Psalm 146, Isaiah 43:8–13, 1 Peter 2:2–10, John 14:1–7
While we are still in the Easter season (the church year span between Easter and Pentecost), it is always good to recall all which testified to Jesus being the Messiah. This passage in Isaiah is a good reminder. Through the Messiah (Jesus) nations have been brought together. We often look at the divisions, especially when it comes to the powerful using religion to justify their actions. Which is makes things all the more peculiar (and often a witness against the powerful), for God says that God is the Savior. No one else can do it. Only God. Still, we are told one political perspective (let alone political party) is going to solve it all. They can’t. There is an important piece that often isn’t included in the fact that only God can save, that means insofar as our salvation depends on God, it doesn’t change.
God’s salvation doesn’t change. However, our understanding and/or acceptance of it may change drastically over our lives. It is not a minor theological point that Peter makes regarding growing into salvation. It is a huge thing. Think of a plant/tree/bush. If they are not growing, they are dead. Many people think they have arrived when they come to a salvation point with Jesus (in fact, many churches have taught that over the years). Peter’s point is that it is an ongoing process. Not only does he use “plant-growing” language, he then builds (no pun intended) on that by saying we are being built into a spiritual temple. We are part of God’s saving work in us. Now, that is not to say that our salvation is based on our work, but that it becomes deeper and more life-giving when we participate in it.
Life-giving should be the Very Good Life…the saving life that Jesus Christ invites us to participate in. When Jesus speaks on being, “…the way, the truth, and the life…,” it (again) is not a destination. Those that were part of the early church were often called the Followers of the Way. They lived life together around the truth. This particular passage is often used by (well-meaning) people as a dividing line between unbelievers and “true” Christians. Yet, it is more about Christians than it is about anyone else. We are to look to Jesus as our Savior. We are to follow his ways the best we can. As we follow him, we are better able to draw people to life with him.
1) Through Isaiah, God says to the Israelites (and to us), “…you are my witnesses….” Read the verses before and after, then ask yourself, witnesses to what?
2) Why is it crucial to think of the Christian life as a “growing” life?
3) What are your thoughts regarding, “…the way, the truth, and the life…?” What does it mean to a Christian? What does it mean to one who doesn’t follow Jesus?