“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
How many times have Christians heard this scripture used during a sermon? The subsequent meaning of “abundant life” as explained by the preacher usually consist of financial blessings, or the expectation of a monetary windfall. Suppose Jesus’ definition of “abundant life” did not include wealth, money, or secular riches? By closely examining the entire Gospel of Christ, we are able to construct a picture of what Jesus meant by abundant life. Remembering always the Lord’s admonition, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18) So be of good cheer, the true definition is explained throughout the Gospel, and needs no interpretation. Are you ready to “see what he’s saying?”
Before adorning a new garment, it is necessary to take off the old. By the process of elimination, let us first examine what is not abundant life according to Jesus. By reading Jesus’ encounters in Matthew 19:16, we find a man asking for abundant life; “And, behold, one came and said to him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Please note this request was for abundant life that never ends. Do you suppose “eternal life” could be the maximum measure of an abundant life? I suppose so, do you? Nevertheless, Jesus granted the man’s request for eternal life, by giving him a task to fulfill, a stipulation as it were. Astoundingly, the requirement to receive the most abundant life of all (eternal life), called for the man to rid himself of all money, wealth, and secular riches! Chapter 19 of Matthew says, “21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. ” Do you suppose Jesus meant what he said? If the man got rid of his riches would Jesus give him the most abundant life of all, eternal life? The meaning of abundant life according to Jesus is exactly the opposite of financial blessings or monetary windfalls. Jesus said, “if you have it, get rid of it!” He did not say, “in a few days hence you will receive a bundle of cash.” Abundant life is not money, at least “according to Jesus”! Do you agree?
As always, we use the scriptures to define and explain the scriptures. By consistently using this process we are assured that our understanding of God’s word is untainted by human opinion. In the book of Luke, Jesus profoundly states the composition of abundant life does not include money or possessions! “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (KJV, Luke 12:15) If you have a modern translation Bible it says, ” Then he said, Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” (New Living Translation, 2007) Subsequently, since life is not measured by “how much you own,” abundant life is abundantly not measured by “how much you own.” Wow, I get the picture! Do you see what Jesus is saying? With all of my heart, I hope so.
Now that scripture upon scripture has defined what abundant life is not, let us discover what abundant life is, “according to Jesus.” The man who asked Jesus for eternal life in Matthew 19:16, was immediately granted his request. Jesus gave him the coordinates of this super abundant life in Matthew 19:17. “And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Jesus told the man he could receive abundant life/eternal life by fulfilling one task, “keep the commandments.” As strange as it may seem, here is where you come in! Do you suppose eternal life is the abundant life described in our opening scripture? “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) If so, you and I can seize the opportunity for eternal life/abundant life which the young man declined, if we just “keep the commandments.” We know the how of abundant life, which is “keep the commandments.” We know the why of abundant life, which is “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” To complete the puzzle, get the picture, see what Jesus is saying, we must biblically discover the who, what, and where of abundant life “according to Jesus”
Who is the recipient of eternal life, “according to Jesus”?
In the primary header, Jesus proclaims, “they” are the recipients of abundant/eternal life, but who they are is not clearly defined. By searching the Gospel for the identity of who receives eternal life, we find the unmistakable fingerprint, the spiritual DNA match, of who is eternal. John 8:51 (KJV) describes the who they are in an exact description which says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my saying he shall never see death.” The New Living Translation (2007) states John 8:51 thusly, “I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!” Do you suppose “never see death and never die” are ways to describe eternal/abundant life? Notwithstanding, the New Living Translation perfectly identifies who receives abundant life by saying, “who obeys my teaching.” This identification of who receives abundant life (according to Jesus) is both specific and generic. Specific, because he, she, and they obey the Gospel of Christ consistently, which fulfills Jesus’ stipulation. Generic, because obeying the Gospel is something anyone and everyone can do, with “all their heart, mind, soul, and strength” (Luke 10:27). Subsequently, you, I, and anyone can be the who, as long as we obey the Gospel we receive the abundant/eternal life (according to Jesus). Please excuse my grammar, but, “who is me”. Please excuse my grammar again, I hope and pray, “who is you.”
What shall I do to have eternal life, “according to Jesus”?
In one of the preceding paragraphs it is said, “you and I can seize the opportunity for eternal life/abundant life which the young man declined, if we just keep the commandments.” This refers to the young man Jesus encountered in Matthew 19:16-17 who was unable to keep a specific commandment regarding disbursal of his earthly fortune. That young man received one direct commandment from Jesus, and with a heart of disobedience, turned away from Christ to resume his worldly lifestyle. However, in this dispensation we have the entire Gospel of Christ to obey in order to receive eternal/abundant life (John 8:51). What must we do in order to succeed where the rich young ruler failed? How about obeying the Gospel commandment which specifically orders us to live forever? Our biblical protocol is to let scripture define scripture, being consistent in our regimen requires a supporting and defining scripture for John 8:51. Overall, Jesus’ stipulation to “keep my sayings” and “obey my teachings” requires perfect submission to the doctrine of the Gospel. In laymen’s terms, if Jesus said it, do it.
