“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4
Every moment of every day, we are propelled by a silent urging.
Persistent in our minds is the unspoken, prime directive around which we orient our awareness. It is the a priori of our existence, the point of our central orientation, our singular focus.
As essential elements of its command, we work to secure wages with which to buy food and shelter. To be restored and continue its work the next day, we sleep. Working, reaching, stretching . . . we continually try to grasp that which is just . . . at . . . our fingertips, but, oh. . . just a little bit further ahead. The cycle cries out to be unbroken and serves as the mother of worry.
We are a people with a passion to live.
But around 30 AD, a young, Jewish man interrupted this silent and singular focus with a game-changing announcement, an idea that captivated those around Him: Jesus said, paraphrasing, “All your striving, reaching, working? I am the life you seek.”
Imagine this: living one’s life pursuing a singular thing – securing whatever it takes to live – and then meeting a man who tells you that everything around which you are orienting your interest is no longer primary, but secondary, that He, Himself, is primary. He says that if you will seek Him and His leadership in your life, He will assume the responsibility to provide all these other things that distract you from it.
If it were me, I’d have some questions.
I’d wonder, first, who this guy thinks he is . . . talking like someone from the “outside,” but in his appearance and style, looking a lot like me. I’d wonder why he thought he knew these things about life. I’d wonder if he could really deliver on all that he was promising. I’d wonder what I might be asked to “do” to get in on this, because frankly, being consumed by trying to secure all that it takes to live can be exhausting. So maybe there is something better, something more. . . primary.
I’d wonder if he were trustworthy.
I’d have wondered then, and too often, I wonder now. In my everyday, working-to-live-sleeping-and-waking-again hours . . . I wonder, and I worry.
In the verse above, the apostle John begins his version of Jesus’ story with an amazing claim: in Jesus, appeared life, and it was a special kind of life.
What is it about this “life” that caused John, writing about 50 years after it all happened, to say, almost whistfully, that this life, somehow in Jesus, was the light of mankind? For John, Jesus had become primary, and all else, secondary.
I think Jesus wants me to think about this word, “life,” and as I do, I think He wants to answer a few questions.
Age-old questions. Questions, perhaps, you have, too.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10