For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He wishes. (John 5:21)
We can’t even begin to comprehend how incredible the power of life is. It’s beyond miraculous that God brought animate existance out of nothing. Scientists can do some pretty amazing things these days. But none of them can manipulate the elements in such a way to create life where there is none.
And Jesus had this power. It drove the Jewish leaders crazy that Jesus made himself equal to God. Here, Jesus told them the simple truth. He could give life, just as God could. It was a statement that rocked the world.
Below are some other verses from John that describe how Jesus has this power. The first two follow today’s red letter passage.
- Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment. Indeed, he has crossed over from death to life. (V. 24)
- Truly, truly, I tell you, the hour is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted the Son to have life in Himself (v. 25-26)
- The Spirit gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. (John 6:63)
- I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10b)
- Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies. (John 11:25)
Jesus had the power of life in three major ways. He could create life. (John 1:2) He could heal, and raise the dead. ( (Matt 9:25 Luke 7:14 John 11:43) He could give people a new spiritual life, eternal life. (Col. 2:13)
So what does this mean for us? It means we come to Jesus as the source of what we so desperately need. We remember that it’s more than reading our Bibles and attending church meetings. “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40).
We come to Jesus to have life, when we’re feeling wooden and dull, like a wind up toy.
We come to Jesus to have life, when we’re dying inside for lack of hope.
We come to Jesus to have life, when we’re exhausted, and running out of steam.
We come to Jesus to have life, when we’re despondant, because sin is so powerful.
And Jesus gives us life, like a continuous spring, renewing us over and over again.
“Now we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this surpassingly great power is from God and not from us. We are pressed on all sides, but not crushed . . . We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body . . . Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day.” (Selections from 2 Cor. 4)
It’s December. Over the past year, God has done some amazing things in my life, as I wrote in my last blog. Yet there are also ways I am mourning. There are broken dreams. It seems appropriate to reflect on this right now, as a cold rain pounds outside, and the wind whips the stark branches of my trees. (It’s even worse, because our floor, which we thought was fixed, is seeping water through its new planks! )
Sometimes we have to accept that the dream, as we saw it, wasn’t meant to be. Sometimes, when we hear the December wind howl, we need to let it blow through us, instead of filling up our spaces with presents and feasts. We need to feel the loss and emptiness, so that we can come to Jesus with a pure longing for renewal.
Isn’t that what the winter is? A time when life seems to die, only to come again in the spring?
Isn’t that why a Son was given to us, a babe that we celebrate at this time of year? To show that when things seem bleak, there can be amazing hope?
The birth of Jesus is God’s everlasting illustration of life. It’s like he created animate existance all over again. It’s that miraculous.
As this year draws to a close, let’s reflect, not only on our blessings over the past year, but also on our disappoinments. They’re real. We can grieve the loss.
But the loss can also open us up to the renewal. We realize that we need the life. We come to Jesus.
And he gives us what we need. Because that’s who he is, and why he came.