“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” -John 11:25
Christians everywhere say that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Jesus even said this of himself. But what does this mean? Is it merely bringing the physically dead back to life or is it something more?
1. Spiritual Death is Overcome
From the time Adam and Eve were born again into the Garden of Eden, symbolizing our spiritual rebirth, Jesus was a part of their lives. Yes, they still made choices; some good, some not so good. Yet God was there to guide and correct them.
Life eternal was breathed into them the moment they stepped into the garden. Yet through the use of their free will, spiritual death appeared. Adam and Eve were kicked out when they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil before it was time. This is the power of Jesus the Christ, that through Him we may repent and live spiritually again (1 Peter 1:3, 2 Corinthians 5:17). We can be “resurrected” over and over as we walk the path of teshuvah. Without Him, we would merely die to the chains of Hell forever, never to return to the God that sent us here.
2. The New and Everlasting Covenant Restored
There is one Law: Love God, love thy neighbors. All the teachings and commandments help guide us in teshuvah to the Law. The Law is given to all, but it is given in a special way to God’s covenant people. After Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden, they made a New and Everlasting Covenant with God. Likewise, when Israel was in Egypt they forgot YHVH and upon their release they remembered Him again, making a New and Everlasting Covenant with Him.
Again, in New Testament times, God’s people forgot the Creator, and Jesus came to Renew the New and Everlasting Covenant. And when it was time, Jesus came to Joseph Smith Jr. to restore the New and Everlasting Covenant. Jesus is the resurrection and the life because it is He that Renews and Restores our covenant with God, with Him. Because He resurrected what, to us, had become a dead covenant, we live again as His covenant peoples.
3. A New Life in the Resurrection
Just as all die, we will all live again, resurrected to our physical bodies in an eternal and glorified state (Article of Faith 11). This can only happen because Jesus chose death. We mere mortals didn’t kill Him, how could we kill the Immortal God? But he chose to give up his life, to give up the ghost (Matthew 27:50). And when the time came, He chose to take it back up, to live again (Mark 16:1-7). Only He could do this. And by this sacrifice, we will live once again; like Him never to die (1 Corinthians 15:22). This isn’t just waking someone up from the sleep of death, it is the fulfillment of teshuvah, reaching the tree of life and being worthy of it once again. It is Eden restored. And it is only possible in Him.
As Kabbalists, we understand that we start as Adam and Eve. But do we realize that we end as Jesus and Mary? We grow grace by grace, in the New and Everlasting Covenant, to defeat death and enter what some call “the Christ Consciousness.” This can only happen if we give up this world, stop trying to bring earth to the heavens, and submit to the will of God. By doing this we will partake of tikkun olam to repair the world and finish the creation. We will, through Christ, bring the heavens to the earth. That is the very definition of the resurrection and the life. Everything will live eternally, reborn in perfection that is our God.