“Though the power of Christ’s resurrection is independent of our response to it, to experience his new life we must orient our lives around the story which he fulfills.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 12, 2022
Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” John 1:45, ESV
In 2016, Leicester City clinched the championship of the Premier League, the highest level of soccer in England, and arguably the most competitive and elite league in the world. If you do not follow soccer or know anything about Leicester, this statistic means little to you, unremarkable and forgettable. And yet, their victory is unquestionably the greatest underdog story in sports history, overcoming 5000-to-1 odds to win it all. For perspective, as ESPN notes, these odds are the same as finding Elvis Presley alive or Barack Obama joining the England national cricket team!
However, if you are a lifelong supporter of Leicester, you do not need me to explain the magnitude of this victory, or how statistically impossible it was. To support a sports team is to know their history, their glories and triumphs, as well as their failures and disasters. You carry this story with you in your heart and mind, yet each year continue to hold out hope, believing something new is on the horizon.
If you can forgive the comparison, for Christ’s life, death, and resurrection is certainly in every way categorically different than victory on the soccer field, I do think there is a seed of truth for us in this story. Namely, I am reminded of the fact that the impact of Leicester’s victory varied dramatically depending on whether or not you knew the story of English soccer. Similarly, the events of Christ’s life were for some nothing more than another charismatic rabbi who could captivate a crowd and motivate the masses. Yet for others, those who knew the promises of God and looked for his healing and restoration, Christ was the fulfillment of all things, the promised one come to liberate Israel from its bondage.
When Philip approaches Nathanael to tell him about Christ, he does so as one who knows the story of Israel and sees how Christ is that story’s great climax. He doesn’t say, “We’ve found an interesting leader that might be worth checking out.” No, his words come from a lifetime of studying the Scriptures and living within the hopes and dreams of his people, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote” (John 1:45).
Though the power of Christ’s resurrection is independent of our response to it, to experience his new life we must orient our lives around the story which he fulfills.
If Philip were to share with you the same words he said to Nathanael, how would they land in your heart and mind? Do you know the words of the Law and the Prophets? Has your mind and imagination been shaped by the ancient stories of old? While it is easy to think of “Bible stories” as children’s stories that we’ve long since outgrown, nothing can be further from the truth. These stories are the heart of our faith, allowing those of us who follow the risen Christ to more fully and wonderfully grasp the height and depth of the victory of God.
Father, Christ is the one to whom all the Law and Prophets point, the fulfillment of your promises and the hope of the world. Help us to daily orient our lives to this story, that in it we may find our hope and our peace. Amen.
Consider a habit of regular, even daily, study of the Old Testament, learning the story and seeing more fully how Christ fulfills all things.
Victory Boyd: What a Beautiful Name
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