The Life

16th study in the series on the ‘Names of Christ’
adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on
23 Nov 2007

25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this” (John 11:25).

Picture a man reclining by the beach. A glass of wine is in his hand. The sea is a crystal blue. A gentle breeze is blowing. The scenery is idyllic.  It is like paradise. The man takes a sip of his ice-chilled wine. A smile breaks across his face and he exclaims, “Ah, this is life!”

Fast forward 2 days. The same man is now slouched at his office desk. The cup of coffee is now cold and vile. The pile of papers on his desk is two feet high. The phone is ringing non-stop. The man ruffles his hair and a scowl breaks across his face. “Life’s a drag” he complains.

What is your life? What really is life? Is it to sit by the beach having not a care in the world? Or is that the exception? Is life really the mundane grind in the rat-race?

What is life? The Lord Jesus says, ‘I am the Life!’ Herein is the answer.

The Lord Jesus was in Bethany to see his friend Lazarus. He was more than 4 days late. He was already dead and rotting in the grave.

Martha, the sister of Lazarus did not seem so pleased that he had arrived so late. “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died,” she said (Jn 11:21).

The Lord replied tersely: “Thy brother shall rise again” (v. 23).

Martha, apparently, did not fully understand what the Lord was saying. She said:

“I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (Jn 11:24).

The Lord did not attempt to correct her, for what she said was correct. Instead, He expanded the doctrine for her in the famous words of our text:

I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this.

Herein is the Lord’s 5th great ‘I am’ sayings in the Gospel of John. And herein are two names of the Lord Jesus, “The Resurrection” and “The Life.” We have considered the name ‘The Resurrection’ in our previous study. He is our resurrection both of our body and soul. In response to Him, we must live in the power of the resurrection by which we have been made spiritually alive; and at the same time we must live in the hope of the resurrection of our bodies.

In this study, the Lord helping us, we must consider the counter-part to this name, which is: ‘The Life.’

As we mentioned, these two names of the Lord are actually closely connected and somewhat overlapping in terms of their meanings. But I think it is useful for us to consider it separately for the Lord will later use this name ‘the Life’ again in a different context: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jn 14:6), He says.

What does the Lord mean when He speaks of Himself as ‘The Life?’ How should we respond to this name of the Lord? These are the two questions that we must ask this evening.

1. The Life

What does the Lord means when He says I am ‘the Life’? I believe what He is saying is that only in Him can man find life eternal, abundant and free.

Man is created body and soul in the image of God. As such, human life can only be defined in relation to God rather than to physical pleasure and circumstance: whether we are by the beach or in the office or in school.

Unfortunately, man fell into sin, and as a result lost communion with God. Man’s life became meaningless, purposeless, frustrating, painful and often a drag.

All these are because of sin. But this need not be the case, for Christ has come to restore life.

The apostle Paul says: “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6:23). What is eternal life? Eternal life is not just life that will never end, but a life of knowing and enjoying God in Christ Jesus.

This is in contrast to the mere existence of animal life, or the meaningless life of frustration and sorrow of the ungodly.

The Lord Himself says:

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10).

In nowhere else but in Christ can we find life that is truly life. Life is not found at the beach, in good food or good company. Life is found in relation to Christ.

Christ as the Resurrection raises us to life by His Spirit. He does so on the basis that He died for our sins and rose again from the dead.

Christ as the Life leads us in the way of life by His Spirit and His Word. A life that is abundant and free is a life of knowing Christ and enjoying God in Him. In such a life, the knowledge and experience of God’s love is real. In such a life, there is a willing response to God to seek to please Him because it is a life that is constrained by the love of Christ.

Only such a life is truly purposeful and abundant. Only such a life is truly meaningful under all circumstances.

It is meaningful when we are at the beach enjoying the good things of this life that our heavenly Father has bestowed upon us.

It is meaningful when we are at the office where our service is not for our human bosses to see but for our Lord, our heavenly master.

It is meaningful in church even when we face politics and disappointment for we know that it is a process we have to go through which makes us turn our eyes to Christ rather than to man.

It is meaningful in the home even when there are quarrels, illnesses and insufficient sleep for we know that by His grace, we shall emerge through all these trials purified and ready to love Him more.

It is meaningful even when every aspect of our life crashes around us and wave after wave of sorrow sweep over our soul. It is meaningful because we know that Christ is the resurrection and the life, and therefore one day, all that hinders us from this life of enjoying God will be completely eradicated and we shall enjoy life in Christ to its fullest.

Life without Christ can hardly be described as life when we know the true meaning of life. Christ is the Life. Christ is my Life. I trust He is your Life.

How should our response be to the fact that Christ is our Life?

2. The Response

If Christ is the Life and our life, then let us live in Him, by Him, and for Him.

a. Let us live in Him. The apostle Paul says:

“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Col 2:10).

In other words, our life is incomplete without Christ. Only in Christ can we have life abundant and free.

What is it to live in Him? It is to live in the knowledge of the Lord. It is to live by faith in Him. In other words, it is to live a distinctly Christian life.

“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” says John (1Jn 2:6).

To live in Him is to view everything with a Christian worldview, and to do everything with a Christian purpose.

To live in Him is to be Christian in all circumstances in our life. It is to be Christian not only in church, but at home, at work, at school, at the beach, at the supermarket, in the MRT, in the taxi. To live in Him is to bring Him wherever we go and whatever we do. It is to give people a reason to ask about our faith as soon as they interact with us.

We must live in Him for He is the Life. But not only are we to live in Him, we must live by Him.

b. Let us live by Him. To live by Him is to live by His strength. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” says the apostle Paul. “Without me ye can do nothing” explains our Lord Himself (Jn 15:5).

What does it mean to live by His strength?

It means to rely upon Him.

It means to seek Him for wisdom and strength in all that we are appointed to do.

It means not allowing ourselves to become overwhelmed with despondency when we find ourselves unable to meet up to the expectations of men. Those who live by Him know that they can only do as much as Christ enables. If they can with a clear conscience do to the best of their ability, they can and should continue to labour on cheerfully knowing that the Lord is compassionate, and that He understands and cares.

Christ is the Life. Therefore, let us live by Him. But finally, if Christ is the Life,…

c. Let us live for Him.

The apostle Paul says: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21).

If Christ is the Life and our life, then let us live for Him. Let us make Him the centre and purpose of our life.

Let us bear Him in mind in all our decisions, in all areas of our lives: Where to live? Where to worship? What job to take? How to educate? What to go for vacation? Etc.

If we make any decision without considering Christ at all, it has to be a wrong decision.

If Christ is the Life so that life can only be abundant and free in Him, then surely living without Him on the throne of our heart is foolish and spiritually suicidal.


Beloved brethren and children, let us disabuse our minds of what the world views as life. Christ is the Life. Life without Him is powerless, meaningless and empty, without hope and without joy.

Christ is our Life. He died and rose again that we might live.

Let us live in Him, by Him and for Him gratefully and joyfully. May the Lord help us! Amen. ω