I chose to start with The Book of John because I like his style. No other fancy theological reason other than that.
John likes to use metaphors, word painting and writes more as a novelist would - rather than a record keeper. I can relate to that.
I could start by analyzing this book as I have before and discuss how John personifies Jesus + God as the living word + light itself, but as I read through this time - something else entirely jumped out at me. That's the funny thing about reading the Bible... somehow it always breaths new life through each word written... it's truly divine.
This time, John the Baptist (not John the disciple/author) stuck out to me. John the Baptist was a unique guy. He was known to be different. The food he ate, the way he dressed, the way he talked about God in a way no one else of his time was, and he spent much of his time out in the wastelands.
However, John wasn't searching for ways to make himself unique. He wasn't aiming to form his own brand. He wasn't curating parts of his life to make himself stand out and get people to follow him. He was doing the opposite. He was different because none of this was about him.
He was living out who he was fully created to be and no one else could be just that. This is what made him unique, what made him stand out, what gave him his own brand, what curated a life that made people stop, look, and inquire. His aim was serving his mission, not self-serving his desires. The mindset came first, the mission came second, and he came third.
But how do we find our mission? How do we set goals and not get lost in personal achievement over divine purpose? I think the answer is found in the "Why" - I did not invent this concept of finding your "why.” There are plenty of books written on this subject, but I apply it to a mindset of purposeful mission. This helps to keep me grounded, focused, and helps me decipher what is ego driven and what is mission driven.
I'm not talking about a big, lofty, change the world “why” (although, there's nothing wrong with that). I'm talking about a “why” as simple as - "Is this serving someone?" - someone other than myself. Sometimes I get caught up in the big why's that I become overwhelmed. But, look at John & Jesus' life... it was filled with daily acts of serving that ultimately lead to changing the world.
But the people questioned John, they thought he was weird, they questioned his right to do what he was doing and why he was doing it.
Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself? John 1:22
John let the scriptures answer for him. Old Testament scriptures... he was sent on this mission without even the full Bible as we know it today, and he ended up becoming a part of the story. We are living in the Third Testament - the Holy Spirit's Testament and the story is written with us in mind. Yep, you and me, our imperfect lives, and the Holy Spirit.
John (the disciple/author) was laying a foundation preparing his readers for a book that looked different than any book they have read before. The stories, the lives, the words were all daily person to person interactions that lead to changed lives, miracles, and ultimately salvation.
Can anything good come out of Nazareth? John 1:46
Yes, actually the stairway between heaven and earth (John 1:51) did. Can anything good come out of little old me? Yes, take the stairs.