The Life He Came to Give Life

David Bast

Read: John 4:7-15

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)

“Get a life!” It’s what we say to people who obsess over trivial matters, like chronic nitpickers. It could also be the subtitle of the fourth Gospel: (How to) Get a Life! John states this explicitly: “but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).

The word “life” occurs 43 times in John’s Gospel, and it’s always connected to Jesus. “I am the bread of life” (6:35). “I am the resurrection and the life” (11:25). “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (14:6). “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (10:10).

The life Jesus came to give goes by a special name. It’s not bios, physical life; it’s zoe. Zoe is often modified by the adjective aioniou, which literally means “of the ages,” but is usually translated “eternal.” Eternal life isn’t just everlasting life, the thing we get when we go to heaven. Eternal life is abundant life, life that is infinite in quality, not just quantity. It’s real life, the life everyone wants, and it comes from receiving Jesus.

Jesus put it this way: “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again” (John 4:14). What he said literally was, “he will never be thirsty forever.” The life Jesus gives is like a spring of water inside, “gushing up to eternal life.” —David Bast

As you pray, give thanks for (real) life.