John 1:4 says, 'In him was the life, and the life was the light of men.'
'the life' is the word 'zoe' in greek and it means the absolute fullness of life, both essential and ethical.
'the light' is the word 'phos' in greek and it means light, with an emphasis on light that is emitted such as light from a lamp or a fire. It means to shine or to make manifest, especially by rays of light.
'men' is the word 'anthropos' in greek and it means each individual human being. It is not the word for a male, but the word that includes all humans wether male or female.
Let's try to break this down a little bit. We could reword it as saying , ' In the Word was the absolute fullness of life, and the absolute fullness of life was the visible light of all humans.'
Now let me bring in some reference scriptures that might help.
Let's just focus on the first part of the verse which says, 'In him was life'.
So again the word for 'life' is the word 'zoe' in greek and we find it John 3:15 also.
It actual shows up in 32 verses in the book of John, but using John 3:15 will show the one point that I want to get at with this.
John 3:15 says, ' that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.' or have eternal zoe!
If you are a Christian you have heard the phrase 'eternal life' since Day 1. What we hear a lot in America is a theology of how Jesus is our ticket to heaven and our pass from going to hell. I believe this to be true....sorta.
I do believe that through faith in Christ we are reconciled to God and we are a part of his family and we will no longer be thrown in hell at the time of judgement. What I believe is a little off is that I have always been taught that the focus is to accept Christ so you can leave the horrible Earth and be with Jesus somewhere 'up' there. That through Christ we have eternal life meaning that we will live forever with him, which I believe is true.
when Jesus says that whoever believes in him may have eternal life or zoe. He is saying that if you believe in Jesus, which probably needs redefining as well, then you can have the absolute fullness of life right now, today!
God wants us to experience heaven now! He wants us to have the fullest life now and forever. It doesn't start whenever we die....it starts when you accept that Jesus's way of living is the best way to live. He has life/zoe in him and it is perfect. So our focus needs to not be on getting our one way ticket to heaven, but it needs to be on experiencing all that God wants us to experience right now with the fullest life possible.
Ok..onto the 2nd part of the verse. It says, 'and the life was the light of men.'
This is how the world changes! What Jesus has in himself is what every person on the world is craving for. There is a life, a rightness to how Jesus lived and wants us to live that is light to all of humanity.
It's a light that is visible and that other people can see. As Christians people should see something good and right in us. They should see Jesus. They should see us living the best possible way life could be lived.
Now what happens is that we create all of these rules for us to live and a lot of Christians have become the moral police of the world. Christians have pointed fingers and judged humanity for way too long. What needs to happen is that we need to live how Jesus lived. We need to associate ourselves and the church with the poor, the orphaned, the widowed. We need to not love money or possessions, but seek to show people that real love is a love that is self-sacrificing to EVERYONE. That living how Jesus lives means that no one goes hungry and no one has a need. But most of us look exactly like everyone else. We claim to know God and so they look at us to see what God looks like and all they see is themselves.