Seeking Life

I love the joy that people express when they say something “gave them life.” Whether the unexpected note, a message from a speaker, or an unparalleled vocal performance, there are these moments that so touch our hearts and souls that we call them life-giving.

Last week I started the ByTheWell4God June study, Pointing to Jesus,** and I found myself immediately thinking about this cultural phrase that has spiritual implications.

Pointing to Jesus is a 14-day devotional on just a few of the hundreds of Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. The study begins with an overview of the number of prophecies in the Old Testament and the statistical probability that they could all be fulfilled by one person (spoiler alert: Jesus defies the odds).

As a general habit of study, I tend to pay attention to discussions of the Israelites in the Old Testament and Jewish religious leaders in the New Testament, because I think they serve as lessons for believers, often demonstrating how we can be so close to God and still miss Him. In the first day of the devotional, the authors recall Jesus speaking to the religious leaders of their investment in the Old Testament.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40)

The religious leaders knew the Old Testament inside and out [remember, Scriptures here refers to Old Testament as the New hadn’t been written yet]. They could likely point out the smallest details of the prophesied Messiah. Jesus said that they “search” the Scriptures. This active verb indicates current practice. They were actively combing the Word, because they believed the key to eternal life was there. I imagine the religious leaders with their noses almost pressed to the Scriptures, not wanting to miss a thing.

But they did miss it. They missed Him. In their tireless work to press through the prophecies, they could not lift their eyes to see that the true and living Anointed One was right in front of them, ready to give them what they were seeking–victory and eternal life.

So as I studied and reflected, the message to me was clear–where am I seeking life? Where is my nose so closely pressed to the work that I am unable to see that Jesus, the answer, is standing right there in front of me? It could be any number of places for any of us. Sometimes like the religious leaders, it is our religious activities. But it also could be work, or family, or fitness struggles. We get so wrapped up in the doing–trying to find the answer–the answer to bring life back to that relationship, or that career, or that health issue–that we miss the only needed source of life. Jesus.

Father, I thank you for the ultimate gift of life–the gift of your Son, Jesus. Your love for me is so abundant that you gave Him, your only Son, as the sacrifice for my sins. In His victory over the grave, I have life. I confess that in my day to day, I can easily set my eyes to finding life-giving answers apart from You, apart from the work that Jesus has already done. Turn my feet and my eyes to You continually through the help of your Holy Spirit. I can’t do it on my own. God, I ask that You strengthen my brothers and sisters in the Church as well to stay fixed on You for life and all of life’s answers. Expose where we have gotten off track. Grant us the endurance to keep after You. Thank you for Your lovingkindness and patience toward us. Amen.

**I received this kit as a member of the BTW4G Creative Team, but all opinions and reflections here are my own.**

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