Pat’s Weekly Devotional
We are studying the gospel of John as we close out 2020. It seems appropriate that we dive deep into waters of a gospel that flexes and stretches our spiritual muscles and forces us to pause and reflect on the beauty of God’s word and the gravity of theological themes and Jesus’ power to do the incredible all the time. It really asks us, who is Jesus for our lives? As we face an election year, a global pandemic and disorder among cultures and neighbors across the country, I want to know where God is at work in all this after all. And John leaves me asking good questions of my life, my faith and our world.
We are only on chapter six and the questions coming from both our men’s breakfast and our women’s lunch are deep, thoughtful, and motivating. I am determined to read ahead, search for answers to questions, study more and be the best my little Army boy can be, “Be all you can be…for Jesus!” But the truth of the matter is, I feel more and more inadequate, unprepared and lacking in many different areas of my academic and philosophical realms of thought and abilities than I ever did before. I love to read about it, I love to think about it, but answering some questions is so hard and intimidating, I just freeze up and panic almost. Honestly, I don’t want to get the answer wrong, look stupid or make anyone angry. That’s about as human as one can get, I suppose. Afterall, I am the SME (subject matter expert). But truth be known, I do not have all the answers and I would be foolish to think or pretend that I do. I have to say, “I don’t know” at times.
I took this idea to a pastor friend. My friend from seminary reminded me that we are all orphans in the sense that we long to be known by God and experience the love of the Father as accepted and made whole, complete. Complete with knowledge, understanding and wisdom; complete without blemish or fault, complete and whole as the man who received healing from Jesus at the pool of Bethesda. I too, wish I understood scripture in such a way as that, but I don’t and I am ok with that. The real question that I pose to myself and others as we search for meaning within God’s Word together is, what does it mean for you? And how does it bring me closer to Christ today?
As a Christian and a pastor, biblical authority means, on the one hand, that God directs the belief and behavior of His people through, “revealed truth set forth in Scripture.” (WMCF 6.005) and on the other hand, it means that all our ideas about God and Holy Scripture should be measured, tested, and confirmed and if necessary corrected, by Scripture as well. “Let scripture interpret scritprue” my friend said to me. He is right. The authority in Christianity belongs to God alone. From a human standpoint, the Bible was made to introduce us to Jesus and it does that from beginning to end, so we take it from beginning to the end in order to understand who God is in the end. Scripture is an instrument of the Lord. So, let the Lord ring truth into our ears as we read His Scripture, earnestly, with a pure heart and an open mind to Christ. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” So, like Jeremiah, I can’t boast about knowing Greek or Hebrew, or understanding the writings of Barth or Tertullian (a bunch of dead guys) but I can boast about this: Jeremiah 9:24 “Let him boast…that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.” This is the Word of the Lord, thanks be to God.