Spirit and Life
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)
I think it’s edifying for us to dwell for a while on the enormity of what Jesus said here. His words are Spirit, and His words are Life. Jesus Himself was the Word made flesh. Jesus was the full expression (the word, the logos) of all that God is, created in human form. The substance of our Saviour is the actual word of God. So when Jesus tells us that His words are “spirit and life,” He is telling us that what comes out of Him actually carries His very substance. The idea that God’s word is a seed is not just a helpful image; it is the actual truth. Just as a seed carries a germ of the substance of the parent plant, so the words spoken by Jesus, and every word that the Holy Spirit speaks into our hearts, carry something of the substance of the Creator: spirit, and life.
If we look back to the context of the healing of the centurion’s servant we can see an illustration of this very principal. That miracle of healing was a sign of the authority of the words of Jesus. If we carry on reading that gospel account we find that on the following day Jesus comes to Nain, where He has compassion on a widow who has lost her only son. Jesus stopped the funeral:
“Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.” (Luke 7: 14-15)
I say to you, arise. Jesus isn’t speaking to the body of the young man; He is speaking to his spirit. Let’s break down that simple command. I (the Son of God) say (and the substance of the word I am going to speak is My Spirit and My Life) to you (a young man created by my Father through me): arise! How could that young man’s spirit do anything other than re-animate the body it had recently been living in and sit up?? What would you have done if you had heard Jesus call out to you from the other side of the veil of flesh that you thought you had left behind? Wow…
So the gospel of Luke shows us how first the authority, and then the actual substance (spirit and life) of the preaching of the Kingdom of God is confirmed by two miraculous signs. If we do what Jesus says, His commands themselves carry all that we need to see His kingdom established in our lives, building a house that will withstand every tempest that we might face. And just as that funeral in Nain was brought to a halt, it seems in these days that the world we know has stopped. Jesus approaches the body, the body of everything in our lives and in the church that is dead, and He calls out to our spirits with words of authority, spirit and life, saying “Church, I say to you: arise!”
For your light has come!
And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the LORD will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isaiah 60: 1-3)