RESURRECTION LIFE AND ITS PRECIOUSNESS
You are probably aware that three Greek words are translated life in the New Testament. Bios denotes the life of our physical body; psuche, the soul or the soulish life; and zoe, the uncreated, eternal life, which we did not have until we received the Lord Jesus. The zoe life is in our spirit. The presence of these three kinds of life within us makes us complicated and is the source of conflicts. Bios may feel tired, but psuche may want to go to a concert to listen to music. Each expects the other to go along with its feeling. Zoe proposes that they cease their disagreement and go to the meeting instead; then bios will rest, and psuche will have satisfaction, not with music but with the Lord Jesus.
Zoe is not a condition nor a thing but a Person, Jesus Christ Himself. “He that hath the Son hath life [Gk., zoe]” (1 John 5:12). This life is the resurrection life.
Resurrection, symbolized by frankincense (Lev. 2:15), is precious in the eyes of God. It is sweeter even than the cross, which ushers it in. It is dearer than the incarnation, which was such a pleasure to God because He thus became one with man. Resurrection gives God more pleasure than did the creation of man and of the earth, even though these were a delight to Him and are the object of His love.
In resurrection Christ is revealed to us. In resurrection God is now energizing us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. In resurrection we shall all be glorified and be the sons of God in manifestation. The ultimate consummation of resurrection will be the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and the new earth in eternity.
FROM FLESH TO SPIRIT
Let us see how the Gospel of John leads into resurrection.
The Gospel opens by referring to God as the Word which was in the beginning. Then verse 14 tells us that “the Word became flesh.” John ushers us out of eternity, where the Word was, and into time, where the Word became flesh. This One, who dwelt among us, “full of grace and reality,” was the supreme attraction to His disciples for the three and a half years He was with them. Then He told them that He was going away (John 13:33; 14:2). What He really meant was that He would become something further. As the Word, He had become flesh. Now He was to become the Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45).
Even as early as the third chapter in John, the thought begins to change from the flesh to the spirit. When Nicodemus came to converse with Him, the Lord’s reply was, “Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (3:5-6). Nicodemus could interpret the need to be born again only in a physical way, but the Lord said that the one born of the Spirit was like the wind, making a sound but not visible. Notice this turn here from the physical to the spiritual.
Chapter six of John further points us to the Spirit. The Lord said that He was the living bread. “If anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread which I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (6:51). The Jews, like Nicodemus, took His words literally, in a physical sense, and could not figure out how this Man could give them His flesh to eat. The Lord’s further “hard word” to His disciples about eating His flesh and drinking His blood He explained in verse 63, by again turning them to the Spirit. “It is the Spirit Who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken unto you are spirit and are life.” He meant that what He would give them to eat was not the meat of His physical body; that meat, “the flesh,” was of no avail. What was in store for them was Himself as the Spirit.
(Life Messages, Vol. 1 (#1-41), Chapter 35, by Witness Lee)