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The central purpose of Jesus' life

July 6, 2022

Daily Scripture

John 1:3-5, 3:14-19, 10:10

John 1

3 Everything came into being through the Word,
and without the Word
nothing came into being.
What came into being
4 through the Word was life,
and the life was the light for all people.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.

John 3

14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so must the Human One [or Son of Man] be lifted up 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. 16 God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. 17 God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him isn’t judged; whoever doesn’t believe in him is already judged, because they don’t believe in the name of God’s only Son.
19 “This is the basis for judgment: The light came into the world, and people loved darkness more than the light, for their actions are evil.

John 10

10 The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Pastor Hamilton wrote, “The most famous of John’s statements about life is what Martin Luther called the ‘gospel in miniature,’ John 3:16….for John, eternal life is not just what happens after we die, though it certainly includes life after death. For John, eternal life begins now….As we know Jesus, trust him, abide in him, listen to his voice, and follow him, we experience forgiveness, hope, love, and a purpose-filled existence.” * That was why Jesus offered “life to the fullest.”

  • One of John’s most powerful images of Jesus’ saving impact was the contrast between light and darkness (cf. also 1 John 1:5-7). Sometimes, for big or small reasons, we begin to fear that darkness will extinguish the light. To remember John 1:5, take a small candle or flashlight into a dark room, and confirm that darkness can’t put out the light. In what ways has Jesus’ saving presence brought light into the darker corners of your life?
  • How do you understand the meaning of “God so loved the world…God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world”? Too many people think anyone who quotes John 3:16 mainly judges and condemns them. In what ways have you learned to personally trust God’s saving forgiveness to transform and free you? Can you identify one of your relationships in which you will begin or deepen the process of more fully living out the freedom of a forgiven, forgiving life during 2022?

Lord Jesus, if you didn’t come to judge the world, then you clearly don’t want me to make that my major mission either. Shine your saving, loving light through me to a darkened world. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Dr. Amy Oden

Dr. Amy Oden

Dr. Amy Oden is Professor of Early Church History and Spirituality, teaching at several seminaries. Teaching is her calling, and she looks forward to every day with students. Her latest book (Right Here, Right Now: The Practice of Christian Mindfulness, Abingdon Press, 2017) traces ancient mindfulness practice for Christians today.

I don’t know what you were taught about why Jesus came, but my experience says Christians are really confused about it. In the gospel of John, Jesus is pretty clear about his purpose: “I came so that they could have life–indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest” (John 10:10). Pause and let that sink in. Life to the fullest! What does that look like for you? Right now, in your everyday life?

One of our wise ones, Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), a theologian, preacher and abbess of the 12th century, talks about this fullness of life as greenness or viriditas. She describes “the greening power of God” as a verdant, life-giving vitality that flows through all things, not only the earth but also through human beings. Hildegard invites us to stay connected to the Source of this life-energy, this juicy-ness. Life to the fullest.

When have you experienced “greening power” in your life, that sense of coming alive or being energized? How might “the greening power of God” be showing up in your life right now?

Today, imagine your spiritual life rooted here, in Jesus’ invitation to “live life to the fullest.” Does it shift the ways you think about God or about your life or about the world around you when you contemplate God’s greening power?

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Hamilton, Adam. John: The Gospel of Light and Life, p. 20. Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.