4. The Word of Life: John

Life is found in Jesus! Explore the seven signs recorded in the book of John that unpack the nature of this life.

But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

-John 20:31


The first words of the Bible record God speaking creation into life. In deliberate parallel, John opens his book by presenting God as speaking salvation into life. Humanity’s disobedience corrupted God’s original creation, bringing brokenness and death into the world and separating mankind from God. But according to John, hope has arrived!


With eye-witness accounts from his time as one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, John structures his book with seven signs that Jesus performed throughout his ministry. These signs reveal the nature of God’s salvation, that people might believe in Jesus and find life in him.


Sign 1: Life is found in Jesus

For John’s first sign, we see Jesus turn water to wine at a wedding after the party’s wine had all run out. To the Jews of this time, abundance of wine was a marker that the Messianic age, the age when God would restore his creation, had arrived. With this miracle, Jesus is displaying that he is the Messiah who has come to bring new life to his people and his world! Jesus’s following signs unfold the essence and character of this life.


Signs 2 & 3: Life in Jesus means healing

With the second and third signs, we see Jesus heal the sick son of a believing father and enable a paralyzed man to walk again! These physical healings point to the complete restoration from all suffering that is to come at Christ’s second coming. Until then, those who believe in Jesus may experience physical healing in this life, but they are certain to experience spiritual healing from the destruction of sin.


Signs 4 & 5: Life in Jesus means freedom

For the fourth sign, Jesus transforms 5 loaves of bread and two fish into enough food to feed a crowd of 5000. Shortly thereafter, for the fifth sign, Jesus walks on water and brings his disciples safely across the sea in a storm. With these miracles, Jesus is revealing himself to be the fulfillment of the Exodus narrative, which tells the story of the Israelites’ deliverance from their slavery in Egypt. God saved his people from the Egyptians through a miraculously parted sea, and God miraculously sustained them with food in their journey through the desert.


With the parallel miracles of crossing water and multiplying food, Jesus is showing himself to be God’s ultimate gift of deliverance! Life in Jesus means believers are freed from the enslaving power of sin. It means freedom from guilt and shame!


Sign 6: Life in Jesus means being made new

Jesus’s healing of a blind a man is recorded as the sixth sign. To perform this miracle, Jesus spits in the dirt and rubs the mud on the blind man’s eyes. In the original creation account, God made man out of dirt. Now, Jesus is restoring a man with dirt. With this symbolic tie, Jesus is displaying that he has come to renew humanity.


Those who believe in Jesus are united to him so that they become a new creation. Everything Jesus accomplished, his perfect life, death and resurrection, is credited to the believer. All of Jesus’s power becomes theirs, and they are continually transformed to look more like Christ! And finally, believers are welcomed into a new community: God’s family!


Sign 7: Life in Jesus means eternal glory

For the seventh sign, Jesus raises a man named Lazarus from the dead. With this miracle, Jesus displays that he has come to defeat death! Those who believe in Christ will live with him for eternity! In this current life, to know and worship God is to experience, in part, the glorious reality of the Christian’s eternal existence.


Jesus’s life overflows

After his death and resurrection, Jesus commissions his disciples to carry on his mission of bringing his life to the world. As Believers, we are commissioned the same! This mission manifests itself as activity, but it begins with abiding.


In John 15, Jesus describes himself as a vine full of God’s life. As God’s people, we are branches connected to the vine, receiving and then delivering God’s life and love into the world. Abiding in Christ, we become vessels of his life-giving power, bringing God’s healing, freedom, renewal and eternal life to others. The key is not our striving but our connection to Jesus, the source of life.


RESPOND: Take a moment to offer yourself to God as a vessel, that his life might flow through you to work its saving power in the world.