More to Life Than SNL, Coffee or Poker

2222 zōḗlife (physical and spiritual). All life (2222 /zōḗ), throughout the universe, is derived – i.e. it always (only) comes from and is sustained by God’s self-existent life. The Lord intimately shares His gift of life with people, creating each in His image which gives all the capacity to know His eternal life.  HELPS Word-studies

Life- it’s a loaded word with all sorts of different meanings given to it.  Music has life, art has life, food has life, the newsstand has Life Magazine, and LIFE has been immortalized by Mikey.  And, hey, if Mikey likes LIFE, shouldn’t we all?  The fact is, people have existed since the Logos- the Word- was spoken in the dark of non-existence.  Only the Word was able to speak and bring forth something out of nothing.  Abiogenesis requires a faith I can’t muster.

But isn’t evolution more credible as you watch or even experience the plodding routines that have been encapsulated in our “rat race?”  Life?  You call this life?  The 24/7 grind?  Is that life?  The slave for 5 days so we can live for 2?  That’s life?  The year-in year-out meaninglessness that becomes a farce as if we are living “Home for The Holidays”, or worse, “Groundhog Day?”  Is this what we refer to as life?

When we see that life WAS (and IS) in Him, I think our writer John had a much different picture in mind.  As his plot unfolds, we see The Word inhabiting our world and really living.  He did not just live in Himself and of Himself, He also was the life-giver.  And to top it all off, He surrendered to the taking of His life so that He could “take it up again.”  This WAS Life.  Not as we imagine it to be, or even experience, as real as it is!  Jesus was abundant, eternal life-  the source from whom all life flows.

You see Life was IN Him.  He was before all; He was before life.  The spiritual realm of His own existence predates our world’s beginning.  Life started with Jesus because He caused it to be.  He was the Person with the power to say the Word and let life begin.

If we want to Really Live, go beyond Saturday Night and Live Sunday Morning!  Saturday Night is a facade for all that life is supposed to be when the Word doesn’t matter to you.  But when the scene becomes a parody of itself, and you see through the hollowverse, meaning is camped out on your doorstep, so that when you awake on your stoop on Sunday morning, the blinding sun starts drumming, “There’s gotta be more to life than this, there’s gotta be more to life than this!”  There is, there is… with every sunrise, the day dawns with a new hope, because a new life starts when God speaks into your universe, creating a new life in you.  Jesus is life- He is the only source of spiritual and physical life.

John has ample proof, just keep reading.But he doesn’t make the case so airtight that there’s no room for faith.  Believe it, or not.  What’s the worst that happens- one bender less doesn’t mean you haven’t lived.  A wasted weekend, or a wasted life?  What would it hurt to take a break and read John’s take on Jesus, the Word, the Life?  Read it slowly, sip the boldness, inhale the aroma like a coffee connoisseur.  Consider this your wake-up call: Jesus is better than a fresh cup of coffee.  As you go deep, ask yourself- what do I lose if I put all my Saturday Night chips in?  What’s the payoff?  This isn’t for the spectators who sit and watch life unfold; this is for the whole shooting match.  You’re either all in, or your out.  Jesus will lay it on the line with His students when He tells them, “The one who loses his life will find it and the one who lays down his life will save it.”  Puzzle over that while you ponder what this means: “In Him was life.”

In Him was Life

And now we come to a core principle started “in the beginning” and borne out throughout the course of Scripture.  Even as a little child, I was amazed that there was nothing-  then, something-  all because of Words spoken.  The Word was in the beginning and commanded it all into existence.

Words have meanings.  We have dictionaries and encyclopedias filled with words that need to have their meanings explained, and thesauruses that give us lists of synonyms.  It galls me when obviously educated adults twist word meanings, as if they can re-define them.  The meaning of “is”- really!?  Such nonsense gives weight to the idea that meaning comes from the recipient, rather than the giver.

The Word Himself gives meaning to existence, to communications, to our universe, then the collective academic minds gather to critique it all, and want to substantially re-define The Word, the words He spoke, the resulting Creation, the science and the art of what He made, and the crowning glory of it all-  man in the image of God.  The one He made for sharing meaning, for conversation, for revelation and discovery becomes the one who decides what it all means to him?

I don’t think God gave us the right to do that.  His plan was for Himself and Adam to speak and share understanding, and God was the one who defined the terms.  He set the limits.  He gave the commands.  He supplied the warnings and the parameters.  Adam did not get to choose; he simply heard and understood.

In our fallen world, language and meaning has taken a fall- a steep fall with an abrupt stop.  Nonetheless, God did not abandon His plan.  Rather, He continues to carry it out every day.  His Word goes forth, and BANG -a new creation!  The Word that became flesh and blood comes alive in the one who willingly accepts the terms of His Covenant.  The fall of language and meaning is redeemed by the One who speaks, writes, listens and shares in understanding where we are coming from.

And He meets us with wonderful words of life- Nobody does it better!

