As we begin a New Year, I invite you to heed Jesus’ invitation to be deeply at home with Him.
Check out how often in John’s Gospel Jesus invites us to abide in Him or in His Word. Actually, both are the same thing: to abide in Jesus is to abide in His Word. When Jesus invites us to abide, He is inviting us to be deeply at home in Him. (You should hear the word “abode” in “abide”.)
Too often we think about Jesus as a “one-room schoolhouse.” We focus a lot on Christ crucified. We even quote Paul in 1 Corinthians, “I decided to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). Christ crucified dominates our conversation.
Certainly, Christ crucified is, well, crucial to our faith. But Scripture, as reflected in the Creeds, invites us to think about many other aspects of Jesus’ ministry. So, instead of thinking about Jesus as a one-room schoolhouse, let’s think of Him as a mansion with many rooms.
We should start in the living room, reading all the passages about Christ crucified. That act of self-sacrifice provides for us the atonement we need to have reconciliation with God and life in Christ. This is our entrance into the house of God.
But then let’s go into the dining room. Dining rooms are for feasting and celebrating. When we contemplate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, we are moved to celebrate. “‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54b–57).
Daily life happens in the family room. There we experience the ups and downs of the present day. There let’s consider where Jesus is now, in this day, today. He is no longer on the cross; He is at the right hand of the Father, reigning and ruling over all creation. There is much in daily life that causes us concern, heartache, and confusion. Strains and stressors abound. But we have no fear, for Jesus is reigning right now, building His kingdom in our day, and the gates of hell cannot prevail. He is at the Father’s right hand interceding for us.
Say, do you smell something in the kitchen? What is that aroma? Someone is cooking up something good. We enter the kitchen, where we see that the richest of meats is being prepared. Bottles of the finest of wines line the counter. Jesus promises to return and take us into His nearer presence. It is good for us to reflect on that. This world is not the end of it; we await at the consummation of all things a feast to consume. There are many, many passages about the return of Jesus. We should focus on them.
No mansion is complete without a music room. The songs that are the Psalms fill us with beautiful music about Jesus. “The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23); “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46); “The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, you are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110). Spending time in this music room will gladden the saddest of hearts.
Should we stop in the washroom? Think of all the passages throughout the Bible that speak to cleansing and washing?
And the bedroom? Maybe read again Song of Solomon.
What about the basement? In our basement we keep old family photographs and records. The archives of our family are there—documents that speak to where we have come from and how we fit into what came before. We dare not avoid spending time reading the Old Testament. There we find hundreds and hundreds of prophesies that tell us who Jesus is and how He is the fulfillment of all that came before.
The word “abide” in Greek is related to the word “mansion” in English. When Jesus invites us to abide in Him and His Word, He invites us to be deeply at home with Him and His words. So let’s move in and roam around the entirety of Scripture; there we find something far more than a one-room school house. We find Jesus and the comfort of a mansion filled with love and every good thing.
Many have said much to me about the impact of reading through the entire Scripture annually. It is a game changer. If this is your practice already, read on! If not, consider adopting it in 2024. There are all sorts of manageable reading schedules that will take about 20 minutes a day. Heed Jesus’ gracious invitation to be deeply at home in Him by being deeply at home in His Word.
This article was first published on November 26, 2023, on Rev. Davis’ blog, Toward Significance, towardsignificance.com.
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