2,000 years ago Jesus was dead. The stone had been rolled in front of the tomb and the tomb was sealed. This was the end of the story for most Messiahs in the 1st century. But something different happened in the case of Jesus. It was so different that even the disciples had doubts at first. But then the astonishing truth became clear.
“I am… the way, the truth, and the life…” is as wide and expansive a claim as a person can make. Jesus followed up that claim with a way that embraced people across life’s spectrum. His way included many unexpected people like a Roman Centurion, a sinful woman and a despised traitorous tax collector. Jesus way expressed truth about the world and gave us life in a new way.
Connections are critically important to the Christian life. Jesus calls Himself the true vine which implies that we can connect to false vines. But if we connect to the true vine we are promised that we will bear tons of fruit. How connected are we to Christ?
We rarely experience the disarming quietude of total darkness. We have so much artificial light that we can hide from the darkness that otherwise surrounds us. Darkness with all its confusion and dread; light with all its promise and warmth. Jesus knew the power of the metaphor of light when He described Himself as the light of the world.
Bread is comfort food. The smell of bread baking reminds us of home and family. It evokes memories of warmth and love. In a hungry world like ours, where many are starving physically, spiritually and emotionally bread is a gift of hope. Jesus describes Himself as the bread of life. What does He mean by this?
Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd. Which means we are the sheep. Now we may not be flattered by being called sheep but the relationship between shepherd and sheep is a great description of our relationship with Jesus.
Jesus said, “I am the gate.” Some of his listeners understood part of what he meant but there is a deeper meaning. A meaning they had difficulty comprehending. When we go through the gate, Jesus talks about we discover new possibilities and leave our past behind. Going through the gate promises a new life.
King Solomon ruled Israel from about 1,000 BC to around 960 BC. Do you remember what Solomon was known for? He was known for his wisdom. People came from all around to seek his wisdom. Solomon started off well but then something shifted. This shift is noted when the scripture says, “It took Solomon seven years to build the temple and thirteen years to build his house.” In that sentence is a shift that is easy to do if we are unaware.
Where do we invest our life? Do we invest in stuff that loses value over time? That is sold off for pennies on the dollar at the end of our life. What do we do with the talents God invests in us. Do we dig a hole in the ground and bury them or do we double their value? Will God say, “well done good and faithful steward?”
In the parable of the person who is robbed, beaten and left for dead, Jesus picks a controversial hero. He could have picked a less controversial character but he wanted to teach His listeners something important. Something that could speak to our world in 2021.