Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for this daily challenge. It’s Thursday, the day we try to apply and live out what we’ve learned this week from the Bible. This week we’ve been studying how Jesus was God, and yet so many people missed it, and still do today.
There were broadly two kinds of people around Jesus when he was around…Jews and Greeks, or those influenced by them. They both rejected him.
Even the Jews, with their generations of studying God’s word, rejected him. As John says in verse 11 – his own people did not accept him. It was not the pedigree, longtime membership as God’s chosen people, or their longtime study or observance of God’s laws that would save them, or us. It was God, and God alone who could save.
The Greeks had been studying the philosophy of a concept creating and holding all things together, looking for something Godlike, that they missed the real thing standing before them.
Still today, many are busy trying to find God somewhere out there, as a life force, energy, divine, or the universe. They are looking for an impersonal force, when that very thing has stood on this earth.
As John says is 10 – “the world did not know him”
All of them and us are God’s creations. He was their father, but they wouldn’t be his children, either by not knowing him when they saw him, or outright pushing him away.
Both groups kept on studying, and missed or rejected the very thing they had been studying.
This is the effect of being orphaned, separated from God for so long. We were made for his family, to be his children in a relationship with him, but decided to exert our independence in a most insubordinate way – we decided to be Gods of our own lives and leave the real one out.
When may think we have solved it by wanting to know God again, diligently trying to study or do enough to please him, but that is still a substitute for actually knowing him, which would mean submitting ourselves. No, we’d rather be in charge of our salvation.
The distractions are not that different today.
We’re all studying for some kind of exam – whether it’s a good enough life, good enough career, or family, or the right religious steps taken, meditation time spent, prayers offered, or whatever – we all live as if there is an exam coming, and sometimes even go so far as to say that if we pass we go to heaven, if we fail, hell.
These pursuits are all God-substitutes…none of them is the real exam.
The real exam is whether we can overcome death – and every single human being born of the flesh has and will still fail that exam, if they even show up.
The good news is, that test has already been written for us.
While we are too preoccupied, not paying attention, outright rejecting him or whatever, Jesus went to the cross in our stead, took the final exam of death, and passed with flying colours, descending into hell and rising again from the dead so we could rely on his power, not our own.
And he simply invites us to accept this gift, to let his marks stand in place of ours.
I stared this week with a story about missing an exam, and almost failing as a result. It’s scary, but this is how many of us view life – building towards some exam before God that we’ll probably fail.
What exam have you been studying for?
What causes you anxiety? What do you have to get done before death? What do you fear most about dying? What do others say you must do to know or please God?
How have you been trying to find God? What do you need to do, pray, eat, whatever, to please God?
Do you see any way you can pass the exam you, or others have set for you? If not, you’re in good company – we’d all fail…or forget to show up altogether, and this is far more important that any electronics midterm.
We can spend our entire lives working towards the wrong things, studying for an exam we don’t have to take, because we don’t need to find God, he’s come looking for us.
Challenge: What kinds of things can distract you from not just knowing about God, but knowing God?
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide