Practically, I think Jesus was also trying to get across the idea that he is the source of life and living, that there is no life but in him, he is the life. The additional descriptor in the letter to the church at Smyrna, "who was dead and came back to life," which was appended to the first and the last brings this particular into focus. In demonstrating his mastery over life and death his claim to be the all-encompassing God acquired significant validation. Clearly, he was claiming something more than just being a man, even an extremely holy one.
Believers can take heart and be bolstered knowing that this Jesus, to whom we cede fealty, is no mere man, but is demonstrably very God of very God. To know Jesus is to know God. To be his, to be given life by him is blessing beyond the measure of this present world. In Christ is a wealth that crosses the threshold of death and is unaffected by time. In this world we may have tribulation, and poverty, but in Christ we are actually rich beyond the endpoint of measuring whether alpha or omega.