Many argue that the Bible isn’t relevant any longer, that it is simply a collection of stories from ancient times long past.
SOAP is the answer to that misconception. The Word is alive and if we come to it with a hunger and thirst for finding relevance, we will find it, because it is there.
There are many ways to study the bible, but this SOAP journey for me is incredibly personal
The Bible is God’s way of speaking to us… but are we listening? Am I listening? And if I do find relevance, what am I doing with the revelations?
Today is one of those days, in these few short verses I find myself challenged in ways I’ve only had a slight awareness of before. This is next-level stuff as God continues to reveal what it is to be a follower of Christ.
John 1:35-42 ESV
Jesus Calls the First Disciples
35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples,36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.
38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter)
- “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
- They heard and followed
- Jesus saw them following
- Jesus asked, “what are you seeking?”
- They asked “where are you staying”
- Jesus replied “come see”
- “We have found the Messiah”
- “… you shall be called…”
- There goes John again shouting from the rooftops, BEHOLD! I literally used that word every time I felt tempted or challenged or frustrated throughout the day yesterday. For me, that word now evokes a sense of amazement, power, hope, holiness, divinity, majesty… all in a single word! I’ve heard it said, “don’t tell God about your problems, tell your problems about God”. BEHOLD is a great way to shout at a problem and minimize its enormity. It’s great that it works for me, so when others are in hard times, how can I use the concept of BEHOLD to encourage, strengthen and help cast vision for them? Is that not the great commission, to share the Good News?
- They heard and followed… it makes it sound so easy. These few words however signify the turning point that all of humanity faces at some point in their life. Someone takes us to church, or shares their testimony, or evangelizes us in some manner and at that point, our story becomes “I heard and followed”, or “I heard and scoffed and turned away”. John simply said “BEHOLD” and people’s lives instantly changed direction in every way imaginable. I literally spent decades going to church here and there and even reading the bible once in a while, but in hindsight, it was only out of curiosity or image. It wasn’t until 2011 (at 45 years old) that I dropped to my knees and cried out to Jesus and proclaimed my profession of faith that He died and rose so that I didn’t have to suffer any more. My life changed in an instant as I have not had another drink or drug since that exact moment. It’s one thing (and quite easy) to call myself a Christian, but quite another thing (and much more sacrificial) to actually follow Christ; where am I today, honestly? Do I follow Him only where it suits me, or in all areas of my life?
- Jesus saw them following. A reasonable assumption is if they weren’t following, then Jesus wouldn’t have seen them. They had to hear the news that the Messiah had been found, then choose to follow, and THEN Jesus noticed them following. I am so incredibly grateful for my decision to follow, and I totally see how all the years before when I had begged God for stuff it never happened but after that fateful morning in 2011, everything changed. Am I still a faithful follower?
- Like other verses in the Bible, Jesus asks “what are you seeking” or “what can I do for you”. Surely He knows what each of us needs, I’m always fascinated when Jesus asks people questions. It’s not for Him to get the answer, it’s for us to become self-aware. When Jesus asks others a question, I always find it helpful to ask myself the same question to see if it applies and is relevant: what am I seeking from Jesus?
- They asked “where are you staying”. I find this a good “follower” question. They didn’t ask Jesus right off to just start handing out gumballs, they called him Rabbi (teacher) and declared their desire to simply hang out with Him. How much do I overcomplicate my Christian walk by asking for profound revelations or supernatural blessings when in fact all I need to do is spend time in His presence and listen?
- Jesus invited them to “come stay”. But again, they had to be intentional about their desire to be with Him. When I open God’s Word, is it with a desire to hear from God? Is it from a place of gratitude and humility and simply being honored to hang out with Him? Do I choose to “stay” with Him or just visit occasionally? When I pray do I see myself as being in His presence? These are important questions!
- Can you almost hear the excitement in their voice? “we have found the Messiah”. I know for the first year or two after my conversion in 2011 I too, through my testimony, was telling everyone (and I mean everyone, grocery store lines, at the office, at the doctors) “I have been saved”. Not being married I can’t say for sure, but I suspect just like a marriage after the years roll on we can get complacent in our relationships. They are “just there” all the time and seeing our spouse can become routine, expected, un-exciting. Am I still excited about Jesus? Do I still have the level of enthusiasm I once had when telling others my testimony? I bet God knows how excited or complacent I am when I pray or open His word or minister to others? How will I feel when giving an account of my level of enthusiasm toward God 10 years into our relationship, 20, 30? What can I do to get that level of enthusiasm back?
- I remember an exercise years ago where a Pastor had challenged us to get with God to discover “our new name”. At the time it just seemed fanciful or made up and it didn’t mean much. Years later, however, as I was looking for a name for one of my (short-lived) ministry ideas the word JOR came to me. I had no idea why. After a few days, I realized I had been doing this blog for over 8 years (Journey of Redemption – JOR) and my nickname in English is Geo but name in Spanish is Jorge, which could be Jor? At that time I was mindblown at the coincidence and I came to believe that something in my calling is tied to this blog, for Journey of Redemption has been my only consistent endeavor throughout the last decade… and so Jor is my new name. Do I still see myself as a new creation living under my new identity in Christ? Or do I often feel like the old man has come back to take up residence? The beauty is, the old man is forever dead and it is the work of sanctification that seeks to undo all the damage (internal and external) that he had done. It is a Journey of Redemption 🙂
Wow Father, in only 7 verses I feel almost overwhelmed with the amount of relevant insight Your Word has impressed upon me this morning. Above all else, I’m convicted by the fact that I feel nostalgic about remembering what it was like when I felt BEHOLD for the first time in 2011 which is (embarrassingly) in stark contrast to how I feel about you now. And to see how my life resembled (past tense) what you describe here much more than it does now. I chose to follow, I was overfilled simply by your presence, I loved telling others of your goodness and power to heal and even resurrect. You know my heart and you know that I still believe and feel this way, but there is no denying that I have grown complacent, or maybe the better word is comfortable with you. That excitement has faded into a matter-of-fact, and I don’t believe that is how it is supposed to be. I want the fire to be reignited Lord, and I believe You are doing that through my season of intentionality through this SOAP endeavor. You are right in front of me all the time and I’m sorry that I almost take you for granted. I repent of that here and now and vow, at least for this day, I will once again sing and dance to your goodness and tell others of your mercy and steadfast love and unmerited favor which you relentlessly shower on me. Thank you, Jesus, may you be glorified in a million different ways this day by your followers all over the world.
Have you discovered your new name? I’d love to hear what it is and how you got it in the comments below.
Blessings in Christ,