For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him
should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father… What a joy! The will of the Father was not only to raise His Son from the grave. Everyone who believes in Jesus should experience the very same thing, resurrection of his or her body! Jesus, in teaching the crowd here, expresses the will of the Father two times in similar words (v 39 and 40). It is very interesting to see that in doing this, He not only makes us double sure about His Father’s will, but He also explains the two sides of our salvation. He begins with the divine side: And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given me, but raise it up on the last day (v39). Why have we been saved? Because the Father has given us to His Son. Why will Jesus raise us up? Because the Father told His Son to do so and not to lose us beforehand. Isn’t this kind of the Father! This verse doesn’t speak about anything we do. The active persons are the Father and the Son (and of course the Spirit, too). The work of the triune God then leads to the human side of our salvation, which we see in our verse. Of course, both sides form a unit and should never be separated.
…that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life… Eternal life comes to us through looking on Jesus and believing in Him. Both words describe two aspects of the same thing. Looking refers to the mind or intellect. We read the gospel, we hear about Jesus and with the help of the Spirit we begin to understand and “see” Him with our intellect. At the same time Jesus creates faith and trust in us. As a result, we also believe in Him with our heart.
…and I will raise him up on the last day. Man consists of a material part, the body, and an immaterial part. For the immaterial part the New Testament uses two words, soul and spirit. The soul is the immaterial part that animates our body and makes it alive, the spirit is the same immaterial part that is sensitive and open to the Spirit of God. Both are one entity and cannot be seratated.1 What will be separated when we die is our material and our immaterial parts. The soul or spirit of a believer will be with Jesus and immediately glorified; our body will be put into the grave. Our soul does not need to be resurrected, but our body does. And the firm promise of Jesus in this verse is that He will surely do this! On our Easter morning we shall experience just the same as Jesus did on His Easter morning. Our body shall be raised from the grave and be reunited with our soul. This will happen on the last day, the day when Jesus returns. And it will include a great and glorious change. (We will look at this in our next part.)
1 See R.C.H. Lenski in his Commentary on the New Testament, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, on 1 Cor 15:44; accessed through the Olive Tree Bible App.