The meaning of Jesus’ life is that there is meaning to life.

There was a family in Galilee who were of royal and priestly genealogy, dedicated for generations to follow the Torah, and to raise up prophets and spiritual leaders. They produced such leaders as John the Baptist and James the brother of Jesus, who practiced asceticism, humility and spirituality. Jesus was raised in an environment supporting learning of the Jewish scriptures and religion.

Jesus upheld the Jewish law in its totality, but he emphasized the inner spiritual meaning over the letter of the law. He taught that the Law was made for Man, not Man for the Law. As the core of his teaching he taught the Law of Love, that is, the greatest law is to love God with all one’s heart, all one’s mind, and all one’s soul; and secondly to love one’s neighbor as oneself.

The first law is to love God with all one’s heart, mind and soul. But what do we mean by “love God”? What does it mean to love a sprit, an abstraction we can’t see, hear or touch? It seems clear we do not know exactly what God is, and may not be able to agree on a definition. Perhaps the broadest possible definition of God is “the core purpose, meaning and values behind the universe". By recognizing this higher reality, a true Purpose to existence and a reason to strive for good, a person is given the antidote to nihilism. Life is not pure happenstance without meaning, and one must strive for the good, the true and the beautiful. This is the reason for human existence and for the existence of the universe, and we should cherish it.

The second law, to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is the epitome of how we should live in community. Happiness is only found by loving others, helping others, doing good work for others. No amount of material success can substitute for a loving community of people. What good is it to gain the whole world if one loses one’s own soul?

Together, these two related laws of love summarize what Jesus taught, which is a Way of Being, a radical, selfless way of making life worthwhile. This Way of Being found fertile soil in the poor in spirit, the meek people of his time and ever since. The law of love is more important than rituals and theology.

Indeed Jesus’ law of love gives meaning and purpose not only to humans but to animals and the whole universe. He said that a human life is worth many sparrows, thus implying that even a sparrow has worth and dignity. So has my dog, all animals and even inanimate objects.

The meaning of Jesus’ life is that life has meaning. Even though he lived only a very short life, was tortured to death, wrote no book and ruled no country, his life still had and has meaning. His words and actions pointed to the inherent dignity and value of each and every human life. He lived, taught and associated with all the people, poor and despised included. He valued his friends and associates, the animals and plants he came into contact with, and lived his principles to the very end. His life was his message and his meaning. He won the war after losing every battle.

The meaning of Jesus’ life is that there is meaning to life.