Spirit and Life

The Gospel of John identifies Jesus as the Logos, the “Word” by which God made all things. This is a key theme presented in the body of the Book. By describing him thusly, John is not engaging in metaphysical speculation about his nature. Instead, he builds on traditional ideas from the Hebrew Bible about Yahweh creating the Universe and life itself through His spoken Word and Spirit.

In his words and deeds, and especially by giving his life “as a ransom” for the world, Jesus manifested the truth, grace, life, and nature of God. Though put to death by his enemies, the Father vindicated him by raising him from the dead and installing him as the “Lord of Glory” who now bestows life and the Holy Spirit on his people. In every sense, Jesus of Nazareth was, is, and remains both the Living and Life-Giving Word.

Green Valley - Photo by Dayan Quinteros on Unsplash
[Photo by Dayan Quinteros on Unsplash]

Similarly, the
Letter to the Hebrews declares that the “ages have been fitted together by the utterance of God so that what is seen has not been made out of things which appear.”

Thus, John did not break new ground in his Gospel. What is revolutionary was his claim that this Life-Giving “Word became flesh” and was manifested for all mankind to see in Jesus, the man from Nazareth - (Hebrews 11:3).

For example, the Psalmist wrote, “By the word of Yahweh were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth For he spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” - (Psalm 33:6-9). Moreover, per the creation account in the Book of Genesis:

  • Yahweh “formed the man from dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man becometh a living creature” – (Genesis 2:7, Hebrews 11:3).

In the Greek text of John, the opening clause echoes the first words of Genesis – “In the beginning.” Likewise, in Genesis, we read, in the beginning, God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” So, also, in John, in the beginning, all things were made through him…  In him was life, and the life was the light of men. Just as His “breath” or “Spirit” gave life to Adam, so the “Logos become flesh” is BOTH living and Life-Giving.

God created all things by His spoken “Word,” and in the Gospel of John, we meet this “Word” face-to-face in the flesh and blood man, Jesus of Nazareth. “In him, the Word became flesh,” thereby revealing the glory of God to all men.

In John’s writings, the term “flesh” is used in the same way as in the Hebrew Bible to refer to men in their weakened and mortal state. Jesus was a genuine human being who participated in the same mortal nature as the rest of humanity, and in him, the “Word” and glory of God were and are manifested for all men and women to behold.

This is why his “words” are living and Life-Giving. They determine whether a man receives “everlasting life.” He was not just another philosopher or religious teacher. In his teachings and actions, men heard and experienced the very creative “Word of God.”

According to Jesus, “It is the Spirit that gives life. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit, and they are life.” Thus, he reaffirmed the biblical truth that God’s Living Word and Life-Giving Spirit are two sides of the same coin, and he also claimed that he now speaks those words and dispenses the Life-Giving Spirit – (John 6: 63).

Jesus was and is the ultimate expression of the Father. Thus, just as God “quickens” or “makes alive,” so “the Son makes alive whom he wills,” imparting life where there is none, and bestowing the Spirit on his followers.

LIFE-GIVING WORD


Jesus is the “resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, even though he dies, he shall live.” Moreover, he is the “light of the world. He that follows me shall not walk in the darkness, but he shall have the light of the life.” – (John 5:21, 8:12, 11:25).

The men and women who heed his words will inherit “everlasting life.” As he declared, “He who hears my word and believes in Him who sent me, he has everlasting life, and has passed from death to life.” Every man or woman who “keeps my word will not see death,” and those who are his true disciples “abide in his word” - (John 5:24, 5:38, 8:31, 51).

Not only does his “word” give life, but more ominously, on the “last day” it will judge the man who rejects it. But if anyone loves Jesus, he will “keep my word, and my Father will love him” since his “word” is not his but originated from his Father, the One “who sent me” - (John 12:48, 14:23-24).

Furthermore, the Word made flesh” is “full of grace and truth.” Not just more truth or the reaffirmation of the Mosaic Law, but the Law was “given through Moses, however, grace and truth came to be through Jesus.” Only His Son provides the full understanding of who and what God is, especially in his death and resurrection, the “wisdom and power of God” – (1 Corinthians 1:24).

Alpine trail - Photo by Drini Teta on Unsplash
[Photo by Drini Teta on Unsplash]

Thus, the fullness of God is revealed in His Son. The Father cannot be known apart from him. “
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me… From henceforth, you know him and have seen him.” Like the living waters of the Earth, his words impart life - (John 14:6-7).

Jesus was not identifying himself as the Father. Instead, God has been manifested fully in in his life, words, and concrete acts of mercy, therefore, if anyone has seen him, he or she has seen the Father. Only in Jesus can we begin to understand the Living God who created all things.

There is no third way. All that God did in the past was in preparation for His complete revelation in His Son, the Living and Life-Giving Word. As Paul wrote to the Colossians, Jesus is the one in whom “all the fullness dwells bodily.”



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