There’s Always Something New to Learn, by Steph Beth Nickel
I have the privilege of writing and recording five devotionals for HopeStreamRadio each week. I have been working my way through the book of John, my favourite gospel. And although I’ve read it many times before, I am still amazed by new discoveries—and rediscoveries.
The following are among those things that stood out to me as I worked on the series I call “If You Love Me”:
I was reminded just how impetuous and impulsive Peter was—and how very much I’m like him.
I discovered a new depth to the fact that Mary Magdalene recognized the resurrected Jesus only after He spoke her name. He must speak to each of us personally before we will recognize the One standing before us.
The incredible fact that Jesus’ last act on His mother’s behalf was to meet her practical needs by commissioning John, the disciple He loved, to take her as his mother and care for her struck me in a powerful way.
Anyone who knows the story may very well be quick to judge Pilate harshly, and yet, as I studied the passage in greater depth, I realized just how much effort he put forward trying to set Jesus free. I saw the sign he had placed on Jesus’ cross as a final defiance of the chief priests. Upon their objections, he said, “What I have written, I have written.” He knew that Jesus was, indeed, the King of the Jews. (And no, this didn’t absolve him of his responsibility, but I found it very interesting.)
As I looked at the familiar passage in which the Jews demand that Barabbas, a thief, be released rather than Jesus, I realized too often I don’t choose Jesus. I choose busyness, family, leisure, and many other things instead. Are these things wrong in and of themselves? No. But I must carefully and honestly examine my motivation. Above all else, I must choose Jesus.
Although I knew it happened, I was taken aback by the sad irony of the fact that the religious leaders sought not only to kill Jesus but also Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. If they’d had eyes to see, they would have recognized that Lazarus could have pointed them to the One who was the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
I was again challenged by Lazarus’ sister’s extravagant love poured out when she anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume worth an entire year’s wages and wiped His feet with her hair. Do I love Him that extravagantly? Am I willing to pour out my greatest treasure as an expression of love for Him?
These are only a few of the realizations that “hit me upside the head.”
We must take time to dig into God’s Word. We must prayerfully consider what new insights the Lord wants to give us as we slow our hectic pace and listen, really listen, to the Living Word.
What new truths have you learned lately?
[Leave your thoughts below!]
Stephanie is a freelance writer and editor. She writes under the pen name Steph Beth Nickel. She co-authored Paralympian Deborah L. Willows’ memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances. Among other places, it is available from Castle Quay Books and Amazon. Steph has been blogging since 2010 and is a regular guest on Kimberley Payne’s site (fitness tips) and Christian Editing Services (writing tips). She will also be writing and recording regularly for the newly-formed Hope Stream Radio. Stephanie is an active member of The Word Guild and InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship