December 22, 2020
About the author: Sean O’Dell (22) is a senior at Purdue who is actively involved in Purdue Bands and Orchestras, Krannert School of Management, and Purdue CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). Sean is the son of long-time ZPC members Brian and Susan O’Dell as well as the grandson of Bob and Clair Tibbetts.
Scripture: Isaiah 7:10-16
This past semester of college was unlike any of the previous six I had done before. With no football or basketball games, limited social opportunities, and virtual learning, we had to make our own fun. Thankfully, this semester was enjoyable and we were blessed to spend it on the campus we love so much. Truth be told, though, we had a lot of time to kill. One of the ways I wanted to challenge myself this semester was to consistently read passages of the New Testament. I managed to do so and found so much encouragement in each book!
Today’s devotional is about love and I can’t think of a better place to look than the New Testament and the life of Jesus for examples of this major theme of the Bible. Our verse for today comes from the Old Testament and details what many interpret as a Messianic prophecy later fulfilled by the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary. This passage is pretty complex so I doubt I am qualified to analyze it in depth but I do know the major takeaway points. Matthew 1:23 makes direct reference to Isaiah as does the book of Luke. All that to say that this passage from Isaiah leads us right to Jesus. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he replied “Love God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind; love thy neighbor as thyself.” Notice he does not say like or tolerate or put up with. He says to love (actively) those around us and God with everything we have.
Ask my parents and brother; a song we had on constantly during Christmas time growing up was ‘This Baby’ by Steven Curtis Chapman. If you have never heard it, I highly recommend it. The song is fantastic but the message is awesome too. In the lyrics, the growing up of Jesus is detailed. He laughs, he cries, he scrapes his knee, his voice and body change. Last I checked, those same things happen to us! Often, I find it daunting to live up to the great, big God we serve. But, God so LOVED the world he gave his only son to die for us. In doing so, he gave us the greatest human example we could possibly find! Jesus was God and man at once…think about that! When Jesus says to love God and love others, he lives it out each and every day. So, if we laugh, we cry, scrape our knees, and hit growth spurts…and Jesus did too and a piece of him lives within us…then we have everything we need to love God and others wholeheartedly. Jesus, who even while being whipped and carrying his own cross, did so with us on his mind. Jesus, our greatest blessing and our greatest example. He deeply loves everyone around him – friends and strangers alike. And if there’s one thing this crazy year has taught me, it is that we could all stand to love more like Jesus. Happy Holidays!