Summary: There’s only one source of life. Jesus’ resurrection to life demonstrates God’s power over sin and death. We see in Jesus new life. What is this life and how does it become ours? Look and see.
Life in His Name
Imagine being there the day Jesus rose from the dead. Imagine being a disciple of Jesus and hearing about it for the first time. What must have gone on in the minds of those who first witnessed the resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ?
John’s gospel gives us two scenarios in chapter 20. The first one, (verses 1-18) we covered in the auditorium class where Mary Magdalene met Jesus at the tomb. The second scenario, is our reading for this morning’s lesson where “doubting” Thomas comes face to face with the unbelievable reality of the risen Lord.
Both of these stories (and, in fact, the entire gospel) are recorded by John for a twofold purpose: these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
What does God really want for you and me?
How does he bring us into a saving faith for eternal life in Jesus Christ?
Somewhere, somehow, we must confront the crucified, buried and risen Jesus Christ so that who he is and what he has done for us is real to us by faith. So real, in fact, that our lives are formed and shaped by following him and striving to become like him. Christianity is founded here. More than living a good life. More than loyalty to church. More than performing the worship according to the pattern of scripture. Christianity is a saving experience of believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing we may have life in his name. The name that is above all names.
Life in his name... let’s look at that here for our lesson this morning.
What does this mean: that you may have life in his name?
What is this life; when does this life begin? Are we talking about a life that starts when this life ends or are we talking about a life that starts now and continues after this life is over?
What is this life in Jesus’ name?
To answer these questions, we need merely look at what the New Testament says about life in Jesus Christ. And, believe me, it is all over the place.
First: Life in Jesus Christ is eternal life, everlasting life.
John uses the words eternal life more than any other gospel and they are inevitably connected to saving, obedient faith in Jesus.
1.John 3:15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
2.John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
3.John 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
"Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal."
"For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
I could go on, but I think you get the point.
What do you know that is going to last forever? God’s word warns us to fix our eyes on Jesus and set our minds on things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Why? God wants us to have eternal life, not a temporary one here and then eternal death. Jesus Christ is our life! Everything else in this world that is not his is death. John wrote later: 1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world— the cravings of the flesh, the lust of his eyes and the boastful pride of life— comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives for ever.
How long is forever?
Did you hear about the man and woman who had been friends for many years, who had died and gone to heaven. They told St. Peter that they wanted to be married.