I have been reading through the book of John this Lent, spending two days per chapter. Being almost three-quarters of the way through, one message has been ringing loud and clear to me:
"Chill out, Heather, my dear, because I am the Lord."
The words of Jesus, page after page, have been soothing my striving-weary, guilt-tormented, fear- haunted soul.
"Chill out, Heather, because I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he as crossed over from death to life." (5:24)
"Chill out, Heather, because all that the Father gives to me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away." (6:37)
"Chill out, Heather, because I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (8:34-36)
"Chill out, Heather, because the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that [you] might have life, and have it too the full." (10:10)
Sometimes after being a Christian for a while, we can forget the sweet joy of the truth that we belong to the Lord. We get caught up in what we're not doing, not doing well enough, or fear we may never be able to do. Looking around at the waves, we take our eyes of Jesus and start to sink. A read through the book of John beckons us to come close and remember, to sit down and rest easy, to not let our hearts be troubled, to trust in God and also in Jesus. (14:1)
Great comfort comes to the Christian knowing (and regularly refreshing one's memory) that Jesus is God and He is the one who loves us and secures our place in His kingdom. As I asked the Lord to help me express how reading John has been affecting me, I started personalizing the famous 'I' statements of Jesus found in the book of John. Would you join me?
I am the bread of life. (Ch 6) Jesus, You are the bread of life for the whole world, but You are also my bread of life.
I am the light of the world. (Ch 8) Jesus, You are the light of the world, but You are also the light of my world, and my life!
I am the good shepherd. (Ch 10) Jesus, You are the good shepherd of the whole flock of Your people, but you are also my good, faithful, gentle, and trustworthy shepherd.
I am the gate. (Ch 10) Jesus, You are the gate into the sheep pen of God's people, but You are also the gate that opened up to me.
I am the resurrection and the life. (Ch 11) Jesus, You are the resurrection and the life for the whole world, but you are also my resurrection and life. I have life because You live!
I am the way, the truth, and the life. (Ch 14) Jesus, You are the way, the truth, and the life for all people, but You are also my way, my truth, and my life in this crazy confusing world.
Thank you, Jesus!