By Sally Lombardo
“Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” (Book of Common Prayer, the Collect, Fifth Sunday of Easter)
This week we will look at the four passages of this week’s Lectionary and see what they all have to do with knowing God. What does it mean to know God? How can we know him better?
I often ask myself these questions when I’m feeling alone, looking for an answer, or wondering what choice to make. These are all common feelings—but not our greatest need. Our biggest need, and the answer to our deepest question, is how we can stand before the holy God of the universe. Our Collect tells us that the only way to know God is through Jesus. The prayer makes a beautiful reference to John 14:6 when Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
What does that verse mean for us? How do we find everlasting life through Jesus? We follow the steps he followed: death, resurrection, and new life. Ephesians 2 walks us through this path. First, we must acknowledge that we are spiritually dead without Christ, under God’s wrath because of our sins. But Jesus paid for these sins on the cross, and when we trust in his work, we are raised from death like he was. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4–6). When we are born again, God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us live the new life he has called us to (Ephesians 2:8–10).
This cycle of death and new life is a gift from God, and we can see it reflected in nature. My friend recently shared a sad memory of the day her honeybees died. During a very warm winter, the bees were attacked by a type of moth that destroyed the hives. So my friend put the broken pieces under a tree and watched the survivor bees swarm. Later that day, she watched birds swoop down to eat the moth larvae and worms. Even later, ants cleaned the entire comb. After burning the tattered beehives, my friend and her husband started again. They watched a beautiful cycle rebuild and repeat itself. From death, God gave new life to their hives.
Only the death of Jesus can bring us new life. We can trust him. “For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:34–36). We can find life and restoration in Christ alone, our Savior.
Reflection: When did you trust in Jesus? This week, tell someone your testimony of receiving the gift of eternal life in Christ. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Resurrected Life: Making All Things New - The Bible promises that those who are in Christ are "new creatures." But how does that transformation take place? This unique Easter-season small group Bible study provides a space in which we can discover what it truly means to live a new life. As we listen, we'll learn how the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything - for us. Begin the journey to new life today!
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