“… that you may have life in His name.”
It would not be inaccurate to characterize the verse above as the mission statement of John’s gospel. John himself tells us that this is why he wrote, “…that you may have life in His name.”
‘But I already have life’, you may say. And in a sense you would be right.
God has arranged the world in such a way that we are able to invest ourselves in many modes of living and draw various dividends. We invest ourselves in marriage and the results can be among the best in life; children, a loving partner, a home where we are nurtured and cared for. The joy of real friendships can add a dimension to our lives that nothing can replace. Meaningful work provides opportunity for service and fulfillment. The wide and variable richness of the world, our temporary home, provides a bounty of experience and resources for living.
But John does not present us with any of these. He does not send us back to ourselves, to others or to the creation to find life. We do not draw life, authentic life, from any of these, as good and beneficial as they may be. In fact, family, friendships, work and the creation itself can be the souce of some our greatest burdens, tragedies and sorrows. That’s the way it is in a sinful world. The very things that we look to for life have a way of turning on us. They can take the life right out of us.
Jesus also found life in the things mentioned above. In the end, however, those same sinful forces that distort the good things in your life took His. But the Author of life is stronger than life-denying death. Christ is Risen!
So John brings you back to the very Source of your life, God Himself in Christ Jesus. In your baptism, God promised to be and to remain the true source of your life through Christ so that when the lesser lights of life disappoint or are extinguished altogether, “you may have life in His name.”
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”