A little over a year ago I was invited by a Green Bay television station to come and record a program in celebration of Christmas. I was one of three pastors representing different faith expressions. All three of us were asked to compare current Christmas customs with the biblical narrative about the Messiah. I arrived at the studio about 20 minutes before recording was to begin. I told the receptionist who I was and why I was there. She asked me to have a seat and my “host” would be with me shortly. Another ten minutes passed and the director of the program finally opened the door and invited me to follow him. We walked down one hallway, made a left turn, and started down a long corridor. We walked through a metal door, made a right turn and proceeded down another hallway. I must admit that I was a little intimidated by the fact that my “guide” said very little while we were walking. I kept asking myself, “Where are we headed? “Where was this mysterious studio where we were supposed to assemble?” Everything seemed clouded in mystery, UNTIL we entered another set of doors and into the room where my fellow guests were already assembled. The entire journey probably took less than three minutes, but the quiet walk made it feel life a journey into nowhere.

Life is a lot like that walk into the unknown. The only thing I could rely upon was the fact that I trusted the one who was leading me. (At least I told myself I trusted him.) In similar ways we find ourselves in a lot of “unknown” places. We go for job interviews, but not really sure where we are or what’s happening next. We are like a couple planning a summer wedding. We are excited about being together, but clueless as to what marriage is all about. And we sometimes find ourselves going to the doctor, wondering what the diagnosis will be…THIS TIME. Life feels like a journey filled with lots of potholes and faded road signs. We aren’t always sure whether we should make one decision or another when both seem equally plausible. 

And since life is often filled with confusion, we…NEED…Jesus! [Ok, you’ve heard that before and it seems all too scripted. It sounds like something you heard in a fourth-grade Sunday School Class several years ago. But please keep reading.] We need Jesus and a hands-on knowledge of the Savior to get us through this journey of confusion. But why…Jesus?

John’s Gospel is an apologetic about Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of the world. When you read through John’s “twenty-one-chapter narrative” it seems like the same theme keeps repeating itself. That theme is one where Jesus proves His deity and mission over and over again. Those who saw Him were given a choice to believe or not. It’s the same choice given to us every time we read the biblical narrative.

In John chapter one, verses 19-50, we read about five individuals who encounter Jesus of Nazareth—John the Baptist, Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip and Nathanael. John certainly knew his cousin, Jesus, but he didn’t know Him as the Messiah. In verses 32 and 33 we are told that John saw the Spirit descending and resting on Jesus. It was THEN that John knew who Jesus really was. We are also informed that Andrew was with John when “the baptizer” referred to Jesus as “the Lamb of God” (v. 36). Andrew and another disciple started to follow. This in turn prompted Jesus to ask these would-be followers, “What are you looking for?” (v.38). They simply wanted to know where He was staying. Then in the very next verse Jesus tells them to “come and see.” 

There’s more. We are told that the next day Jesus found Philip and invited him to “follow” (v. 43). Philip in turn found Nathanael and invited him to come to meet Jesus, who was declared by Philip to be the promised Messiah (vv. 44-45). Nathanael was skeptical about Philip’s statement, and so the invitation was followed with the words “Come and see.” And when Jesus first met Nathanael he called him by name. Nathanael was so surprised by the greeting that he asked how Jesus could possibly know who he was. The answer? “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 

Fast forward to the end of the chapter. Jesus says, “I assure you: You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (v. 51). Read the chapter for yourself and you will notice how often John makes reference to vision-oriented words like “seeing,” “watching,” and “looking.” This repetition is intentional and highly instructive.

So back to my original question: Are you confused and uncertain about life? Are you a bit anxious about where you are headed—where life is headed? If so, you need to know Jesus! In fact, YOU WILL WANT TO FOLLOW JESUS WHEREVER HE LEADS YOU, BECAUSE JESUS SEES ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR LIFE. I am not talking about “following” in the sense of going to church or to your small group this week. Those are good things to do. I’m talking about FOLLOWING…JESUS! I am talking about following His will, His plans, His agenda, and His moral wisdom as revealed in the Scriptures. The best thing you and I can do for our souls is to embrace His will and ways as our very own. Why? It’s because JESUS SEES EVERYTHING. He sees the outcome of your next medical test. He sees the effects of your company’s downsizing. He sees your family, your finances, and your anxiety about the future. He not only sees; He leads. And His leading is always tempered by goodness and wisdom. He loves you more than you will ever know! So…follow Him. He knows where He is going. So trust Him! And in trusting Him you will find JESUS…caring for your soul.

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