...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10b
It is deeply disturbing and unsettling of how accustomed we have become with death: death on the street, death through violence and war, death of the soul. I wonder if we have lost the vision of life before death, as a result, and not just life after death.
Where Jesus is, there is life. There is abundant life, vigorous life, eternal life, which because it begins now, allows us to envision life-before-death. We may need some definition on this abundant life. Many verses actually describe this present life-before-death, but I will use my favorite: John 17:20 - 26.
In this, Jesus' prayers for you and me (all future believers). He tells us his request to the Father for us: that we will be unified with him and the Father, that we will share in Christ's glory, which will serve to facilitate the unity of the entire community with the Father and Son. He prays that we would contain the love of the Father and the Son.
The love of the Father drove him to inhabit the earth and attempt justice and reconciliation for his creation. Could we become so passionate and compassionate for life-before-death that we could?
The "Passion" of Christ is not a one-off, tragic incident of God's intercession with humanity. It is the final expression of God's passion - a devotion for and a costly response - for his exiled people, which is all of humanity.
Let me be so passionate for the lost world around me. Let it be a passionate devotion, sacrificially offered, life-giving, relationship-restoring life. New life! Life possible before death, which leaves no room for apathy. Self-sacrifice as Jesus modeled brings life into view today (before death).