John 1:4. In him was life…
Think for a minute about the boldness of this assertion. Nothing like this has ever been said about any other person in human history.
Jesus IS life.
Please don’t miss this. This is the gospel. This is eternal life. This is salvation. This is everything we’ve written in this blog. This is “to live is Christ.”
Jesus doesn’t just show us how we can live a better life. He is not merely the sign pointing to everlasting life found in some “fountain of youth.” And he’s not even granting us eternal life as something separate from himself, an add-on to our existing life.
He IS life. The life that he offers is himself.
When someone trusts Jesus as their savior, we would say that they have received eternal life. But what exactly is this “eternal life?” Is it simply living forever? Is it my life going on and on eternally?
No. In fact, that is exactly what God prevented in the Garden of Eden when he blocked humanity’s path back to the Tree of Life. God wanted to keep us from living forever trapped in our twisted, rebellious, sinful lives. There has to be a way to replace our life with his own life. A way to live forever from the power of his own perfect life and love. And so now, in Christ, he offers us what he offered our grandparents, Adam and Eve. He offers us his own divine life in a receivable form. But not in a tree. In a person. A divine person. The Word. The eternal Son. The God-man. The Messiah. Jesus Christ.
In him was life.
But let’s return to our question. What is this life?
In the New Testament there are three Greek words for life. If we really want to understand what John is saying about Jesus, then we need to understand these three different words: Bios, psyche, and zoe.
Bios – This word is used to simply mean biological life or the course of our physical life.
Psyche – This is the word that the authors used to mean the soul or the totality of life.
Zoe – This is the Greek word that John uses to mean the unique, divine life of God. In fact, every time the word zoe is used in the gospel of John (and most of the New Testament) it refers to God’s life.
In Him was zoe.
Jesus Christ did not come to give us bios or psyche – we already had those. We were born with those. Jesus Christ came so that we might be born again into his zoe. His own life. We were meant for so much more than just existing. We were made as far more than the chemical reactions happening in our brains. We were created to share the deeply meaningful life of God. A life found only in Jesus.
Jesus did not come to teach us how to live an authentic life, win at life, or have our best life now. Jesus doesn’t want you to be your “true self,” and he isn’t interested in your “expressive individualism.” He wants you to find your life in him.
John 1:12-13. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Jesus came to unite us to God’s zoe. He came to live his zoe through us. He came to make eternal zoe receivable by simply believing in his name. He came so that we might experience the same life as the eternal Son as we become the children of God. Knowing God as our loving Father. Calling him Abba. Holding his hand. Sitting in his embrace. Laughing together. Crying together. Ruling together. Loving together.
“To live is Christ” means that Jesus is far more than our example for how to live. He IS our life. We are made alive by our union with his life and we live from our union with his life. This is abundant life, for it is the life of grace and freedom. No longer must we figure life out. No longer must we self-actualize. No. Life has been lived for us by Jesus, and now it is lived through us by Jesus. And together with Jesus we will live in love forever.
What would you say is your source of life? What motivates your life?
You in Christ
How does it encourage you today to know that your eternal life is not just this life going on forever?
Christ in you
Are you living out Christ’s life as a beloved child of God? Why or why not?
Playlist: Jesus is Life