57. The Flow of Life

Short Meditations in John 6:  57. The Flow of Life

Jn 6:57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me

Notice the flow that runs through this verse: the Father lives so the Son lives so we can live.  There are fundamental, absolutely basic truths here that perhaps we don’t often think about. The starting point is that life exists because God exists. He is life, He is ‘alive’ and because he made all of this material world we also live.

This is something so basic that we take it for granted and so really need to define it. ‘Life’ = “the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.” There we are, life involves growth, reproduction, activity, and change. A rock may change with the effect of weather upon it but left to itself it will not change. We have life and without it, life ceases, activity ceases, growth ceases, change ceases. That is how important all this is.

So life is in the Father and, as the creeds declare, Jesus was begotten of the Father, meaning he came out of the Father and is one in essence with the Father. In him is life as well. But then they created us and so we live but that ‘living’ is purely at a material level and yet they have also made us with a spirit which is capable of coming alive and that happens when we receive Jesus and we receive his Holy Spirit, who is life.

Thus when we are ‘born again’ it is an act of the Holy Spirit who then indwells us, and His life then energizes us so that spiritually there is growth, reproduction, activity and change. The purpose of the Father was for Jesus to come to the earth so that His life would be manifest on the earth, spiritually as well as physically. Hence we see impartation of revelation from heaven, a flow of power that brought life to dead bodies, sight to blind eyes, hearing to deaf ears, and brought about what otherwise we call miracles. Where there is ‘life’ there is change, movement, activity.

Now when we see this in relation to our own lives, this takes on a new significance. His life flowing in us as Christians brings change, brings movement, brings activity, brings revelation. We change, we grow we are activated by His presence and His life movement in us. But there is something else about ‘life’, it needs feeding to be constantly energized. God doesn’t need feeding because He is unlimited, but we do and the feeding is spiritual, it is that which we have been considering a number of times already, taking in the presence of Jesus, living with him, going with him and so on. This ‘feeding’ energizes and releases life.

(Today we have added two studies to come to a place where we can pause up in order to start a brief series tomorrow to reflect on Christmas. We will  continue with John 6 later.)

25. The Dead Raised

Short Meditations in John 5:  25. The Dead Raised

Jn 5:25  I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live

Jesus is subtly making the same point again and again, that his business is to bring the dead to life. The world does not like it when you say they are spiritually dead but that it the truth – before we receive God’s salvation through Jesus Christ we are spiritually dead. Now we have to be careful here for people in the world use the occult and the occult operates in a spiritual dimension but that is not ‘life’ as the New Testament speaks of it. ‘Life’ only comes when the giver of all life – God – puts His own Holy Spirit within a person – He alone is life, life that goes on and on and on. He is eternal life and any other form of life ceases at the end of its human existence here on earth.

Yes, New Age people and spiritists dabble on the edges of the spiritual world but that is very different from encountering the living God; they may inadvertently have dealings with demonic beings bringing deception and an appearance of another reality, but it is not the reality of heaven and of God, and it is certainly not eternal life.

When Jesus says, I tell you the truth,” he is declaring, “This is really true,” so when he goes on, “a time is coming and has now come,” he is saying that this possibility of a new life has already come – with him. There is no doubt about his claim: “when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live,” for he describes himself (somewhat rarely) as the Son of God. It is an outright challenge, but then who else but God could make such a claim to impart life to the dead. Maybe it is something they expected the Messiah to be able to do, but Jesus lifts himself beyond a mere messiah figure when he clearly calls himself the Son of God. No wonder the legalistic Jews got upset, but he has a lot more to say before we get to that.

But perhaps we need to return to the subject of the spiritually dead before we finish for this is the state of all those who may be family, friends or workmates or fellow students. It doesn’t matter how nice they are; this is a not a question of sociability or even morality, this is a question of the ability to have a genuine spiritual relationship with God. Doing good or being nice are laudable in themselves but they are no replacement or substitute for a living relationship with God. If our own relationship is not particularly sparkling we may take it for granted and fail to distinguish clearly between them and you or be afraid to make that distinction because you feel it is presumptuous, but it is not – it is a distinction between eternal life and eternal death. Hold that!