Life Was In Him
John 1:4-5 HCSB Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men. (5) That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.
There are 39 references to the word “life” in the gospel of John and most of them refer to Jesus being “life” in some way. Here are just five of them:
JESUS IS LIFE
John 5:21 HCSB And just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son also gives life to anyone He wants to.
John 5:26 HCSB For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself.
John 8:12 HCSB Then Jesus spoke to them again: "I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life."
John 11:25 HCSB Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live.
John 17:2 HCSB For You gave Him authority over all flesh; so He may give eternal life to all You have given Him.
Thus the Word is a living Word, life is in Him, the Word of God is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12), He is not dead and passive like a concept in Greek philosophy.
Jesus is the life of Creation and He is the light of Creation. All true life proceeds from Him and He has the power to give life. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He has life in Himself – the same sort of self-existence that the Father has and He can give life to others, and those who follow Him do not walk in darkness but rather are granted the “light of life”.
What is this life? Life is the ability to maintain an integrated complex and functional existence and thus to have a continuity of being. Death is to disintegrate, to decay, to longer function, to not continue in an ordered state of being.
Thus Jesus is the source of life and light and progress and integrated complexity, beauty and order. In Genesis He commanded a formless, void and a chaotic world and brought forth that which is very good.
So Jesus is never on the side of darkness, death and decay. He is always on the side of peace, health, order, beauty, life and wisdom. When Jesus encountered leprosy He did not led the disorder and death win, instead Jesus brought about a clean and beautiful restoration.
Mark 1:40-42 MKJV And a leper came to Him, begging Him and kneeling down to Him, and saying to Him, If You will, You can make me clean. (41) And Jesus, moved with compassion, put out His hand and touched him, and said to him, I will; be clean! (42) And He having spoken, the leprosy instantly departed from him and he was cleansed.
Thus darkness, chaos and decay are enemies of God’s purposes on this planet. Jesus shines into this darkness and the darkness cannot comprehend it / overthrow it /seize /possess/overtake it. (The Greek word is “katelaben” and it has this range of meanings).
Whether it be political darkness, moral darkness, criminal darkness, spiritual darkness, or the darkness of ignorance lies and treachery – the light of Jesus is still more powerful.
The darkest place I have ever been in was a small village, in a very remote part of Papua New Guinea. The village was noted for witchcraft and was filled with disease and insanity. Yet for a few days we preached the gospel there and saw some response. There is no place so dark that the light of Jesus cannot shine there. As Corrie Ten Boom said after suffering through Auschwitz, no matter how deep the circumstances, the love of God is deeper still.
“In Him was life and that life was the light of men.” Jesus is not just a general life principle inherent in Creation, which would be close to pantheism; rather He is also a very special revelation to humanity. Jesus is the light that everyone is searching for.
“That life was the light of men” – the light of humankind is not a tremendously insightful concept it is a LIFE, a single human life, the life of Jesus. Just as a husband may say of his wife “she is the light of my life” so Jesus is the light of the life of all humanity.
Without Jesus our lives are gray and dull and dead and without deep meaning, or as the existentialists say: “life is absurd”.
Life becomes meaningful when a person enters it: a parent, a lover, a friend, a spouse, a mentor, or a teacher. Meaning always comes from relationship and ultimate meaning comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Well what does this mean for us? It means that if we want a life that is full of light and life then we should live it by the commands of Jesus Christ, in close relationship with him. You will not get much meaning from achieving or possessing or having power and prestige. I grew up among that sort of stuff and I saw the outcome and the profound mid-life sadness of the very successful.
Secondly it means you should not let chaos rule in your life. You are born-again to new life, to beauty and order and grace, not to chaos and disorder and turmoil. Put Jesus in charge of your life, your business, your family, your finances and watch Him create peace and order and righteousness and light and life.
Blessings in Jesus,