2000 years later. What Jesus is talking about in this passage hasn’t happened yet. The dead are going to rise and there is going to be a time of judgment with the result being either eternal life or eternal condemnation.
We don’t know when it’s coming, but there will be a resurrection day. As far as the disciples were concerned, it wasn’t new to them. Jesus didn’t start with some new doctrine that they had never heard before. You find teaching on the resurrection in the Old Testament. Job testifies, in chapter 19 of his book, that he knew about the day of resurrection.
Even in the Old Testament, believers understood that God was not going to leave His people in the grave. The Pharisees themselves, as a group, believed and taught that one day God would bring about the resurrection of the dead.
The only thing that was new in His teaching was the fact that it will be the voice of Christ that causes the dead to rise. I’m sure that the Pharisees had some choice thoughts on that subject. We, however, are given a foundation upon which to build the rest of the teaching on the return of Christ.
It is the Lord Himself who is our resurrection. It is His voice who will call us from our graves to a place of victory. This is a day we can all look forward to as believers. Knowing this, we can live our lives in the hope that only springs from victory over death. We don’t have to worry about the future. We are safe in the arms of the Lord.