August 30, 2018

The Outward Curve of Life

Written by Tripp Prince

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 30, 2018

This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever. John 6:58 (NRSV)

In John’s gospel, we consistently see Jesus drawing near to people in places of incredible pain, heartache, and brokenness. And as he draws near, he speaks to their deepest need and offers them the greatest gift he could possibly give them: himself. Time and time again, Jesus, with great patience and compassion, invites people to see him as he truly is and begin to see themselves differently as a result.

St. Augustine is famously attributed with the phrase that the human being is, apart from God’s grace, incurvatus in se, curved in upon itself. It is constantly looking within for a source of meaning and purpose, for a way forward that feels satisfying and fulfilling. As the logic goes, if you haven’t found a meaningful and fulfilling life, you simply haven’t dug deep enough! Yet the persistent, unwavering invitation from Jesus in each and every generation is to find our true core identity by reorienting and redirecting our desires away from ourselves and towards him, for the good of others and the life of the world.

In rapid succession over the course of a few short chapters, Jesus, time and time again extends this invitation to those around him. “Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.” (John 6:57) “It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63) “On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink.” (John 7:37-38) “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12)

The response to these invitations is quite varied. Some hear these words and grow angry, outraged by Jesus’ audacity and boldness. Others leave confused and perplexed. Yet our brother Peter, in a moment of great clarity, sees Jesus as he truly is and takes a step forward in faith, moving from the inward curve of the soul towards the outward, open posture of true discipleship. May we have the courage to do the same!

“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).


Father, thank you that you love us enough to draw near and invite us up out of ourselves and into life in your kingdom, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.


Where is your faith turned inward instead of looking out to Jesus for life, peace, and hope?

Related Reading

Jeremiah 31:6; Psalm 145:18; James 4:8

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