Emphasis and Difference: Without Him was Nothing Made That was Made

Do you remember double negatives?  I was pretty bad when I was a five year old: “I ain’t never gonna lie again!”  Despite the grammar correction, Mom probably took it in its most truthful sense.  And my teacher persistently reminded me that 2 negatives make a positive.  Thanks, Mrs. Mickelboro!

It feels awkward every time I hear myself quoting the words, “And without Him was not anything made that was made.”  The obvious reason John states His case for the deity of Christ- the fact that the man Jesus was indeed GOD Himself- was for emphasis!  He could have just said, “And WITH Him everything was made that was made.”  But, does that make the same impression?  The cadence and structure make the first way more memorable because of the double negative.

George MacDonald adds to the meaning with further insight:

http://georgemacdonald.info/creation_in_christ.pdf

His take leads to a distinction that John makes between this line and the one that follows.  It’s the difference between “through” and “in”.  Through Jesus, the Son was acting as an agent for the Father in Creation; in Jesus the Son acted in a way that brought life in redemption.

Through Jesus absolutely nothing could have been created, because He was the only authorized and able One to bring things into being from nothing.  Who else but God can do that?  Through Jesus, Everything was made!  He was and is not just our Creator, but the Creator of all things:Every life, every stone, every sparrow, every hair.  Try to make a list of things He did not make.  You will either not waste a second trying, or you’ll spend a lifetime trying to come up with 1 thing to start the list.

Let there be no doubt, without our Creator, nothing could have been made that has been made!  As my Creator, He owns me and He owns every day of me. Let that lift you through whatever today holds and challenge you to be who He created you to be!

All Things were made by Him

Blue_EyeEverything was brought into being through Him.  Him who?  Okay, the capitalization gave it away, but just to be clear, the Word is “Him”.  Yes, it does feel awkward to call an individual “Word”.  It might be a bit like saying, “Hi, Moon Unit”, or “How’s it going, Ocean?”  Yes, the Word is an individual- a person, a human being.  There are a lot of human beings that feel apart from any deity and can’t begin to relate with someone who says that the Creator of the Universe wants to get personal with them.

“A personal relationship with Jesus?!  What are you talking about?”  Defining personhood and relationship seem like a good idea:  personal- having qualities of a human being    relationship- state of being connected  “So you’re saying I can be connected to a guy who lived 2300 years ago and relate to him as a human being?!”

(This guy’s a quick study, isn’t he!)  “Yeah, spot on, you are totally getting it!”  The Word, that is Jesus, is a person who lived 2300 years ago, and before that even.  He made everything from the start right through to the end of the world.  He made you.  Jesus, the Word, is the Creator of the world and the Creator of you.  He was and is a real person, so He is totally able to relate to you and everything you are dealing with.

Nothing came into being without His personal involvement.  The Word is a person, and His name is Jesus. He feels anger and He feels sadness.  He knows how to have a good time, and He knows when it’s time to get the job done. He poured out His own share of blood, sweat, and tears.  He is love personified, He is joy spreading to everybody who is nearby, He is hope and peace mixed in perfect balance with truth and justice.  He knows how it feels to be misunderstood and mischaracterized, maligned and libeled. He was abandoned and left with no one to rescue Him.  He was attacked and brutalized, wrongfully tried and found guilty even though there was not a trace of evidence against Him. He felt every ounce of pain.  His fluids were depleted and He could hardly form words for lack of breath and spit.  He was real, He was human… and He is alive to talk you through any situation because He can relate.

Yes, the Word is a Person and He wants to get personal with you.

The same was in the beginning with God

Back to the beginning…  It all does go back there doesn’t it?  Every aspect of life can retrace its steps back to the beginning.  When it comes to The Word, He was in the beginning.  The same way, the same time, the same place- The Word was present in every way as much as God was.  Meaning is derived from our origins.

The Word was the uncaused Cause, but if we want to wrap our minds around the identity and nature of The Word, we have to start at the beginning.  In much the same way, if we want to wrap our minds around who we are individually, we have to retrace our steps back to the beginning.

Where am I from?

Whose am I?

What stuff am I made of?

Unlike me, His essence is substantially the same as God.  My essence is derived from the one who brought me forth; I’m a lot like the block I was chipped from, but I’m uniquely me.  The Word is more like God ever since the beginning than I will ever be like my dad or mom. To have existed in the beginning with God is John’s declaration the the Word was not only with God-  HE WAS (AND IS) GOD!  John pulled out the megaphone to clarify and resoundingly so, affirm that Jesus was God in the beginning before Creation took place.  No one else was there- just God and the embodiment of God: the Word.

Since the birth of time, the One who brings into being, the One who gives meaning, the One who created the spaces and places, the One who owns, the One who fashions-  He is.  He needed no Creator because He is the Creator.  To be with God in the beginning is John’s final definitive statement that The Word was God.  My own meaning and essence find their origin in my Creator.

The beginning is the starting line of all that follows.  The human relay race does not go back infinitely; it finds its beginning in The Word.  So too must I.

My beginning is found in the history of The Word, so I will explore a lifetime of meaning in the now by digging deep into the genesis of all life then with the great I Am to tie it all together.  Come and explore the Word with me!  He was in my beginning and in yours.  Find yourself in the Word…..