Whatever is written in the Gospel is not just my belief, but my lifestyle, my character, my mindset, my hopes, aspirations and expectations. In other words, I am the physical manifestation of the Gospel. This new creature is described by apostle Paul thusly, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (New International Version, 1984). Paul’s profound declaration describes a creature that abides by the Gospel of Christ, because it is inhabited by the Spirit (attitude, personality) of Christ. These new creatures know what Christ knows, behave how Christ behaves, and obey the commandments that Christ obeys. Understanding this correlation is essentially what I must do in order to obey the Gospel commandment that corresponds to John 8:51. That corresponding commandment is John 12:50, “And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” How many people don’t realize the fact that everlasting life is the commandment of Christ recorded in John 12:50, and not a reward received after death? How many people have been doing what Christ commanded in this regard? To answer the question, “what must I do to have eternal life? I must simply obey his commandments, including John 8:51 & John 12:50, thusly live without ceasing. That’s what, “according to Jesus”!
“Where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:3)
Discovering where eternal life is “according to Jesus” proves to be just as astounding as every miracle he performed. The excerpt of John 14:3 in the header reads like this in its entirety, “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.” Jesus made this promise to his disciples and believers to illustrate the continuance of our physical relationship with the Lord. Christendom is founded upon three related principles. The first is, everything in scripture concerning Jesus Christ is true. The second, Jesus Christ is physically alive and sits in majesty in Heaven.The third, Jesus is coming back to earth and will collect his people when he returns. Because Christians hold these truths as evidence through their faith in Christ, the where of eternal life is understandable to them as a group (“the body of Christ”).
Jesus said, “where I am there ye may be also” (John 14:3). Why did Jesus say may instead of can? Because may is a word that gives permission, and the word can denotes ability. Every believer has the ability to be where Jesus is because he was crucified to give us that right. However, since his physical departure into Heaven, everything is done by faith in Christ and his Word (The Gospel). To realize where eternal life is, I must faithfully believe where Jesus is. Then I must activate the permission he gave me to be with him when he said, “ye may be also.”
Jesus is physically alive, he does not reside in the netherworld of disembodied souls. Christians of every denomination, shout to the heavens, “We serve a risen savior!” Subsequently, Jesus Christ is in this dimension that we call life, the universe, the cosmos, existence, the land of DNA. Moreover, when Jesus arose from the grave he scolded a particular disciple for not believing the fact that Jesus was physically alive. In the book of John chapter 20 it is recorded, “27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Every believer of Jesus’ physical Resurrection and ascension is blessed because of their faith in God’s Word (according to Jesus).
Where is Jesus? Right here, but in another part of the physical universe, and believers have permission to be with him forever. Because Jesus is in this dimension of existence, believers know by faith, that there are eternal beings living in our universal atmosphere. But where do you and I come into this picture of physical immortality? Jesus made it easy for us by one simple commandment, “Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22) These are the instructions of Jesus for all believers who desire to accomplish what the world would call impossible. Moreover, once a person “has faith in God” through obedience to the Gospel, God reveals the location of eternal life (aka abundant life). Zechariah 4:6 exclaims, “So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. Simply put, physical manifestation of eternal life, becoming immortal, overcoming physical death, is accomplished by abiding in God’s Spirit for that exact, specific, reason and purpose.
Where is God’s Spirit? Jesus did not only format a protocol for receiving God’s Spirit into your heart, he also put God’s Spirit in your hands, so that civilization could use it to its fullest capacity. In order for people to effectively apply God’s Spirit to life’s circumstances, Jesus made the Spirit visible to the naked eye. In John 6:63 Jesus gives the Spirit of God to all of us, in no uncertain terms. “The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (New Living Translation, 2007) According to Jesus eternal life is given by The Spirit. According to Jesus the words that he spoke are The Spirit and life. Subsequently, Life eternal is in the Gospel, those sentences and paragraphs which are written in red, in your Bible. The question is, where do you stand in regards to abiding in the Gospel? Do you know the Gospel by heart? More importantly, do you do the Gospel with all of your heart?
Where is eternal life, henceforth known as “abundant life”, according to Jesus (John 10:10)? Eternal life is in The Gospel of Christ, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words (The Gospel in red) will not pass away.” (Mark 13:31) Moreover, eternal life is The Gospel of Christ, since it is the doctrine which Jesus proclaimed is eternal (“shall not pass away”). The question you must answer is where are you in relation to The Gospel? Is it in you, and you in it? If so you have an eternal entity living inside of your physical body. Do you live in it? In other words do you live according to the commandments of The Gospel within you? “And I know that His commandment is life everlasting” (John 12:50); “Truly,truly, I tell you, if a person obeys the Gospel they will never die.” (John 8:51). When you abide in The Gospel (through obedience) and The Gospel abides in you (knowing the words by heart) you are immortal here and now just like Jesus and The Heavenly Father. According to Jesus in the book of John chapter 17:22 “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” This perfect love and oneness is manifested in your physical eternal transformation, and everlasting state of being, welcome to the flock of immortals who have overcome physical death!
ACCORDING TO JESUS (John 10:28) “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish”