Jack: Hey, Ollie, you’re a Christian, right? Can I ask you a question?
Ollie: Yep, I am Jack. Sure!
Jack: Is there more to life than life?
Ollie: Woah! That’s some question Jack! Why are you asking?
Jack: Well, this pandemic makes you think doesn’t it? Is there more to life beyond the biological existence we all share? Why are we here? Is this life all there is?
Ollie: Jack, the Christian faith does have wonderful answers to those questions.
Jack: That’s why I asked you Ollie. But I’ll be honest. I’m an agnostic. I don’t believe you can really know one way or the other.
Ollie: Appreciate your honesty Jack but you can’t sit on the fence over such a big issue.
Jack: Can anyone really know? Does it even matter? Didn’t that geezer Shakespeare write, ‘life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’
Ollie: Well, I know there’s more to life than just accumulating stuff and the pursuit of pleasures.
Jack: Life’s a ride mate and don’t bother thinking about where it ends up. We’re all destined for six feet under.
Ollie: Seems a shame then that our life ride is over so quickly Jack! Surely life is more than a soap opera; a series of failed episodes in which we try to find meaning and purpose only to be disappointed and await the next instalment.
Jack: Well, yes, I’ve known a few failed episodes myself!
Ollie: Jack, Jesus is the primary cause of all life (John 1:4) and he claimed that he came so we may have ‘life and have it abundantly’ (John 10:10).
Jack: Jesus Christ said that? To be honest, I can never shake off this nagging thought that there’s something more to life. Abundant life. Alright what did Jesus mean?
Ollie: Abundant life is the opposite of all the negatives of life we know: not growing tired of our existence; life not growing stale on us; or disappointing us.
Jack: Are you going to start banging on about life in heaven now?
Ollie: Eternal life is a quality of life that’s greater than the life we know but embraces and grows out of this life we know. It’s richer, fuller, better, the best of the best, satisfying, fulfilling and greater than time itself! (John 3:36; 4:14; 5:24; 6:27).
Jack: Are you saying that abundant life is eternal life?
Ollie: Yes and Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection is the way to abundant life.
Jack: What? Why does that make the difference Ollie?
Ollie: Jesus said he had authority and power over life. He deliberately chose to lay down his life. No one took his life from him, he laid it down of his own will (John 10:17-18).
Jack: Lots of people have chosen to sacrifice their life for others Ollie.
Ollie: Yes Jack. But Jesus’ choice was not a spur of the moment act, nor was he a victim of circumstances. It was a premeditated choice. In the Bible, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John show us that throughout his life, Jesus knew that he had come to die and he was in complete control of when, where and how that would happen.
Jack: That’s a lot to take in and hard to believe Ollie!
Ollie: I know Jack. But you can read it for yourself! Jesus made no bones about the fact he ‘gave his life a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45).
Jack: We all have to die mate. Some can choose when to die! Why is Jesus so different?
Ollie: Because only Jesus possessed the power to take up his life again! Jesus was pronounced dead, buried and sealed in a tomb; yet three days later came back to life! It’s why Jesus says, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ (John 14:6).
Jack: I know you Christians believe Jesus is God. How can God die?
Ollie: It’s because Jesus is God that he had the power to lay down and take up his life again. It’s because of this that makes his death so powerful.
Jack: Ok, so why did Jesus die?
Ollie: Well, would you agree that there is no real quality of life without a relationship? After all none of us want to live all our life as a Robinson Crusoe!
Jack: You’re right there!
Ollie: Well, Jesus spoke about a communion of life found in God, ‘this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent’ (John 17:2-3). God is bigger than everything, possessing eternal life. Abundant life is found in having a relationship with the eternal God. Jesus promised an intimate fellowship with God who would make his home in the hearts of those who believe in him (John 14:23).
Jack: What’s a relationship with God got to do with Jesus’ death?
Ollie: Jack, we all have a broken relationship with God, which we can never fix (Rom. 3:23). Jesus died for sin on the cross to restore a relationship with God for us.
Jack: So as God, Jesus died to restore a relationship with God. Why would God do that?
Ollie: Because God so loved the world (John 3:16). It was love that made Jesus lay down his life. He laid down his life for his friends (John 15:13) to make a new relationship with God for them.
Jack: Ollie, I don’t like to admit it but I think I’d like to be loved like that!
Ollie: Jack, you can! There’s nothing good or special about any Christian but they all know that love of God in Jesus Christ. Love doesn’t exist in a vacuum! There’s no life without love and no love without a relationship. Abundant life is eternal life and it is a new relationship, a loving relationship, with God the Father and Jesus his Son.
Jack: Well, all our lives are enriched by a good relationship and there is no good relationship without love.
Ollie: Jack, Jesus’ sacrifice is the door that opens a new life for us that is greater than the life we know (John 10:7,9). Love, forgiveness, joy and hope are aspects of the abundant life that we know in fellowship with God through Jesus.
Jack: So, there is more to life than the here and now then. A new, personal, loving relationship with God that is unending.
Ollie: Yes, that’s why Jesus as God’s Son became a man; sharing our existence, knowing our human experience. But never sinning. He loved us and died for us (Gal. 2:20).
Jack: Hmm! That’s a lot to think about and I have so many questions!
Ollie: Never be afraid to ask questions of Christianity! But please be willing to listen to Jesus’ answers! Jack, knowing Jesus is not only a life worth living, it’s also one being unafraid to die for and one which promises an inheritance of everlasting life.