In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God; 3 all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5, RSV
According to tradition, the author of John is the disciple John, one of the sons of Zebedee. In these first five verses, John uses three words to describe who Jesus is and who Jesus is to us, the Word, life, and light. Today, I want us to look at life and what it means in relationship with Jesus, the giver of life. Depending on which version of the Bible that you read, the book of John mentions the word “life” 35 to 45 times.
John tells us in 1:3-4, that nothing has come into being without Jesus. All life, everything came into being through Jesus and was made through Jesus. In John 5:19-47, Jesus makes it clear that He is equal to God. Just as God has the power to give life, so does Jesus. Anyone who believes the equality of Jesus with God shall have eternal life and will be in the resurrection of life, not the resurrection of condemnation.
John 3:15-16, 36, also tells us that just by believing in Jesus, that we may have eternal life. Because we were made through Jesus, I believe we were made eternal beings. I don’t believe that the only life we have is just what we experience here on Earth. For me, that would mean that the promises in John 3:15-16, 36, are just nice words. This concept of eternal life is so crucial that the promise is repeated three times in this chapter, believing in Jesus will give you eternal life. I am not sure what the other side of eternity looks like, but for me to know that I have eternal life is awesome. John 3:36 ends with this warning for those who do not believe in Jesus, “. . . who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Those who do not obey the Son, are those who do not believe in Jesus. But this offer of eternal life is for all.
In John 4:7-30,39-42, contains the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman. As always, Jesus uses common everyday concepts to explain who He is to the people. He finds the Samaritan woman at a well. Jews and Samaritans did not mix socially. Jews looked down on Samaritans. It was in this context that this strange conversation was occurring. That’s why the Samaritan woman was surprised and astounded that Jesus asked her for some water. Jesus tells her in that if she had asked, He would have given her living water. The woman thinking that the living water that Jesus was speaking of was a new kind of water. That’s why she asked, “where do you get that living water?” Jesus not only tells her that He is greater than the patriarch, Jacob, but if you believe in the giver of life, you will no longer be thirsty, but have eternal life. Likewise in 6:27, Jesus warns against working for food (things) that perishes, but for food (Jesus) that gives eternal life, Jesus “the bread of life.”
In John 1:1-18, Jesus tells a parable about sheep. The people of Jesus’ time were familiar
with sheep and how sheep were taken care of by the shepherd. Sheep were often gathered into a pen that was usually a cave, shed, or walls made of stones or branches. A shepherd usually slept
with his sheep in the sheep pen at night to protect the sheep from thieves, wild animals, or bad weather. There was a door or gate to the sheep pen. Now, the shepherd is the only one able to
legitimately let the sheep in and out of the sheep pen. As the shepherd is gathering or directing the flock, the sheep knows the shepherd’s voice and obeys and follow him. (v. 3-5, 27). Sheep by itself have no natural defenses like other animals. It doesn’t have any quills like porcupines. It can’t change color to match its surroundings like a chameleon. It doesn’t secrete poison like a rattlesnake. It doesn’t have speed like a cheetah. But, it is still smart enough to know that the shepherd is its protector and to totally rely upon the shepherd. In verses 7-9,
Jesus equates himself with the gate to the sheep pen. He tells those listening, that He is the legitimate One who can open the gate to save the sheep, to give the sheep life, to protect the sheep. He tells them He is the gate to salvation.
In John 10:10, Jesus tells those listening He is not like the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy the sheep. Jesus is the One who has come to give the sheep life and to give His sheep life more abundantly. Here in verse 10, Jesus does not use the Greek word for life bios. The word bios, in Greek means earthly or physical life. Instead the word for life Jesus uses here in verse 10 is the Greek word “zoe,” which means eternal life or spirit. So those who were listening that were his enemies were upset again that Jesus is saying that He is the gate to those who hear and obey His voice have eternal life.
Then Jesus tells his audience using the Greek word peressos, which means over and above, more than is needed or enough, extraordinary. The abundant life that Jesus is promising those who believe in Him is a life that is eternal, a life that is extraordinary and more than enough. This abundant eternal life for those who believe in Him is the way provided for us to be reconciled with God, this is the abundant life, to no longer be separated from God. Jesus does this by laying down His life and taking it up again so that we can have an eternal life filled with abundance. Are you ready for an eternal abundant life by believing in the giver of life, Jesus?
 Revised Standard Version from Biblegateway.com
 See John 5:18, 19.
 John 5:21
 See John 5:24-29.
 See John 3:15, which uses the word, whoever meaning anyone. See John 3:16, which uses the words everyone who believes. See John 3:36, 47, which also uses the words whoever believes.
 John 4:10
 John 4:11
 John 4:14
 See 6:48, 58.
 This is an excerpt from a sermon preached on August 18, 2013, using the text from John 10:1-10.