John says in his gospel:
“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, The Son of God and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).
Jesus is the Lord. We're talking about letting Jesus be our Lord and our Life.
Let's start to explore letting Jesus be our LORD. God Himself declares:
“You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3)
Jesus is not just a great Rabbi, a great Teacher. He is Lord. He is Lord regardless of our belief, or lack of belief. Many secular scholars like to think Paul invented the whole idea of Jesus's lordship. But this is not true for Jesus is revealed as our Lord throughout the gospel of John and in fact all scripture.
The deity of Jesus
How does John view Jesus?
John gets straight into it—declaring the deity of Jesus. John doesn't waste a second. He doesn't beat around the bush. In his very first sentence, which has an echo of the very first verse in the whole Bible says this:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and The Word was God." "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His Glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and Truth” (John 1:1, 14).
And then, in the verses before the end of his gospel, he records Thomas’ declaration:
“Then Jesus said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at my hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My LORD and my God!’ (John 20:27–28).
“My Lord and my God!”—Is that your declaration? Is Jesus your Lord and your God?
Jesus and the Father
Let's look at a discussion Jesus had with Thomas and Philip (John 14:5–11).
5 Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going, and how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7 "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.
Verse 9 makes it clear that when we see Christ, we see the Father. In fact, in order to have any relationship with the Father you must go first through the Son, as we read in verse 6.
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Is He your Lord? Is he your master?
Knowing the LORD
So far, I've focused on the Lordship and Deity of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) and we have done some theology.
Unfortunately, it's very possible to have good theology and recite a creed, and yet have no relationship with Him. There's a difference between merely knowing about the LORD and really knowing Him personally. You can know that Christ is the way and the truth, but not your life.
My desire is that we would not only have sound doctrine, but that the life of Christ would live in and through us. For this is the same as having the very life of God in us.
The Messiah is our very life.
The LORD of Life
Going back to the first chapter of John, we read:
“All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:3–4).
Just a few pages later, we read:
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
Jesus is not only our LORD, but our very LIFE.
There are two aspects of this life that the Messiah gives.
First of all, it is eternal life. The world is looking for that magic formula to prolong life, and life expectancy is improving. Physical death, however, is inevitable. But according to the Fathers’ plans, death is not the end of all life.
Jesus spoke to Martha, the sister of Lazarus, saying.
“…I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25).
Do you believe this?
If we look to medical science in our quest for eternal life we'll be disappointed. If we look to Christ, then eternal life is actually attainable.
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:14–16).
It's ironic that the medical field uses the symbol of the upraised serpent to represent itself; but, we know that it's only through the Messiah we can attain eternal life. With the kinds of instruments we have these days in our hospitals, you can prolong a person's life. His life is being prolonged, but then we must ask about his quality of life.
Secondly, Jesus speaks of quality of life, Jesus is not only the source of eternal life. He is also the source of the highest quality of life. Jesus says,
“I have come, that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Abundant life in the LORD
The Messiah does more than prolong life, He offers a superior quality of life, abundant life.
One Greek lexicon takes the Greek word for ‘abundant’ and says that it means: “that which is more than, more than enough, beyond the norm.” Another lexicon describes it as: “exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure.”
This is in accord with the blessings given at the beginning. He is also speaking here about the purpose of His coming. To pay the price for His bride’s sins, and so reconcile her to Himself at the restoration (marriage supper of the Lamb), and fulfil all Gods promises, oaths and covenants, abundant blessings and prosperity, peace and joy.
That first Jerusalem congregation lived in the belief and faith of these truths. Believing, trusting, committing to, obeying, and having faith in. In Acts 2:42-47 we see that this is evidenced in their teaching and in their feasting, in their fellowshipping and their sharing, in their praying and in their praising. They were very alive with this truth and faith. Alive with the life of Messiah in their midst, it's that abundant life that made that community so compelling.
Why is life in the Messiah so abundant? It's because we are given the privilege to share in the very life of God Himself. We see this in Jesus's prayer:
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20–21).
These are amazing words. He's praying about you and me, that we may be one in God. He is praying that we will share in the very life of the creator.
The fruit of abundant life
When we are in God, when we participate in His life, we have the fruit of that life, which is that:
“The world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:23).
When Messiah appears in all his glory the whole world will certainly see and know. And if we want to see more people desire the Saviour now we need to have the life of the Saviour more and more evident in us. Otherwise how can we ever hope to provoke anyone that they should want to experience the kind of life we have? What kind of life are you living these days? Is it abundant or is it absent? Is the Saviour evident in your life or something else?
How we can live this abundant life?
You might think that because you read your Bible and participate in worship services and discipleship groups that you will automatically have all the spiritual life you need to have. However, when I read John 5:39–40, I see that it requires more than that. Jesus said to some very religious people:
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me. But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39–40).
We see from this that the life Christ is offering is not automatic just because we do religious things, even reading and searching the Scriptures. Our Saviour says the way to have His life is to “come to Me.”
Reading the scripture doesn’t save us. Bible studies don’t save us. Participation in religious services doesn’t save us. Praying doesn’t save us. Keeping God’s commandments doesn’t save us. It is Christ who saves us.
