I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
That is God’s offer to you—life to the full. Jesus points to a field of wheat. Imagine trying to count the number of kernels in one acre. Immeasurable abundance. Turning our gaze to those luxuriant fields, he says,
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.” (John 12:24, The Message)
The point he is making is that he has come to share his life with us. And what a beautiful, lavish, creative life it is. Imagine walking through a rain forest. Diving over a coral reef. Simply look through a microscope at a drop of pond water. Creation is pulsing with life. It is the life of Jesus, given generously for the life of all things. He is called “the author of life” who personally “sustains all things” (Acts 3:15; Heb. 1:3 NRSV). This is the life he offers us; this is the extravagance with which he offers it. Jesus doesn’t only give his life for mankind, he also gives his life to mankind. It is showered upon us daily like manna.
How else can we possibly live as we were meant to live? Nothing else will get us there.
That is why Paul says we are “saved by his life” (Romans 5:10).
Our part is to receive it—to take up those practices that enable us to receive more and more of the life of God and set down those things that rob us of the life of God. As George MacDonald said, “The whole growth of the Christian is the more and more life he is receiving.” Thus the vine-branches metaphor Jesus used—we are to live in such a way that we receive our life from his, as a branch does from the vine.
By the way, this is the bottom-line test of anything claiming to be of Jesus: Does it bring life? If it doesn’t, drop it like a rattlesnake.
Once we understand that our need is life, and the offer is life, it changes the way we approach Christianity—we do such-and-such in order to receive the life of God. We surrender more and more of our lives in order to be filled with his. Not just once, but as a daily practice.