My Quilting through the Bible project still has me in the gospels these days. Reading the life and words of Jesus has been just the ticket I’ve needed to travel through this Lenten season. There’s so much “noise” out there, and I’m weary of all the politics. Exchanging the broadcast news media for the “Good News” of the gospels keeps me calm to keep carrying on.
This quilt block goes with the passage where Jesus tells His disciples that He is going to His Father’s house and preparing a place for them. He assures them that He will return to receive them, and that they know the way to where He is going. Good old Thomas asks out loud what everyone else is thinking, “Lord, we don’t know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus replies: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
Remember block #65? https://cutswithscissors.com/2020/10/01/65-typical/It accompanied Luke 1:76-80 regarding the role of John the Baptist:
76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit[a]; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.
I didn’t comment on it in that post, because I was having an emoji brain explosion that wasn’t quite jelled enough to share. It still isn’t. The gospel is truly mind-blowing. It turns everything on its head and I’m still scratching mine.
So what is in my brain’s jelling process is the concept of “the way”. I had previously thought of John’s words, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” as a requirement for action on my part. I assumed he meant that we needed to make preparations of some sort. Maybe by examining our hearts, and clearing the path so we would be ready to walk, step by step, to our salvation.
Not even close.
Now it’s clear that “The Way” is the path where God brought Heaven to us. He sent His Son to be our pathway. If there were directional arrows, they’d be pointing from Heaven to Earth, not the other way around.
When John told the Israelites to prepare the way for the Lord, I think he wanted them to get ready for a mind blowing experience. God was going to do a 180 degree flip on the way He made covenant with His people. He was going to fulfill the Law for us once and for all. He was going to literally become the Way of salvation, as a Son, taking on flesh, as Jesus Christ.
I know I knew this, but it’s so easy to get lazy, and get thrown off track. Somehow I missed the little words, “HE will make your paths straight”, and “HE will guide our feet into the path of peace”. I translated those passages into “I have to get with the program and get my path in order”. It doesn’t help when books and sermons have titles like: “Five Steps to a Better Blah Blah Blah”, or “Ways to a Better Life Now”. The pure truth and finality of the gospel can get muddled. We mistakenly think that we need to be a part of the process. But thinking that way insults the complete work that Jesus did on the cross.
Don’t get me wrong, we do have something we need to do, which is taking that first step of faith. That’s it. And where does faith come from? Romans 10 says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
So, we need to hear the word of God.