Jesus, Michigan

A Guest Post for Your Monday Afternoon

My daughter drove into a snowstorm late Friday afternoon. She was headed to Maranatha on the shore of Lake Michigan for a personal retreat.

“I need to talk to the Lord,” she said.

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Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

This morning she sent me a guest post, if I wanted. I like it. It says to me that actions speak louder than words.  God’s people weren’t getting it. The spoken and written words of the prophets weren’t quite enough, so Jesus put on flesh to show us.

We’ll never really know Him until we follow Him with our bodies and not just our minds.

So, without further ado, music to Jesus’s ears and mine (and perhaps yours):

I’m reading my way through John again—slowly. When I was nineteen and working as a camp counselor, I had to take a day of fasting and solitude as a part of training for summer. I took my Bible and my journal, sat down on top of a secluded picnic table, and opened to the book of John. As I read, I wrote down every single thing there was to learn about Jesus in the text. I wrote down every fact, every detail, every description, and every story. I wrote down every one of His words. I just wanted to know Him better. Recently I’ve felt a pull to do it again, to let knowledge of Him fall afresh on me.  So this morning I started. I have the week off of work. What a perfect time to begin.  For one chapter a day, I’m writing it all down and then gleaning. I always journal in the second person, if you’re interested, these are my thoughts on John 1:

I think the greatest lessons about who You are come from Your own words. “Come and see,” You tell two of the disciples of John.

When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.  Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

They ask a simple question, and You respond with an invitation. When someone wants to know about You, You ask them to come along.  Words are not sufficient. You must be experienced. We learn what You’re about by partaking, by spending time with You.

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. (John 1:37-39)

Later you find Phillip. “Follow Me.” Another invitation. Phillip, in turn, invites Nathanael.

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip.
When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel. (John 1:43-49)

You speak truth about Nathanael, a man who’s never met You, before he’s even reached you. “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree, before Phillip called you,” You tell him. You saw Nathanael. You see us. When I stop to think about it, it’s a startlingly beautiful, overwhelming notion—to be seen and known by our Savior and Creator.

And yet, what you have in store for those who follow You is even greater.  “You will see even greater things than that,” You tell Nathanael.

Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1:50-51)

The very thing I learn from Your words is that words aren’t sufficient. They are precious, and they show me a glimpse of who You are, and yet You want to show me so much more. So as I ask You to fall afresh on me, as I’m hoping to experience you in a new way, I’m realizing this better be a time of following and of doing even more than it is of reading. I’m excited for what’s in store.

Amen.

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