God Loves Life and Loves Giving Life
The whole theme of the Bible is Jesus coming into the world, bringing life so we can have eternal life and live with God for all eternity. Right from the beginning that was the plan, Jesus bringing life.
In getting ready, God packed the Old Testament full of hints and tips what everything was about. Jesus is the life of the world, and there is life in Him. He is "the Seed of the woman" the answer to death and dying. He is the Lamb, the substitute on the mountain (Genesis 22:13), the Passover (Exodus 12), and the suffering Servant (Isaiah 53:6-7).
So God prepared and finally the time was right. Jesus was born and John begins his Gospel, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4) Jesus is the life and He would heal the sick and raise the dead. All around the holy land He came to bring life. Jesus explained something about Himself, "As the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself." (John 5:26)
That is very distinct. His life is different from our life. We receive our lives because we were conceived and born. Jesus "has life in Himself." He is eternally living, and His eternal life is the same as the Father's.
But Jesus came to bring life by being the substitute, standing in our place and receiving the sentence of death. This is the mystery. How is He who has life in Himself supposed to be subject to death? Even after being conceived and taking on a human body, He was still the Eternally Living One. How was it possible for Him to die? And yet Jesus willingly went to share our sentence of death, accepting what did not belong to Him. He came to bring life, and bring us into His life.
Death cannot hold the One who is Life and has life in Himself? It cannot destroy the One who has no sin. It cannot keep the One who can raise the dead with just a few words. The One who said, "Lazarus, come forth!" (John 11:43) or "Child, arise." (Luke 8:54) could not be stopped.
We say it all the time. Death is undone. It is broken. Jesus could not be held in the tomb, kept in the grave cloths, or have His body bound by death and decay. "In Him was life."
And along comes another wonderful verse. Jesus said, "As the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will." (John 5:21) We have comfort. And we have the promise. Jesus gives life to whom He will, and He has chosen to give life to us. No weakness or sickness, no wearing down of these bodies from long years, and no accident can stop the Son of God from giving life.
Lord Jesus, You are my life and salvation. You hold in Your rising the promise of my life. You hold in Your eternity, all my years to come, and all the blessings of being with You. Keep me in faith and guide me that I may sing Your praise, forever. Amen.
Rev. Mark Willig
Pastor Willig is pastor emeritus of Friends in Christ Lutheran Church.