Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Your Brother will Rise Again!

Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:23-26 NKJV)


I have been to several funerals lately.  Most of those dying have been younger than me.  Often when we have funerals, we talk about celebrating their lives.  It seems to me that we try to take the “sting out of death (1 Corinthians 15:56)” at the funeral. But death is a time of separation and sorrow and always reminds us of at least two things.  The first is that we all need to prepare for what comes after death.  The second is that the Lord has promised that all will be raised from the dead.  Death is not the end. 

For those who are saved, they will experience the resurrection of life.  For those who rejected God’s offer of mercy, they will experience the resurrection of condemnation.  The Lord says,  “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil (by rejecting the love of God), to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29 NKJV).”  In last week’s meditation, we thought about the resurrection of the Lord as celebrated this time of the year and how that should motivate us to believe in faithful fervent prayer.  Today, I am thinking about how apart from the resurrection promised by the Lord, a funeral would certainly be a dismal thing.  We can celebrate all we want, but if there is no resurrection of life, there is nothing for which to look forward.  That would mean we are born, we look forward to growing up and “making something” of our lives, we live, we retire, and we die.  It makes no difference if we die after leaving a legacy for the history books, or whether we die after amassing great wealth and power or whether we die with nothing to our name.  Because apart from Enoch and Elijah, everyone who has been born into this world up until now has died.

The Promise of the Lord

He will rise again!  Lazarus was the Lord’s friend and no doubt it would be fair to call him a believer.  His grieving relatives were told that he would rise again.  That is a blessed hope for those who have trusted in the Lord and his death, burial and resurrection to put away their sin.  But for those who have never done that, their portion is to look forward to the resurrection of condemnation.  I have had to preach funerals of some who have died leaving no clear testimony that they ever “repented (or changed their minds about their relationship with God) and believed.”  They never saw themselves as sinners in need of a Savior.  They never came to grips with the fact that the Lord came to seek and to save that which was lost.  Some have never asked God or anyone else for forgiveness.  It is a grievous thing to have to assume that someone is resting in peace when instead they have closed their eyes in death and have awakened in eternal torment.  They will be raised to stand before God who, as a righteous judge, will condemn them according to their works.  Their works will include the sins that were never forgiven, and they will then be cast into the Lake of Fire—a place of eternal separation from God and of eternal torment.

But. . .

It doesn’t have to be that way.  The Lord says, “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”  No doubt the Lord is referring to the resurrection of life.  We get eternal life upon believing and we don’t lose it when we die.  Then the Lord says, “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”  Now I know a lot of people who were living and who believed in Him who did physically die.  So, what is the Lord saying?  He could just be saying that eternal life begins the moment when we trust the Lord while assuring us that physical death does not separate the believer from the Lord.  We know that death is separation.  We cannot communicate with people in caskets.  The unbeliever will be separated from the Lord eternally, but not the believer.  However, I think this may be a veiled reference to the truth found in John 14 where the Lord tells His disciples, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:3 NKJV).”  The Lord’s second coming has two parts.  One is His coming to save His people from the coming judgments that will be experienced by a Christ-rejecting world.  The second part of His second coming is to reveal Himself as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  In the first three Gospels, the Lord’s coming seems to emphasize His coming to reveal Himself to the world as King of Kings and to set up His kingdom.  But there is only one second coming so the “rapture” or “catching away” of believers (Jew and Gentile alike) is a part of the promises made in those Gospels.  But the reference in John 14 and John 11 seems to be the promise of the rapture for those who like John are intimately enjoying His presence and are still alive when He comes. Perhaps this should read, “And whoever is a living believer when I come again shall never die.”


As I have stood by the relatives of my saved friends who have lost loved ones, I am glad that the Lord has promised “He or she will rise again.”   That gives life meaning and that gives comfort in sorrow.  I wouldn’t want to die without that “hope.”  We certainly don’t hope to be saved; we know that we are saved because Scripture promises that to the believer.  But we who are saved are promised a bright future and that is called “hope” in the Scriptures.

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week April 28, 2019

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