In John 10.10 Jesus caps a beautiful teaching on relationship with God by saying, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
I have long loved that verse, and I began to wonder if the vision of “fully alive” was unique to this particular section of Scripture. Was this a cool, but isolated promise, or was it something that was referred to throughout the Bible?
I began a search for this theme, and I came to discover that the vision of being fully alive drips from nearly every page of Scripture. You find it in the Pentateuch, in the Prophets, and in the Poetic sections. You find it in the life of Jesus, in the early church, and in the final chapters of the Bible.
I find it meaningful to revisit some of the core places throughout the Bible where the theme of being fully alive is woven in. Below are some of my favorite Old Testament places that talk about being alive, including the final commands of Moses, who urged the people to “Choose Life”:
>> Genesis – God creates man through an intimate gesture of breathing life into him (Genesis 2.7). God then creates a Garden that represents Paradise, and in the middle is the tree of life (Genesis 2.8-9). When Adam and Eve sin and break relationship with God, it is their ability to be fully alive that is most clearly affected. A startling image is used in Genesis 3.24. A cherub with a flaming sword now guards the tree of life. The point is clear. We long for life, but now we are going to need the grace of God to experience it. We are going to need a faith encounter to have any chance at being fully alive.
>> The Pentateuch – Moses is the spiritual leader of the Hebrew people from Exodus through Deuteronomy, and the Mosaic Law flowed from God to Moses to the people. Deuteronomy 30.19 captures the final words of Moses to the people of God. What was his final admonition? He tells the people that God has set before them life and death, and with everything in him shouts, “Now, choose life.”
>> The Prophets – God consistently used the prophets to call the Hebrew people to the vision of life in Old Testament times. Ezekiel has some of the most vivid messages regarding life. In chapter 11 God says to the people through Ezekiel “I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh” (v20). This is a remarkable image of new life. In chapter 16 God refers to the people of Israel as a an infant who has been thrown on the side of the road and proclaims to them, “Live!” (V6). Then in chapter 37 God reveals an incredible promise of life to them through another stirring image. There is a valley of dry bones representing the despair they felt, and God asks Ezekiel, “Son of man, can these bones live?” (V3). The “Sovereign Lord” then says in V6, “I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”