Martha’s brother Lazarus had died, but Jesus had gone to “wake him up”, as he had said to his disciples. When he arrived, he found Martha there with great faith. She said that she knew that God, the Father, would do anything that Jesus asked.
Jesus responded saying that she needed to believe in him, and she affirmed that she did. She believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, and the One that they were waiting for, the One who was to come into the world.
So with this affirmation, Jesus reveals to her that he doesn’t need to ask his Father per se. He himself can give life directly to Lazarus:
I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.John 11:25-26
Jesus says that he is the resurrection. He is the life. Jesus is going to raise Lazarus from the dead, but Jesus is speaking of even more than that. He is speaking of eternal life, that even after we have died physically, we can continue to live spiritually – forever. We will never die. We will never pass away. We will not by lost to death, but we will have life.
But Jesus says this in the context of he himself being the resurrection and the life. Do we want resurrection? He is the resurrection. Do we want life? He is the life.
These are part of the group of statements that Jesus makes that we could refer to as the “I am…” statements. Jesus had said:
I am the bread of life.
I am the good shepherd.
I am the gate.
He will go on to say:
I am the way, the truth, and the life.
And there are many more. But the point is that we can think of these things as abstractions, as concepts. We can think of each of these things as things, but Jesus identifies himself as these things. If you want to know Jesus, you know him as these things.
Most importantly, this also follows Jesus’s statement as he spoke to the Pharisees saying “Before Abraham was born, I am.”. So Jesus is not just identifying himself as these individual ideas and concepts. He isn’t limited to those things. He is much greater, much more than just these. In that case, he invoked God’s I AM statement to Moses, thus identifying himself as God himself.
The “I am” statements give identity. They show value and worth. They help us to understand who Christ truly is. They are ways to help us, with finite and limited minds, to understand Christ, God himself who comes in the form of a man to help us to see Him.