Will you join me as we begin with John’s Gospel? So we can better understand why John is writing, and what he wants to say to us about Jesus, let’s first think about John and where he is in life.
John is around ninety years old. He was about eighteen when Jesus was crucified and then resurrected, so now we are some seventy years later. Seventy years is a long time to contemplate this man Jesus. All John’s friends are gone … long gone. His brother James was beheaded fifty years ago. His dear friend Peter has been dead for thirty years, as has Paul. All the other disciples are dead.
John is surrounded by men and women who never met Jesus. Is the memory of his dear, precious friend fading? Perhaps the facts are not yet fading, because the first three Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—have been around for years.
But is the Jesus John knew so intimately fading from view as this first century comes to a close? Perhaps not so much Jesus’ resume but his reality … his essence?
After all, John called himself, “The disciple whom Jesus loved.” Is John concerned this latest generation of Christians doesn’t know, cannot feel, this intimate love that pulsated through Jesus?
Imagine your best friend dies. The newspaper runs his or her obituary, and a friend or two writes a letter to the editor, talking about the facts of your dear friend’s life. This happened when my father died. The Sumter newspaper ran a fine article about him. They interviewed his friends, and each friend had very nice things to say about Dad.
But could they capture the essence of my father? Could they fully represent the life that was Dad?
So, John, wanting to paint a picture of the essence of Jesus, starts with this:
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. (John 1:4)
Jesus had Life in him. Jesus had Life pulsating through him. Everyone who met him felt it. Do you know anyone you would describe this way? Think about what words come to mind. Energy. Positive energy. Passionate. Eager. Engaging. Encouraging. Inviting. Warm. Captivating. Unique.
This was … this still is … Jesus.
In him was life, and that life was the light of the world.
Do you know him this way?
Next Week: Life to the Full