We learned yesterday that zoe is the divine life of God himself, made available to us in the life of Jesus Christ. The Apostle John introduces Jesus as the source of zoe in chapter one of his Gospel.
John 1:4. In him was life and the life was the light of men.
John will continue to offer humanity hope by telling us that we can receive this life.
John 1:12-13. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
This is one of the clearest invitations in all of the scriptures. Notice that first phrase. When we receive him what do we receive? His life. How do we receive it? By simply believing! What grace! Keep reading. What do we believe in? His name. His person. His reality. His life. What do we receive? We receive new birth into the family of God. We become God’s children, sharing his DNA. Every regenerational birth is a “virgin birth”- a birth from outside of us. So again, we are receiving an alien life. God’s life. This is not about enhancing your own existing life. Jesus isn’t an add-on, he’s an infusion.
This infusion or birth is not by blood, or by the decision of the flesh, or by the decision of a husband (just like Jesus’ own birth). This birth is by God alone. Jesus coming to us was sheer grace, us coming to him by rebirth is also sheer grace.
Jesus explains this idea of new birth even more in John 3. He tells Nicodemus that he “must be born again.”
John 3:3-6. Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Nicodemus is focused on what man CAN do. But Jesus directs him to what God can do through the agency of the Spirit of God. Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must become a new person. Not an improved person, but literally a new origin is in view.
“Whoever has been born out of the flesh is a flesh person, and whoever has been born out of the Spirit is a spirit person” (verse 6). Here Jesus is saying something similar to what we saw in John 1:12, that is, we become a “spirit person” and a child of God simultaneously. Or as Paul puts it, we become the new creation.
To live is Christ. To have zoe comes from a new birth into Christ by the Spirit. Have you experienced this new birth? Have you received by believing?