Found in Him: Scripture for Chapter 4

“Yes, God loves sinners, but I don’t.”

sinners

That’s what Elyse quipped early in Chapter 4. She titled the chapter “God Loves Sinners,” but it didn’t take her long to see the contrast to her own lofe,

Well, duh! you and I might say. I already knew that and it’s not very helpful to say it out loud. But actually, it can be helpful. It can be illuminating.

There’s more than one way to feed on Jesus in the Scriptures. One that we have been using is our imagination. As chapter 4 takes us into the last six months of Jesus’ earthly life, we can continue to learn to use our redeemed imagination to flesh out the passages. I’m hoping as we do this, that God will equip us with a new tool in our Bible study tool chest. Meditating on the gospels by using all five of our God given senses will feed our sixth sense, faith.

The similarities between my life and Jesus’ life are real because of the incarnation. He grew up, he laughed, he suffered, he cried, he was tempted, he was sinned against. But the contrasts between my life and Jesus’ life are real, too. He was the only good person who ever lived. He didn’t just refrain from sinning, he went about actively doing good. That’s what perfect obedience to the law of God means–it includes both the “thou shalt not” and the “thou shall” phrases.

His perfect life was beautiful. And my imperfect life (to put it mildly) gives me lots of specific opportunities to see his beauty by contrast. And that brings me to worship. And worship is always the first step in becoming more like him.

I pray this week we will each have a faith-sight of Jesus as the Spirit shows him to us through the Word.

Day 1: 1 John 4:9, John 13:1-5. How do you know God loves you? Do you wish you could see it, feel it? The whole life of Jesus was a visual aid, making the love of the invisible God visible. How did Jesus love his disciples that night in the upper room? Write 1 John 4:9 on an index card and place it somewhere you’ll see it this week.

Day 2: Luke 9:28-36. Peter said he was an eyewitness to Jesus’ glory (2 Peter 1:16). What did he see? Imagine you are there, too, and write down everything you see from the moment you arrive on the mountain top from your hike. Don’t fall asleep with the disciples! What do you see? What do you hear? What are you thinking about as you leave the mountain?

Day 3: Matthew 17:1-10. Let’s spend a second day on the mountain top. Look at the scene again from Matthew’s perspective. What do you hear? How does the voice of the Father sound? How does Jesus’ voice sound? What do you feel, especially when you see Jesus touch Peter? Does Jesus love Peter? Does he love you?

Day 4: John 12:1-8. Now you’re a guest at Lazarus’s house, a family friend, celebrating his return to life. Imagine where you’re seated at the table. Look up when Mary comes in. What is the expression on her face? Are you surprised by what she does? How long does it take for the perfume to reach your nose? How strong is the smell? What are you thinking that you don’t actually say out loud? What tone of voice does Judas use? What tone does Jesus use back to him? Does Jesus love Mary? Judas? You?

Day 5: Matthew 21:1-11. You are part of the crowd on the way to Jerusalem. You hear Jesus send two disciples into Bethphage and wait for their return. You watch Jesus sit on the donkey and begin to ride. You hear the crowd. Are you excited? Disappointed? Do you wish he were mounted on a white horse with a sword in his hand? Which would show his love more, riding in on a colt or on a steed? Imagine his eyes meeting yours. Does he love you?

May God bless our meditations this week with a new view of his love for sinners.

What's on your mind?