Are you ready to say goodbye to 2015? Ready or not, here comes 2016 and, speaking for myself, I am looking forward to the New Year.
There are no recorded celebrations of the New Year listed in the Bible. Maybe that’s because the Bible is significantly older than our current calendar. Nevertheless, every year it’s difficult for people like me to come up with Bible passages that could specifically help you ease from one year to the next. But, as you would expect, I have some thoughts about some indirect references.
Transitions happen in the Bible all the time. One of the greatest transitions is from John the Baptizer, the voice crying in the wilderness, to Jesus. I wrote a paper in seminary that asserted one of the main points of emphasis of Luke’s Gospel was to make it easier for followers of John to become followers of Jesus. The Gospel according to John (not the Baptizer) shows a different sort of transition. In this Gospel account, John the Baptizer is baptizing and sees Jesus walk by. He shouts, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” Two of John’s disciples suddenly follow Jesus, literally. When they were walking behind him, Jesus stopped and turned to look at them. He said, “What are you seeking.”
That question, what are you seeking, is the first one Jesus asks. In fact, it’s the first thing Jesus says in John’s Gospel. Here is God-made-flesh, walking around on the muddy banks of the Jordan River, by himself. Suddenly two men start to follow him. He stops, turns around, and out of all the things that he could ask about them, their families, or their spiritual lives, the Human One who knows all simply asks, “What are you seeking?”
Were they seeking love, health or a deeper purpose in life? Were these two men seeking a military ruler that would defeat all their enemies? I wonder what caused them to leave their discipleship to John the Baptizer and unquestioningly follow Jesus? They certainly were seeking something, maybe what I felt when I decided to follow Jesus.
As we follow Jesus into this New Year, I imagine him looking at us and asking the same question. What are you seeking? If you are seeking love, you can find it in Jesus. There is no deeper love that anyone has for you than how Jesus loves you. If you are seeking health, Jesus heals. If you are seeking a deeper meaning in life, he provides that, too. However, if you are looking for a military ruler, you’ll have to wait for his return although, maybe, 2016 will be the year. Regardless, if you are looking for a good transition from 2015 into the New Year, following Jesus is a good choice.