The meaning of life

What is life all about? What exactly is life? How did we get here? What is our purpose for living? These are just a few of the questions that we has humans often ponder. “The meaning of life and the universe is not ‘42’, as the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy facetiously claims.”[1] The meaning of life is revealed to us in the ‘Word’. “We perceive and know through our senses: hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste. For John, the basis of perception is the ‘Word’—the mind or ‘essence’ of God. The ‘Word’ is the conveyor of life and meaning. Without the ‘Word’ nothing is understood, and if it is not understood then it might as well not exist.”[2]

In John 1:1 we see that ‘in the beginning was the Word.’ What or who is the Word? The ‘Word’ (logos) is the essence of God. It is the mind and power of God. This Word has always been in existence with God and it is seen as the creative power of God, speaking the world into existence. John 1:14 tells us that this Word became flesh and dwelt among humans. Clearly, the Word that became flesh is none other than Jesus Christ. Therefore, the meaning to all life and existence is found in knowing Jesus. The Bible is the written Word of God, Jesus is the Word in flesh. In John chapter one, we see several proofs that testify to the fact that Jesus is truly God in the flesh, thus, proving that the meaning of life is found in Jesus. These proofs are seen in His names and His works.

His names. The first name given to Jesus is simply the ‘Word.’ This is seen in verses 1-3. “Much as our words reveal to others our hearts and minds, so Jesus Christ is God’s “Word” to reveal His heart and mind to us.”[3] There are basically three revelations of God to mankind: Creation, Jesus, and the Bible. All three of these revelations can be summed up in the term logos or Word. Creation is the Word revealed in nature, Jesus is the Word revealed in the flesh, the Bible is the Word revealed in words. The Word was with God and is God. Jesus is truly God in the flesh. As God in the flesh (v.3) He is the creator of all things. Therefore, nothing exists apart from Him. So, to discover the meaning of life, we must go to the maker of life. Jesus is that maker. He is our creator. To know ourselves, we must know Jesus. To understand our purpose for living, we must come to understand Jesus.

A second name given to Jesus is the light. This is seen in verses 4-13. Jesus is the original light from which all light has its source. As the light, He propels darkness. All those who come out of the darkness of their depravity and into the light of Jesus become sons of God. How is it possible to go from darkness to light? By believing on the name of Jesus (v. 12). As humans, we are consumed by darkness. We were born in sin. We are totally depraved. The consequence of living in darkness is eternal damnation in hell. The only hope we have to be saved from the consequence or penalty of our sin is to come out of the darkness and into the light. Jesus is the light. Therefore, whoever believes on the Lord Jesus shall be saved.

Another name that proves that Jesus is the meaning of life, is Son of God. This is found in verses 14-18. “The word Son is used for the first time in John’s Gospel as a title for Jesus Christ (John 1:18). The phrase “only-begotten” means “unique, the only one of its kind.” It does not suggest that there was a time when the Son was not, and then the Father brought Him into being. Jesus Christ is eternal God; He has always existed.”[4] In other words, there is no one like Jesus. This shows that Jesus is the answer. He is the only way. He is the meaning of life. It is through Jesus that we receive grace and truth. He is the truth and He is the giver of grace. Apart from Jesus there is no hope, there is no salvation. Our only hope is found in Jesus. He is not one of many ways. He is the only way. There is only one answer as to the meaning of life, and that answer is Jesus.

A fourth name given to Jesus is the Christ. Verses 19-28 reveals to us Jesus as the Christ. John the Baptist was questioned as to whether or not he was the Christ. In verse 27, he mentions that the one who was to come after him is the Christ. That one who came after John was Jesus. Therefore, Jesus is the Christ. The word ‘Christ’ means the ‘Messiah’ or the ‘anointed one’. The Messiah is the one whom the Jews were looking for. Even though the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah, the fact remains that Jesus is that very Messiah that the Jews were looking for. He is the anointed one, sent by God the Father to take away the sins of the world.

Another name that proves that the meaning of life is found in Jesus is the Lamb of God. In verses 29-34 we see John the Baptist seeing Jesus and identifying Him as the Lamb of God. Jesus is the Passover Lamb whose precious blood pays the penalty of sin for the entire world. As the Lamb of God, Jesus made the ultimate and final sacrifice for sin.

In verses 43-49 we see Jesus identified as the King of Israel. The Jews were looking for a king to overthrow the Roman oppression. However, the kingdom of Jesus is not of this world. He is no earthly king. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. One day, He will rule and reign over the whole earth.

A final name that gives proof to the fact that the meaning of life is found in Jesus is the name Son of Man. This is seen in verses 50-51. Daniel 7:13-14 identifies the Son of Man as God Himself. Jesus described Himself as Jacob’s ladder found in Genesis 28:10-17. Jesus was claiming to be the bridge between God and man.

Jesus is everything. He is the Word, the light, the Son of God, the Christ, the Lamb of God, the King, and the Son of Man. Therefore, He is all we need. His very name solidifies Himself as the answer to all of life’s questions.

His works. Not only does His names give proof to Jesus as the meaning to life, but, so does His works. There are many works of Christ described in John chapter one. The very first work of Christ is the work of creation. This is seen in verses 1-4. We have already identify Jesus as the Word who was made flesh. Jesus is the ‘Word’ that was God and is God. It is by Him that all things were made. He is the light of life. Since Jesus is our creator, the obvious conclusion is that Jesus is the meaning of life. Our value, our purpose, our life; is found in Jesus.

Another work of Christ is the work of salvation. Verses 9-13 shows us the reason why Jesus came to this earth in the form of a man. He came in order to bring light to a dark world. The world is cursed because of sin. Since the fall of Adam, mankind has been enveloped by the darkness of their depraved souls. Yet, Jesus came in order to remove that darkness. He came in order to die. It was only in the death of Jesus that salvation could be given to man. His blood paid the price of sin for us. All who believe on the Lord Jesus shall be saved. Since Jesus came in order to bring salvation to the world, this gives a hint as to our purpose in this world as believers in Christ. The meaning and purpose for our life is to glorify God by bringing as many people to salvation in Jesus as possible. Our work is to introduce people to the one who did the work of salvation for us all.

A third work of Christ that proves that He is the meaning of all life is found in verses 15-18. Jesus Christ also does the work of revelation. Jesus is the revelation of God to mankind in the flesh. He reveals the grace and truth of God. The scripture tells us that Moses gave us the law that reveals our sin and issues condemnation; however, Jesus reveals the way to God’s grace and truth. Moses revealed our sin that condemns, Jesus reveals the truth that redeems.

A final work of Christ that we see in John chapter one is the work of forgiveness. Verse 29 tells how Jesus forgives our sin. Forgiveness is an act that is difficult for us to understand. It is difficult for us to forgive those who have done us wrong. We have done much wrong and have been involved in many sins, yet, Jesus forgives us. He takes away our sin and allows us to have a relationship with Him. We do not deserve His forgiveness, but, He gives it to us anyways. Just as Jesus has forgiven us, so should we forgive others.

Are you still searching for the meaning of life? Are you trying to find your purpose for living? Look to Jesus. The answer is found in Him. His names and His works solidifies Himself as the answer for your life and mine. Find your meaning in Jesus and your purpose will be clear.

[1] McFadyen, P. (1998). Open Door on John: a gospel for our time (p. 2). London: Triangle.

[2] McFadyen, P. (1998). Open Door on John: a gospel for our time (p. 2). London: Triangle.

[3] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 284). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[4] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 286–287). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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