In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.John 1:4-5
In the Bible study from this week’s scripture reading, there are four key themes that stand out from the passage. They make the collective proclamation that there is an eternal or everlasting aspect to life, that Jesus is the source of this eternal life, that the world and people are in darkness without Christ and that Jesus will bring them light in the form of spiritual life. This life is referenced by the Greek word zoe which the apostle John is using in this passage. In contrast to another Greek word for life, bios, which pertains more to the physical realm, zoe pertains to spiritual life. In the scriptures, this is defined more as the resurrection life, eternal life or everlasting life and its source is from Jesus.
Jesus spoke about eternal life to Nicodemus, a leader of the Jew’s religion and stressed the importance of being born again, or born from above, when he said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. [John 3:6] Jesus was teaching Nicodemus that being born again has nothing to do with a second physical birth, it is completely derived from the birth of a spiritual nature. This spiritual birth has only one source and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ by believing in him. Jesus spoke of this same point later on to inquiring Jews when he stated that, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [John 6:63] Note the connection now at the end of this verse between spirit and life because the zoe life is in reference here; one that is resurrected, eternal, everlasting, whose source is from God and God only. Quickeneth means to bring to life and in this case it is the spirit that comes to life.
New spiritual life
New spiritual life is not something we can obtain from mere head knowledge, or hard work, good deeds, or religious rituals and education. In terms of righteousness before a holy God, these are nothing more than filthy rags in the eyes of God as stated by the prophet Isaiah, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” [Is. 64:6] Where then is new spiritual life, it is in him, Jesus Christ. What type of life is it, it is eternal life, lasting or existing forever, without end. Jesus is the source of this life. He is the vine (John 15:5). He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) He is the one who gives a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:14). He is the resurrection, and the life. (John 11:25).
This week’s scripture reading therefore emphasizes that new spiritual life through Jesus Christ is one that is eternal or everlasting. There is no end to it. It is forever and ever and lest anyone doubt that there are countless scriptural references to support this position. A simple review of the apostle John’s gospel account and one of his letters will provide substantial evidence to build a case in this regard. Synonymous use of the words everlasting and eternal life are used by the apostle John twenty-six times in his epistle and first letter. [John 3:15, 16, 3:36, 4:14, 36, 5:24, 39, 40, 6:27, 40, 47, 54, 68, 10:28, 12:25, 50, 17:2, 3, 20:31, 1 John 1:2, 2:25, 3:15, 5:11, 12, 13, 20] This is a fully supported premise in scripture that life from God is eternal in nature for he is eternal and gives eternal life to believers in him.
Jesus is the life
While the world may profess and teach that there are many ways to God, many ways of religion and that all roads lead to heaven, the Christian faith offers an exclusive approach in that new spiritual life only comes to us through the Son of God. The apostle John wrote of this in several scriptural passages such as this one noted here, “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:15-16] Eternal or everlasting life is therefore only obtained through the Son of God thus substantiating the divine nature and role of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God from the scriptures.
The apostle John writes further to support and prove this exclusive role of the Lord Jesus Christ in his other letters, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” [1 John 5:11] Paul the apostle endorses this same proclamation in his letter to the Romans by stating, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Rom. 6:23] Jesus is the life, he is the light of men, therefore, the corollary message is that people without Christ have no zoe or spiritual life and no light in them from God. John made this abundantly clear in his first letter by saying that, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” [1 John 5:12]
Despite all this life and light revealed to mankind from the Son of God, there still prevails a principle dilemma in the world shared by the apostle John from this week’s scripture reading. “The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” This is almost akin to shining a flashlight in a dark room but the room still does not light up. What is the darkness in this verse, it is the world, the people of this world, without Christ, without hope, eternally condemned according to the scriptures. Condemned because they cannot comprehend or apprehend the Word of life, the Son of God. Sadly this represents the majority of the world as Jesus stated in the scriptures, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” [Matt. 7:13-14] Once again, the life referenced in this passage is zoe or spiritual life.
According to the scriptures, this condemnation is shockingly by default upon the world and the people of the world; there is no respect for persons in this regard, all are considered guilty before God. The condemnation originates from believing not on the Son of God as Jesus once proclaimed to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. It is a blessing however to know that Nicodemus became a believer in Christ later on and perhaps these words from Jesus were the deciding factor in his coming to Christ by faith during his initial encounter with Jesus one night.
“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”John 3:18-21
The light of life
In concluding this Bible study it is important to realize the world is steeped in sin and darkness through the god of this world, Satan, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” [2 Cor. 4:4] But the scriptures declared centuries ago that although this darkness would continue throughout world history, a great light would come upon the people of the world, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” [Is. 9:2] This great light is the Lord Jesus Christ for the scriptures proclaim this truth about him, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” [John 1:9]
As a seeker of faith, or even as a proclaimed Christian, are you living in the life and light of Jesus Christ? Is this your earnest hope and desire to repent of your sins and to turn from those things that produce nothing but guilt and shame in your life? The Lord of glory is waiting for you to come to him, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” [2 Chron. 7:14] It is only in Jesus Christ from which we can obtain life and immortality as the apostle Paul proclaimed in one of his many letters from the scriptures, “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:” [ 2 Tim. 1:10]
Why not believe upon Jesus by faith, he who was declared to be the Lord from the scriptures (Acts 2:36). Why not make this decision today, for eternal life can be yours in Christ through your confession of faith in him as told in his own words, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” [John 8:12] There is no requirement for creeds, rituals or rites of passage, Jesus calls whosoever to come to him, “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” [Ps. 36:9] Come and receive life in him and see the light in the Lord Jesus Christ now and forever, and find rest in Jesus once and for all.
Bible Study Questions
- From this study, can you explain the difference between zoe life and bios life as noted in the scriptures?
- How would you describe Jesus’ statement when he said you must be born again to see the kingdom of God?
- What does the work quicken or quickeneth mean in the scriptures in reference to the spirit and the life?
- New spiritual life can be obtained just by reading the Bible and going to church, true or false? Hint John 3:15-16
- Who in scripture is responsible for blinding the minds of unbelievers and keeping them in darkness?
- Why are people condemned already according to the words of Jesus? Hint John 3:18-21?
- If you made a decision to believe and place your faith in the Lord Jesus please consider sharing this study with a friend.