To experience His abundant life we must first come to Jesus—the Living Word and the living Torah—which not only reveals our sins, but has the power to save us from those sins. Coming to Him is the only way to abundant life, a life that is compelling and provoking, for the blessings come to those who walk in the Saviour’s life.
Jesus is essential for life
We need to come to Him to be fed. In John 6:35 Jesus says to His disciples:
“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger…”
And then we read what He says in verse 57 of that same chapter:
“As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.”
There are some things that may be difficult to comprehend about these words, that Jesus is the “Bread of Life.” These days, we could actually go without bread in our diet and still be healthy. In Christ's day, bread was a staple. It was the stuff of life. When Jesus said “I am the Bread of Life,” he was really saying “I am your source of nourishment. You can't live without me.”
Matthew Henry wrote in his commentary, “It is a certain sign that you have no spiritual life in you if you have no desire towards Christ, nor delight in him.” If the soul does not hunger and thirst, certainly it does not live: it is a sign that we are dead indeed if we are dead to such meat and drink as this.
We cannot have His eternal life without coming to Him to feed upon Him.
There is something else about Jesus—the “Bread of Life”—that we should understand. In John 6, Jesus refers to Himself as a certain kind of bread, a heaven-sent bread. He compares Himself to that “manna” which God sent to feed the Israelites in the desert. Here again, even more dramatically we have a picture of the absolute need we have for Christ as our only source of life. When the Israelites ate manna, it was their only food. It was either manna or nothing.
More of us need to realize how crucial Jesus/ the Word made flesh, is to our daily existence. Our very life depends upon Him; it's Christ or nothing, the Word or nothing. You can try other delicacies the world would offer. You might enjoy the tastes of sin for a season. But in the end they will not give you eternal life.
The only truly satisfying life
There’s a proverb that says,
“The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above” (Proverb 14:4).
Maybe we've been eating at other places and have seen that the world doesn't satisfy, as the prodigal son discovered. If you will come back to the Lord, a banquet awaits you. If you will return, the Father will say:
“Bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry for this my son was dead and is ALIVE again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:23–24).
Only Christ can really satisfy the deepest longings of our hungry soul.
Are you hungry for him—for his Word? You should be. A dead man cannot hunger. Hunger is a sign of life. The first thing a child does when it is born is to hunger after his mother's breast. Spiritually hungering after Jesus ought to be the natural instinct of the one who has been truly born again.
Christ wants to fill up our hungry soul. His words in John 6 actually come right after he fed those 5,000 hungry people. Matthew gives an account of this same miracle, saying:
“Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, ‘I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way’” (Matthew 13:32).
The good news is: if you're starving spiritually, Jesus's heart of compassion goes out to you. If you'll come to Him for food He will not "send [you] away hungry, lest [you] faint on the way.”
Now if you're hungry at all for Him then it's a good sign. It means that God is awaking an appetite within you. Thomas Watson, a preacher from the 17th century, wrote these encouraging words: “God will fill the hungry soul because he himself has excited and stirred up this hunger. He plants holy desires in us, and will not he satisfy those desires which he himself has wrought in us? When God prepares the heart to hunger, he will prepare his hand to fill. It is not rational to imagine that God should deny to satisfy that hunger which he himself has caused.”
I hope that hunger has reached the point of pain, has reached the point of desperation. Esau was so hungry that he was willing to sell all he had just for one bowl of soup. Fortunately, if you are hungry for God you won't have to sell your birthright to get this food.
Listen to Isaiah:
“And you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live” (Isaiah 55:1–3).
“Come to me”
We are a Messiah-centered community. With Thomas we look at Jesus and we can't help but worship and declare, “My Lord and my God!” Then, if we're a Messiah-centered community, it is because “My Lord and my God” is the source of our very life. Jesus is the only true way to eternal life. But more than that, He is the way to abundant life. To receive this abundant life, it requires taking pro-active steps. Jesus says, "Come to Me" and we must come in a certain way: We must come to Him to feed upon Him.
There is one more way in which He expects us to come to Him. Let’s read about that:
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, if anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:37–39).
So if we are a Messiah-centered community, then we become a “Spirit-empowered community.” If you're thirsty the answer is Christ. I can lead you to His water, but I can't make you drink. I can’t make you drink, but I'm trying to persuade you to do just that because I've had a taste of that refreshing water—and I want to share with you what I’ve tasted.
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).
Unlocking the river of Gods’ Holy Spirit is coming to Jesus with a belief of who he is and a thirst for more of Him. Christ says,
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink… He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37, 38).
How many have come to Jesus today, thirsty for more of Him? Let our desire be the same as the psalmist who wrote:
“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1–2).
And in another psalm:
“One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27:4)
Let’s pray: “For the hope that is before us, the joy that is before us, to appear before our God, to dwell in the house of our God, to behold His beauty and inquire in his temple all the days of our life, our abundant eternal life, this is our cry, this is our prayer. We hunger and thirst to be filled with your life our Lord and our God. Even so Lord Jesus, come.”