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The Savior is seeking us

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring Jesus' life through the book of John. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpcdevo to 39970. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

About the author: Hi there! My name is Brendon Saget and I am the Youth Ministries Intern here at ZPC. I am so happy to be bringing this devotion to you today as John is my favorite book in the Bible. I have been at ZPC for 10 months and have loved every second of my time here. I coach eighth grade basketball at Zionsville West Middle School and will coach baseball for Zionsville Middle School in the spring. 

Scripture: John 7

We are in the midst of the Advent season and I hope these devotionals have been comforting and helpful in these crazy but beautiful times. We are in the gospel of John. Each of the four gospels provide a different portrait of Jesus. In particular, John speaks of Jesus as the I AM, the perfect, divine, and living Son of God. John opens his teachings with:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Today we are going to be journeying through John 7 and will focus on three verses, John 7:3-5, John 7:19, and John 7:34.

John 7:3-5:

Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

This chapter starts off with Jesus and his brothers debating on going into Judea to the Feast of Tabernacles. At this feast, there would be many people and Jesus’ brothers thought that Jesus should go and show off his miracles to the great crowds. Jesus thought otherwise and told his brothers to go ahead without him. This mentality of fame and fortune is one we can appreciate as humans. Many long for it and seek it out. Jesus knew his time to be taken and sacrificed had not yet arrived and he did not want to risk going into Judea with a big crowd of people. Additionally, the Jewish leaders were trying to kill him because he had accused the people of doing evil. This did not sit well with the people Jesus was talking to because most of them had been following the Jewish leaders and thought they were doing well in this area of life. 

John 7:19:

Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?

We then find Jesus had gone to the Feast of the Tabernacles discreetly and quietly to teach at the Temple. Jesus shares that the message he brings is not from him; it is of God and will bring glory to God. Now, what we saw in the last verses was these people, especially the Jewish leaders, thinking they had been doing everything correctly and obeying each law. But Jesus hits them with verse 19, “Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.”

Think about how this went down in this place–the arrogance that was running through the veins of the people in this room and Jesus speaks the truth to them. If you just read this verse and move on there is much to miss. For one thing, the fact that Jesus, this man who came to save, was being rejected because these people did not truly believe that Jesus could be the I AM. I don’t know about you, but when I read that verse I can’t help but think about the question, “If I was in that room, what would I have done?” Luckily, we don’t have to answer that right now, but we know that Jesus calls us to a higher purpose: Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  (Matthew 22:36-40) Love is the greatest action, emotion, life giver, and encourager.

John 7:34:

You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.

Love is not always easy in this life but Jesus gives us hope that he will be with us in times when it is easy and tough to feel and give love. In verse 34 it says, You will search for me but not find me. And you cannot go where I am going. Jesus said this right after the Pharisees sent men to capture Jesus but it was still not his time. This was foreshadowing his death and ascension to heaven but it also reminds me of a couple of other verses in the other gospels, Matthew 7:7-8 and Luke 11:9. These verses speak about seeking and finding. Jesus was saying that they would not be able to find his earthly body but those that were in Christ would seek and find him. This Advent season, I challenge you to look for ways to be comforted that Jesus is who he says he. This season is about coming together in celebration of Christ’s birth as well as having a Savior that is seeking after us.

Prayer:

Lord,
I pray this Advent season, you would work through me to show others around me that you are the light of this world. Help my community shine bright with the love and hope that you bring us and to be different and set apart from the world that tries to destroy you. Bring blessings on those that might not have as much as me and help me to be a blessing for those around me. Help my family to keep you as a priority and to keep others first.
In your great, and holy name I pray.
Amen. 

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ZPC middle school students escape to Wisconsin

Picture this...after 6 hours of driving and jamming out to great music you come upon this beautiful lake at the Green Lake Conference Center and are then swarmed by high school and college students covered head to toe in construction gear. You've just experienced the start to the best week of the year at Great Escape Midwest! Great Escape is a place where you can detox from everyday life and play carpet ball or gaga ball until the next meal. It is also a place where you can meet some amazing people who understand you on a level you never thought someone could understand you, especially a person you have never met before.

We challenged the students to “let go” the first night–to let go and be in the moment at hand. The students had no problem with that because that meant they could be as wild as they wanted while they rolled around in a mud pit or jumped into a freezing swimming pool for spirit points that would get their team into the top ten of twenty-four Great Escape teams. This was only the beginning of what the week meant.

On top of the craziness of rec time and free time, there were conversations that happened within large groups, small groups, and one on one that meant the world to some. Building relationships starts with intentionality, whether that means a conversation on the lakefront about life or just hysterically laughing at random things at eleven o’clock at night. These are the bonds that were made and will continue to be made at The Great Escape Midwest. 

Ask your favorite middle schoolers if they experienced Great Escape and, if so, what their best memory is. If you don't have a favorite middle schooler, seek one out on a Sunday morning!

View Great Escape recap video

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