Whenever you go to a Christian funeral I can almost guarantee you will hear the words of Jesus from John 11:25. Christ has just arrived at the tomb of his friend Lazarus who has been dead for four days. Martha, the sister of Lazarus said to Jesus:
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother shall rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.”
Jesus’s words about being “the resurrection” are comforting. It is also encouraging to know that those who put their faith in Him will live even if they die.
Three chapters later in John 14:6, Jesus makes another bold claim, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me.” In this verse, the emphasis is on “the way,” with Jesus being the way to God the Father.
What strikes me is that in both of these verses, Jesus says, “I am the life.” It seems that no one pays attention to this phrase because they are not sure what Jesus means when He says, “I am the life.”
I decided to look up the Greek word for “life” in these two separate verses. It is interesting that there are five different Greek words used to describe the English word “life.” In these two verses in John, where Jesus claims that “I am the life,” the same Greek word is used.
It is the word “zoe.” The definition of “zoe” is “the absolute fullness of life.” Jesus also uses the word “zoe” in John 10:10 when He said “…I came that they might have life (zoe) and they might have it abundantly.”
Jesus is saying “I am the absolute fullness of life.” It is found in Me, I am the source.
Most modern people are looking for the fullness of life out in the world, but they are not finding it, because it is found only in Christ.
This is why C.S. Lewis says when Christ is at the center of your being, you will find life. You will find out who you really are. In essence, you will experience the absolute fullness of life.
Lewis goes onto say when one’s relationship to God is given first place, everything else, including our earthly loves and pleasures increase. Furthermore he says when we learn to love God more than our earthly desires and pleasures, then we will enjoy our earthly desires more than we do now. He then says when Christ is put first in our lives, all secondary things are not suppressed, they paradoxically increase and grow.
This is why Jesus makes it clear in John 10:10, I came that you might have “zoe” and you might have it in abundance.
Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author.