“He tapped his finger on his lips, then said, “The Holy Spirit is no ‘doctrine,’ whatever that may mean. The Holy Spirit,” he declared with considerable delight, “is a person, the lover of communion and the master of communication.” (1) All life comes from persons – the persons of the trinity. Life is never found in abstractions, things or behaviors. Life is God and is imparted by God as spirit and life. Unless we understand that life is God – which is what John meant when he wrote, ‘He who has the Son has life,’ we will seek life in abstractions and Christian stuff. We will reduce Jesus and Holy Spirit to the letter and denude ourselves of real life while claiming to be vessels of life.
Live in religion and we will talk religion. Be in the flesh and we will talk flesh and our ‘flesh talk’ will be the antithesis of the spirit and life that comes from God. This is the difference between filling a religious segment of time with a spot of ‘God-talk’ and speaking what Father means us to hear in the moment as words of spirit and life.
‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6.63 NIV.
John breathed among us the oxygen of Jesus’ teaching. In John’s report we read things like, ‘Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you.’ And ‘Those who eat Me will live because of me.’ Those who eat Jesus are different people to those who eat religion or who ‘eat’ their own denomination for sustenance. The former are alive while the latter do not know that they are double-minded and ghosts of their potential selves.
BREAD OF LIFE
Have you ever thought about John? He was a man who knew about ‘being.’ Not a mere ‘human doing’ he ate and drank God and became alive in His Spirit. He was not a man who sustained himself on Bible studies and religious routines, John went for the jugular so to speak. He ate Jesus’ flesh and drank Jesus’ blood. His gospel bore witness to the deep-life that was in the trinity and which had made its way into Him. John lived the spirit of sonship – not because he had done a study on the topic but because he like Jesus was one with our Father. The difference between living from a belief system and Christ being our life is always the difference between life and death, light and confusion.
John knew that those who are alive with spirit and life live because they eat Jesus. This was what John did.
ITS ABOUT LIFE
If john had not been as reflective as he was, as humble as he proved to be or as grounded and as free of artifice as he was; if he had not had such facility with words or been as comprehending of reality; had John not been as skilled in figurative language or as perceptive as he proved to be to penetrate deeper than appearances – John would not have been himself. He would have been unable to extol and reveal the Living Word. And so he wrote of Jesus, ‘In Him was life and that light was the light of humanity.’
In these few words John captures the core of who Jesus is for us and who we may become in Him. John was the disciple Jesus loved and more to the point, the disciple who loved Jesus. John is not so much telling us about beliefs but explaining to all ABOUT LIFE.
‘Life’ is a thing and a power in itself. It exposes all that is phony and dulling. Life confronts and exposes death. We should not always expect truth to immediately make us feel good. It comes initially as a shock. It removes the anaesthesia that we live in and often exposes our walk as the walk of a dead man. But it is like this because it is resurrection and life in person. Thus in a novel about the life and teaching of John we find,
“The testimony of Jesus always exposes darkness as darkness,” he said, obviously remembering his adventures and triumphs and losses. “When the light dawns, the darkness reacts—and all the more intensely when the darkness is religious. That, my friend, is the way the kingdom comes in this age. We reign with the Lamb.” (2)
You have an identity in Christ that identifies you with the life of Jesus, the trinity and the creation. We can either let the light expose the darkness, or we can continue living in darkness. Will you reign with The Lamb as a lion or will you leave your inheritance in the ground, retreat into you pat answers and proof texts and bury yourself in your imagined religious identity?