Summary: Our invitation to Come and See for ourselves who Jesus is.
The trip to my parents house is just over 1000 miles. Facing that trip—I get in the car with one thing in mind. My goal---is to get from a to be in the least amount of time. With two meal stops, it’s about 18 hours of driving.
Occasionally there is something that catches our attention---the thought flashes through our minds that we could take a moment and get off the interstate and check it out---but those are only occasional lapses and they don’t last long. We remind each other of the mission---the goal---to get there. And if we get in a city like Atlanta—with those car pooling lanes—I’m all over that. It save me at least 40-45 seconds going through town.
Sadly---I think this is also how we go through our life. Every day we get up with the things we added to our to do list from yesterday. We gauge the success of the day by how many we got done or how many were left. And our lives become one big mission---to get those things done. The faster the better.
This “Express lane” mentality even transfers over into our relationship with God.
We develop systems we can measure to see if we are on track on the mission. We want to get to heaven----that’s the ultimate goal. No hurry ---but we like to know if we are going the right direction, so we develop systems. Mathematical measurements. Things like attendance. If we went to more Sunday services this year than last year---we are on track. If we went to less---we adjust. If we gave more money, attended more meetings, added more functions----it’s all very mathematical. We like to add 2 and 2 and get 4.
The problem is------that like a journey----if we only focus on getting from a to b. If we organize our lives around the fastest, cleanest, easiest way to accomplish the task---we will miss most of the good stuff.
I have realized that on a trip---and in life-----while it’s great to have interstates—to get us there faster----most of the good stuff happens on back roads and detours.
When I was young I remember the trips to my grandmothers house. About half of the trip was on Interstate 64, and then we hit the back roads. I don’t have many recollections of things along that interstate---but I can tell you story after story of things that happened on the back roads. There was a stretch of road with amazing hills that were as good as any amusement park ride. And if we stood in the back floor board and didn’t hold on—dad could hit those hard enough that we would leave the ground and find ourselves landing in the back seat.
There were farms and animals and sights that were amazing. There were small towns and horse farms-----and always something to see on the back roads.
But---we don’t do back roads----much any more. We take the best, which means fastest, way to get wherever we are going---and the thought of taking a road that we are not familiar with makes us very uncomfortable------and might waste time. And then we don’t even want to talk about detours.
If something happens or someone interferes with our plans, with our mission, with our mapped out trip----we respond with frustration, and anger.
For the next several weeks, in fact from now until Easter---we are going to look at a life that was spent on back roads and detours. The life of Jesus. We are going to use the gospel letter written by John as our guide.
In fact, I have a gift for everyone. It’s Eugene Petersons’ translation of John. It’s a modern day version, and a joy to read. You can write in it, take notes in it, bring it each week as we follow along this story.
Pass Out Bibles
When we begin putting this study together, we couldn’t come up with a name. Our final conclusion was “Journey of a lifetime” because it talks about Jesus journey.
But then as I continued to read, and as we talked about the events of Jesus life----the reality that Jesus was constantly taking back roads, and constantly being detoured by people’s needs-------and that is when most of the good stuff happened.
And I believe, one of the greatest messages in the entire book for us will be to open our eyes----and see what God does when we find ourselves being forced from our agenda’s, being directed a different path then we planned.
So----let’s take some time and see what we can learn from the writer, John.
John begins this story by letting us know that Jesus was with God in the beginning. He refers to Jesus as “The Word”.
The word was God---and everything was created through him.
He goes on in the middle of page 6, vs. 14,