“I Am … the Life”

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” —John 14:6

JESUS said of himself: “I am … the life.” It is spoken of him in Proverbs 8:22,23: “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” And John says of him, in John 1:1-4, “In the beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God [or God-like]. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” (See Wilson’s Diaglott, interlinear translation.) John then says: “In him was life and the life was the light of men.” Again, in Acts 3:15, he is called “the Prince of Life.”

More meaning, therefore, was implied in his words, when Jesus said, “I am … the life.” He meant more than that he would be the ransom for fallen humanity, restoring the life they had lost. The ministering of life had been committed to him long before that time. If all things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made, and he was the firstborn of every creature (Col. 1:15), it was he, as God’s instrument who created every living thing. He gave them life. Angels, archangels, cherubim, and seraphim—it was he who had brought them into being—through God’s power and authority, of course.

The first sight that mighty angels beheld at their creation, when they attained consciousness, may have been the Prince of Life standing before them! It was he who, under God’s direction, formed Adam of the dust of the ground, and it was he who breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And when light came into Adam’s eyes and he sat up and looked about him, the Logos was there, although Adam probably did not see him. As a spirit being, the Logos would be invisible to mortal man, unless materialized in human form. Is not this what John meant when, speaking of Jesus, he said, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men”?

Life is the most precious thing in the world. Without it nothing can be known, and nothing can be enjoyed. One cannot even praise God without life. In Psalm 6:5, David, deserving death, prayed for a continuance of life, using the argument that “in death there is no remembrance of thee [Jehovah]; in the grave, who shall give thee thanks?” Man was designed to live, and to continue to live. This desire to live is universal. Even those of the most savage and primitive cultures cling to life, and the hope of life. They refuse to believe in the finality of death; instead, they believe in the abode of the dead, in life after death, which was Satan’s original lie.

The ancient Egyptians placed in the tombs with their dead the comforts of life—food and furnishings, and the replicas of all their possessions in life—believing that those who died, journeyed to another happier land of eternal life. The various western Indian tribes who depended upon successful hunting to sustain life and who knew hunger when game was scarce, believed their dead went to a ‘happy hunting ground’, where game was plentiful and easy to take, where one could live forever without fear of hunger.

Other peoples believed the dead became living shadows to return and abide with the living, haunting them and influencing them for good or for evil. This is demonology, resulting in the slavery of the living to placate the dead; in reality, these are evil spirits masquerading as the dead. How strange that it was among the more civilized peoples that the idea of torment as punishment of the wicked dead was fostered! The pagan Greek and Roman cultures believed in this theory, and it was from these beliefs that this horribly blasphemous doctrine was adopted into the nominal Christian churches. Here again, Satan’s original lie was fostered.

The universal desire for continuing life is not accidental—it is inherent and God-given, having been implanted in man’s very being. It is the most magnificent proof that man was actually designed to live forever. Every fiber of man’s being resists death and the thought of death. “I must not die!” man says. “I will not die!” While dying, man reaches out and frantically grasps for life as a drowning man grasps at straws. He refuses to believe in death. He rejects it. But he sees it all about him, even in his own body. He cannot escape it. So what does he do? He rationalizes it. He calls it a friend. He calls it a gateway to another world, a better world, where one may live forever under more ideal and happier conditions. Again, accepting Satan’s lie, rather than God’s clear statement, “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die [Margin: ‘dying thou shalt die’].” But man rejects God’s sentence, and attempts to reconcile himself to death.

But is death a friend? We who have the truth know that it is not. First, we have the plain scripture calling it an enemy. (I Cor. 15:26) “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Also, it is obvious that if Jesus Christ is the Prince of Life, the opposite of life is not a friend. But aside from this, reason alone tells us that death is not a friend. Is it a friend that causes hearts to break, that fills lives with anguish over a departed loved one? Is it a friend that snatches away the mainstay and support of a family, leaving behind a destitute widow and children in want? Is it a friend that suddenly and cruelly terminates all the beautiful dreams and plans of a life together? No! Death is an enemy! A miserable and hateful enemy that Satan’s deception brought into the world. As Jesus Christ is the Prince of Life, Satan the Devil is the Prince of Death.

And, from the human standpoint, the situation is indeed hopeless. Every earthly being in the world fearfully anticipates death. It is an inevitable fate. It is like a black and evil vulture ever circling overhead, watching intently for its victim to weaken, only biding its time to pounce suddenly upon him. Considering all this, could there be any better news or Gospel, than that death had been abolished? Not that man would continue to live on and on, in sickness and misery—the workings of death in our bodies—but that every vestige of death should be abolished, and man would live on in perfect health. Could there be a more joyous Gospel? “Our Savior Jesus Christ, … hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” (I Tim. 1:10) John 3:16 goes with it: “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” What better news could there be!

