“In him was life”.
Jn 1:4 NIV
In the early centuries of the Christian faith many believers were persecuted because they believed in Jesus. Most of them were not deterred. The life they had found in Jesus was a transformation of human existence not previously believed to be possible. He brought them joy, peace, love, hope, meaning. It was so much more than mere existence. He transformed the most cruel of circumstances into an awareness of love – God’s love.
Some of those punished were thrown to the lions or burnt at the stake. It was a quick and merciful end. Others were sent to the salt mines of North Africa. There they had their chains shortened so that they could not stand up. They were driven underground amongst the scum of the earth, whipped and beaten. Some of them managed to scratch messages on the walls of the mines. Some wrote names of loved ones or friends. But one word occurred in the scratchings left behind more than any other. It was the Latin word “Vita! Vita! Vita!” It meant Life! Life! Life! More conscious of Jesus than the degradation of their surroundings or the hopelessness of their plight, their message screamed out their faith in the Lord of life and conqueror of death. They had found life in him who sacrificed his for them.
Life comes from God. Jesus promised eternal life to those who believed in him. Only God can bestow a quality that can be described as “eternal”. Paul said, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life” (Rom 6:23 NIV). God is the author of natural life and he is the giver of the new life Jesus brings because it has the quality of eternity.
Lord, help me always to know true life in Christ.