Lately, I have been preaching through the seven “I am” statements of Jesus in the book of John. These are the times Jesus spoke of himself and used a word picture to help us understand his work. Each one of these is essential for us to explore as they give us insight into the reason Jesus came to earth in his own words.
Recently I was struck by how much of what Jesus said was entirely incomprehensible to his followers at that time. For example, he told his disciples that he was “The Good Shepherd.” Then he went a step further and stated that as the good shepherd he was going to lay down his life for his sheep.
The modern reader of these words knows exactly what Jesus was talking about when he said this. His followers in the crowd that day may have smiled and seemed happy at his comments, but they had no idea he was speaking of his own death on the cross. Apparently, they would not understand any of his predictions of death until after his resurrection and ascension. It was not until they looked back at the events of their lives and laid them alongside his words that they understood what he meant.
I wonder if there is not a principle there for believers. Many of the events of our lives are not understood until we look back in hindsight.
It reminds me of Joseph in the book of Genesis. He has this tremendous God-inspired dream for his life. The pursuit of that dream leads him to slavery and prison before he receives his blessing. Near the end of the book he tells his brothers that God was working in the situation and what they meant for evil, God used for his good.
Perhaps one characteristic the people of faith need is reflection. There needs to be a time in which we set down and look over our lives to see the hand of God at work. The practice of taking a spiritual inventory of your journey will continually remind you of all God has done. Maybe you don’t need for God to do a fantastic work in your life to increase your faith, maybe you just need to remember all that he has done.