Series: Followers of Jesus
Message: In the World
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Purpose: Don Pate
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 13:1-14 in the New Testament for Everyone (NTE). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Today, for the first time, we have added a new translation to the mixture of versions we read each week. By chance, when I was visiting with Pastor Douglas McCormac, his daughter (who was helping out with the Week of Spiritual Emphasis at Newbold College) was holding this Bible. It’s a new translation from John Goldingay for the First Testament and N. T. Wright for the Second Testament. I ordered my copy immediately and was delighted to see that Bible Gateway had already added this version online. So I hope you enjoyed reading this passage in the NTE and that it brought fresh insights to you.
If you are not quite sure exactly where I land on this text, or if you are not quite sure exactly how I understand this passage, let me share one principle I use when approaching the Bible. I also encourage you to explore the many ways to study the Bible by visiting our website. Remember that our introduction to the Daily Walk includes a How-To Guide that also articulates a healthy process.
When you study any particular passage, you need to make sure that you discover Jesus in it every time (John 5:39). This is really a wonderful approach to the Bible. Jesus himself used several metaphors to describe how we might view Him. Look at this list from the Gospel of John, made up of seven “I Am” statements. It appears that at times we have focused on individual elements of Jesus and not the whole picture of Who He is.
1. I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35,48,51)
2. I am the Light of the World ( John 8:12, 9:5)
3. I am the Door of the Sheep (John 10:7,9)
4. I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14)
5. I am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)
6. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6)
7. I am the True Vine (John 15:1)
Could it be that we are so focused on the single word “truth” that we forget all the metaphors that collectively describe Jesus? Might we forget that when we see Jesus, we also see the Father and the Spirit?
Perhaps the first thing we should do with difficult passages is remember that they should always point us to a fuller appreciation of Father, Son, and Spirit.
Recalibrate: Which metaphor speaks to you most, and how do the others complement your view of God?
Respond: Pray that an ever-growing picture of Jesus will be the center of your life.
Research: Select one of the “I Am” statements from the Gospel of John and read the story around it. Did it address a tension? Did it change a perception? How does the context help you see Jesus more fully?
Remember: “If you love your neighbor, you see, you have fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8, KNT).
Japhet De Oliveira is senior pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, and is co-founder of the One project. Originally from southeast London, he served in the South England Conference for nine years—as a pastor and later as conference youth director—before moving to the United States in 2006. He is married to Becky and they have two sons, Joshua (18) and Jonah (14).
Try watering plants with your little one. Talk about watering all the plants that you can see. Talk about how we need to drink water too. Water is so good for us. Keep your little one’s water bottle or cup handy so that they can drink whenever they need to. Offer a drink to anyone else you come across, even the family pet. Romans 13 tells us that love does no harm, so let’s get in the habit of sharing what we have and loving our neighbor.
Romans 13:8 says that we have a continuing debt to love one another. The verse doesn’t say to only love the kids we like; it means we need to love everyone. A continuing debt is a forever thing. Try to think of ways you can be a friend to someone who is not your friend right now. Talk about this with someone you trust and put your ideas into action.
Yesterday, we ran a list of people who were absolute “outsiders” and still Jesus called them to follow Him. That’s magnificent, but that’s not the whole picture because the real Jesus also called people of privilege to discipleship. You and I may write off rich, impressive, privileged people for the Kingdom—but Jesus didn’t. We’ve been given the stories of Him engaging with and inviting Pharisees, temple-types, and rich young rulers. Yes, even the “upper crust” and the people who thought they had it all were confronted by Jesus and they too heard Him say, “C’mon.” Nobodies, outsiders, privileged people—do you really think you are going to be excluded?