In these days of threatened atomic destruction, the most shocking headline that could appear in a newspaper would be the two words: WAR DECLARED! But after the long nighttime of weeping the world has been through, what an impact of joy would result from the two word headline: DEATH ABOLISHED! This, in essence, is the Gospel we preach. These are the words of life we take in our mouths; and it is the message of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Life, to whom Peter said, in John 6:68, “Thou hast the words of eternal life.” This is the very substance of the divine plan of the ages: man created perfect, designed to live forever; the fall of man into sin and death; the frightful experience with sin; a ransom found—appropriately that same Prince of Life through whom man was first created and given life; then the recreation, the resurrection, the restitution—life restored in full measure, with man fulfilling the original design, and living forever in happiness upon the earth.

But when Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” he was speaking to his disciples alone. He had just partaken of the Last Supper with them. Judas Iscariot had left the group, with Satan in him, motivating him. Jesus knew of the ordeal ahead for his disciples, when he would be taken from them, be crucified, and return to his Heavenly Father. So he tried to prepare their minds with the words, “Whither I go, ye cannot come.” (John 13:33) “Why not?” Peter wanted to know. “Why can’t I follow you?” (John 13:37) How could Jesus at that time explain to their fleshly minds the nature of the high calling to be partakers of the spiritual nature? He simply answered, “Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.”

Then he spoke intimate, encouraging, and comforting words which they would remember in the dark days that followed: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare; a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself: that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3) What simple and beautiful words these are! One would almost think he was speaking to children—and he was, in a way. His disciples were childlike, in the best sense of the word: loving, trusting, obedient in the same sense that Jesus used the term when he said of little children: “Of such is the kingdom of heaven.”—Matt. 19:14

When he told his disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions … I go to prepare a place for you … that where I am, there ye may be also,” he was offering them the divine nature. This was the high calling, of glory, honor, and immortality. (Phil. 3:14; Rom. 2:7) This was that of which David prophetically spoke, in Psalm 16:11, “Thou wilt show me the path of life. In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Jesus was showing them the way to immortality, in fulfillment of Proverbs 12:28, “In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.” He was pointing out the gateway to eternal life, as he did when he said in Matthew 7:14, “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Jesus had the right to offer his disciples the divine nature, immortality. As our text says, he was ‘the Life’, the embodiment of life, and, as the Heavenly Father’s agent, the dispenser of life. He himself said, “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”—John 10:28

And now let us fully realize that these promises Jesus made to his early disciples are ours also! We, too, are his disciples. Jesus said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever. And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) To which Paul added, “The bread which we break, is it not the communion [or participation] of the body of Christ? For we, being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” (I Cor. 10:16,17) We are of the body of Christ, which has 144,000 members. Therefore these promises of life which apply to the entire body are ours also, because our Head is the Prince of Life. Through Jesus, we are victorious over death. So “when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”—I Cor. 15:54,55

Jesus said that he would give his flesh for the life of the world. (John 6:51) He was willing to lay down his life in sacrifice. This is the ransom. “There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing. There is that maketh himself poor, yet bath great riches. The ransom of a man’s life are his riches. Who is it that makes himself rich and has nothing?” (Prov. 13:7,8) On the other hand, we read of Satan, “Thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds: I will be like the Most High.” (Isa. 14:13,14) And what does Satan have? What is his dominion like? Diseased and dying; depraved and degenerated; the earth one vast graveyard. Nothing! It is waste and desolate.

Then, “there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.” We read of Jesus, “Who, being in the form of God thought not, by usurpation, to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also bath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” (Phil. 2:6-9) We also read, in II Corinthians 8:9, “Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor.” Is there any greater poverty than to be deprived of life? The death of an ordinary, sinful person is bad enough; but for the Prince of Life to die, that was poverty indeed!

Yes, it was Jesus who “maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.” But what are these great riches? The scripture continues: “The ransom of a man’s life are his riches.” Notice the singular—a man’s life. This is Jesus’ ransom for the life of Adam—a life for a life—a corresponding price. And this is confirmed in the words, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned … For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”—Rom. 5:12,19

The ransom of a man’s life are his riches, the scripture says. This is the rich and complete offering Jesus had in his hands and which he presented in heaven for the redemption of the human race. It was the ransom of a man’s life, Adam’s life, and covering Adam and all of Adam’s children who were born in sin and shapen in iniquity. It was a rich gift indeed. This verse sums it up: “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”—Rom. 6:23

Christ has returned; his second advent has come. He who said, “I am the life,” is here. The kingdom will soon be manifested in power and glory, and the blessings of life will begin flowing to the peoples of earth. Instead of death notices in the newspapers, there will be resurrection notices! Instead of funeral services, welcome services will be held! And instead of a ‘wake’, an awakening! As the kingdom progresses, the memories of Satan’s reign of sin and death will fade like the remembrance of a nightmare from which one has awakened. Only the lessons learned from the experience with sin will be unforgettable. Forever will be remembered and honored the sacrifice of Jesus, who died “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil.”—Heb. 2:14

And thanks be to God, this, too, is yea and amen in Christ Jesus, and will surely be accomplished by our Prince of Life!

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |