Saturday: First Week of Lent
Share a memory or occurrence when you used a paper map to help you navigate.
My earliest memory of being lost was when I was six years old. I usually walked to and from school with my brothers. But on this day, for some reason, I chose to exit the school through different doors and found myself on a path I had not taken before. Eventually it set in, the houses and street corners were not familiar. Crying, and tightly holding my light blue Snoopy lunch pail, I kept walking.
I didn’t have a map (or an iPhone), nor did I have a bird’s-eye view of our neighbourhood. I couldn’t see the city for the houses! But I eventually recognized the local grocery store. Then, standing right before me was my brother, who had been sent for me.
Looking for testimony (evidence) that Jesus was from the Father, the Jewish religious leaders were also lost, unable to find their way from the Scriptures to Jesus. Jesus explains the testimony concerning Him, and indicates their problem was not a bad source, but a faulty understanding of it: “You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want” (5:39-40).
Jesus is not criticizing Scripture reading, but challenging the Jews not to lose sight of why or who they are reading. It’s easy to view the Scriptures as the focus of our faith, instead of the revelation that fosters a relationship with God as it was intended. It’s not hard to get lost in words, sentences, and syntax, and miss the message these are trying to convey. Take heart, the One you are looking for is standing right before you.
Discuss the creative ways you have been reading the Bible that has cultivated a vibrant relationship with Jesus.
Jeff Peters is Director of Advancement at MB Seminary and is a part of Highland Community Church in Abbotsford, BC.