Where can we find the best life?
This is a question most of us (including those in our groups) are asking. As we head towards a full 365 days of life under the pandemic, many of us have had additional time to evaluate our lives. As we’ve recognized what’s missing externally, many of us have also recognized what’s missing within ourselves. Our frustration compounds. I know I should spend my time differently, but I just can’t seem to make a sustainable change. I know that if I want a “better life,” I need to live more from who I am in Christ. But how?
Our need for the best life may have never been more apparent than now.
What if we told you that the best life can only be found in the love of the Father? Matt Carter suggests exactly this as he walks us through the parable of The Prodigal Son. Whether you feel like you can relate to the prodigal son or not, Carter has much to unpack for everyone within this powerful parable about the love of the Father and our place as His children.
If this study sounds like what you’ve been looking for, we’ve got great news. We are launching an Online Bible Study through The Prodigal Son in less than two weeks. Our Online Bible studies (OBS) are free experiences giving you free access to the teaching videos (typically requires purchase) and opportunity to join in discussion with people from all over the nation and world. To find more information, check out this post. To sign up for the study, go to the OBS page here.
In the meantime, consider the excerpt below from this powerful Bible study:
Many people are asking serious questions about what it means to follow Jesus. People all around us are asking, “If I follow Christ, what will it cost me? If I fully commit to Jesus, am I missing out on life’s best?” What is the answer to these questions?
The answer is a resounding “no.” In fact, the shocking answer is that the only life worth having is found in knowing God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ. This is the central claim of Christianity. However, we need to realize that these questions are not new. People have been asking them since the first century. Jesus encouraged His disciples to ask. Today we’re going to looking into one such account in the Gospel of John.
A Bold Claim
Read John 6:53-58.
Jesus did not literally mean that people should eat His flesh or drink His blood. What did He mean?
Why did the crowd find this statement offensive?
At this point in Jesus’ ministry, huge crowds of people followed Him wherever He went because He was working miracles, feeding the hungry, and healing the sick. Jesus paused, looked at the crowd, and exclaimed unless the crowd ate His flesh and drank His blood they could not follow Him (v. 53). Jesus did not mean this literally.
By “flesh and blood” Jesus was referring to His whole being. In other words, Jesus was saying that unless they devoted themselves entirely to Him they could not find life.
Why is the claim that Jesus made still shocking?
How does this claim still offend people today?
The claim that Jesus made—that true and abundant life can only be found in Him alone, is the most shocking and inflammatory claim in all the world. And Jesus made this claim repeatedly. It offended people in the first century and it offends people today.
The swelling crowd following Jesus–drawn in by His teaching and miracles– didn’t understand what He meant, so they turned and walked away. His disciples were standing with their mouths wide open, stunned that the popularity of their leader had just plunged—but Jesus was unmoved by it.
A Bold Response
Peter realized life is found in only one place—Jesus.
Read John 6:66-69.
What does Peter’s confession in verse 68 affirm to us about Jesus?
What have you experienced while walking with Jesus that let’s you know that Peter’s confession is true?
How have you found full and abundant life in Jesus?
All people are hardwired to pursue a life filled with purpose and meaning because we were all created to relate to God. Two-thousand years ago, Jesus made a bold claim when He said that the fullness of life can only be found in following Him, and following Him completely. The problem is that if we are not finding life in Jesus, we are looking for life in places we could never hope to find it.
Peter asked Jesus a straight forward question: “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Think for a moment about your friends who don’t know God. Where do they turn to find life?
As you’ve watched these friends search for life in other places, what were the results?
We live in a culture where people are desperate for a different way to live. No amount of friends, success, accomplishments, money, promotions, or social media followers can give us the life we all so desperately desire. These things may make us feel good for a moment, but they can’t ultimately satisfy us.
Those of us who know Jesus, have a responsibility to show other people the way to experience abundant life (John 10:10). How will the people around us see or know a better way if those of use who know Jesus aren’t willing to show them? How are we going to turn the tide of death and despair riddling our culture if Christians live no differently?
How does the way you live show people what it means to follow Jesus?
This world desperately needs to be shown a new way. The world needs ordinary people, who decide to go all-in when it comes to following Christ. Our culture is desperate for a generation of believers that don’t just make Jesus a part of their lives, but passionately put Him first and show this world with their everyday lives, that yes, there is a better path—a path of peace, love, and happiness.
What might you need to let go of to follow Jesus more closely? Is there anything you need to give up?
Think again about your friends, neighbors, family members, or maybe even other Christians, who are trying to find life by chasing the things of this world. What might it look like to have a conversation with them and point them towards Jesus?
End your time praying that God will help you to find life in Jesus alone. Use Psalm 16:11 as a guide for your prayer.
You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.