As I type this morning I am sitting in Indiana, getting ready to drive the rest of the way to St Louis, MO. I will spend the week conducting some basketball clinics and then sharing the Word during a youth retreat. It is going to be a great and fun time yet one also that is physically demanding. When we do clinics we do not just tell campers what to do; we also show them what to do. When I am talking about a proper basketball stance I tell them, “I want you bent down straight up!” it means nothing to them until I (or one of my boys) gets our knees bent, butt down, back straight, and head up.
• When I talk the campers about footwork it requires not only telling them how to step and slide but actually showing them by getting bent down straight up and staying low as I step and slide across the floor.
• When I talk to them about ball handling it requires that I show them how to stay bent down straight up to stay agile and explosive.
• When I talk shooting I get bent down straight up and thus create power from my legs and hips…
• I think you are getting the picture of the proper posture for how to play the game.
And after I have shown the players how to do these things, I expect them to imitate it or basically “follow the leader.”
Likewise there is a proper posture for living the Christian life. John 1:14 tells us that when Christ (the Word) took on flesh and came to live with us that we “beheld his glory.” This word beheld, according to Merrill Tenney in his expository on the book of John, has as its root meaning that of the theatre. In other words it is Christ showing us for us how this thing called life is done. His life gives us a full view of how God lives; thus how we should live. Through the Scriptures, especially the Gospels, we can be the audience that takes it all in.
In John we see Christ as:
• an evangelist – as He lovingly shares grace and truth with Nicodemus
• a human rights advocate – as He lovingly reach out to the outcast Samaritan woman
• a servant – as He lovingly washes the disciples dirty feet
• and ultimately a sacrificial Savior – as He lovingly went to the cross in our place
We read His words like in John 12:47 where he says “..I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”
We see a picture of the God-man that lived His life bent down straight up. He consistently was bent down before the Father with the attitude of obedience and doing the Father’s will. He was consistently bent down before others in servanthood (thus being the example mentioned in Philippians 2 where we are told to consider others as more important than ourselves.) He was consistently straight up with eyes focused on the Father and the completion of His commissioned task to be the Savior. (That makes the words “it is finished” oh so sweet!) He was consistently straight up with eyes looking up to and making others around Him feel important as He served them. If you read the book of John remembering that this is the God-man, the Christ, that is lovingly reaching out in this way it will blow you away.
As the audience that gets to “behold” this, it leads us to Christ’s challenge at the end of the book. In chapter 21 we read the epilogue of this incredible journey. Christ has been crucified as the perfect lamb to pay for our sin. Christ has risen again as the victorious Savior that offers us new life through faith in Him. Now in chapter 21 He is meeting with his disciples and fellowshipping with them and has the famous encounter with Peter where He asks Peter 3 times if he loves Christ.
Then Christ gives Peter, the other disciples, and ultimately us some very basic directions, “Follow Me.” Christ was not saying to them to try to go up in the clouds with Him. He was saying in essence:
“Ok Boys, you have been the audience that beheld my glory for these years. You have seen how I acted, how I lived, how I served, how I loved. You have heard me offer grace and truth – salvation through belief. I have not only provided salvation but also given a demonstration of how to live. So follow Me! Act like Me! Live like Me! Serve like Me! Love like Me!”
Simple conclusion this week to the devo: do you love Christ? If so then you need to have a life that is bent down straight up. You need to observe how Christ lived and imitate that. You (and I) need to “follow the leader.”