Covered: John 11, 13-16; Matthew 21:1-13; Matthew 24:1-31
Scripture Memory: Dealing with Sin – 1 John 1:8-9 / 1 Corinthians 10:13
God wants us to know Him. If you have grown up in or around church, that may be an obvious statement to you, but stop for a moment and think about that. The God of the universe, the one who created everything, wants you to know Him. He wants you to understand who He is, what He is doing, and how to follow Him. When Jesus came on the scene, God’s communication to the world took on flesh and blood. In Jesus, the world got to see God in the flesh, got to hear His voice, got to see His power.
In John’s account of the life of Jesus, we have the opportunity to see some truly unique things that God wanted to communicate to us. The other three accounts of His life, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, have a lot of parallel stories and teachings that give us great insight into the life of Jesus. John is different. John spends much of his time recounting for us the ways that Jesus described Himself so that we can truly know His heart, and how He intends to interact with us.
In our reading plan, we skip over several moments where Jesus teaches us more about who He is. I want to highlight three that were missed.
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. – John 8:12
We all follow something, whether we know it or not. We have been shaped and molded by the culture around us, and sometimes the light that guides us is the innate cultural expectations that have become second nature. Sometimes the light that drives us is the desire to be successful, to be liked, to be known, to be right. One of the things God wanted to communicate to us is that Jesus is the true light of the world. He is the north star that we can look to and follow to be on the right path. He is the standard. He is the goal. He is the light by which everything else is seen. And we have to be reminded of this daily. Everything around us will try to get us to follow different light, and like moths to a flame, people flock to the things that they think will satisfy them. I’m sure you have had that experience. I know I have. But in the life of Jesus, God wants to communicate the true light that will always satisfy. He doesn’t want us to walk in darkness, so He communicated the path to us. Jesus is the path. Look to Him.
Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am. – John 8:58
This statement came after some of the religious leaders were claiming that since they are in the family of Abraham, they are truly following God. So many people today make similar claims: I follow God because my family went to church. I follow God because I grew up in America. In this statement, Jesus says to the religious leaders; it’s not about what family you grew up in; it’s about who you follow. They were saying they are in the family of Abraham, Jesus said: “Before Abraham was, I am.” He puts Himself not just above Abraham, but before him. The religious leaders did not misunderstand Him: He was letting them know that He is God. He is the I Am. God wanted to communicate to us who He is, so He came to us. And He made sure we knew who He was: not just a good teacher, not just a prophet, not just a good man. This was God in the flesh. Look to Him.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. – John 10:11
God doesn’t just want you to know who He is. He also wants you to know what He does. No matter how good, intelligent, successful, and powerful, we think we are, we are sheep. Sheep are dumb animals. If they fall over, they can’t get back up. If they aren’t led to eat or drink, they won’t. They will walk right over a cliff if they aren’t led in the right direction. That’s us, at least in a spiritual sense. But when sheep have a shepherd that loves them and leads them, they thrive. The position that we find ourselves in is not just needing to be loved and lead but paid for. In our rebellion and desire to exalt and satisfy ourselves, we have gone astray from the good shepherd. We deserve death. We don’t feel like we do, but we deserve death. We have spit in the face of our creator; He was not obligated to take us back. But He is the good shepherd, and He laid down His life for us sheep. He took the penalty that we deserved. And God, through the life of Jesus, wants you to know that. He loves you so much that He died to have you back. Look to Him.
There are so many other things that Jesus wants us to know, even
in the passages that our reading plan skips over. But the point is; God is a
communicator. He is a clear communicator. He wants you to know Him. He wants
you to hear Him. He wants you to listen. He may not speak louder than the
voices around us. He isn’t going to shout over the noise. But He is speaking
through His Word. He is the Light of the world: He wants you to follow Him. He
is the I am, God in the flesh: He wants you to believe Him. He is the Good
Shepherd; He wants you to look to Him.
The question is, are you listening?
Written by: Steve Elworth
Photo Credit: Pawan Sharma