In her book Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, Lois Tverberg retells the following story about a famous first century rabbi named Rabbi Akiva:
“One day as Rabbi was shepherding his flocks of sheep, he noticed a tiny stream trickling down a hillside, dripping over a ledge on its way toward the river below. Below was a massive boulder. Surprisingly, the rock bore a deep impression. The drip, drip, drip of water over the centuries had hollowed away the stone. Akiva commented, “If mere water can do this to hard rock, how much more can God’s Word carve a way into my heart of flesh?” Akiva realized that if the water had flowed over the rock all at once, the rock would have been unchanged. It was the slow but steady impact of each small droplet, year after year, that completely reformed the stone. I find now that God likes to reveal truth over many years, as I study alongside Him and others. I realize now that big “splashes” aren’t usually God’s way of doing things. Instead, through the slow drip of study and prayer, day after day, year after year, he shapes us thru Christ into what he wants us to be.” (from Christianity Today)
For the next several months, my Bible Study groups will be looking at the Gospel of John, a Gospel focused entirely on the identity and mission of Jesus Christ. We have centered our discussion on the elements of “change” and “transformation” of which we long to see in our own hearts and lives. Recently we looked at the author of the Gospel, John the disciple, who was a young Jewish man from Galilee. As a man he joined his father’s fishing business in his early years. He quickly developed into someone known for having a “truth at all costs” personality. He was brash, intolerant, pushy, overtly aggressive and insensitive to others. Not only did it play out in his competitive fishing business but he was called out by Jesus as a Son of Thunder and as one who not only wanted to rain fire down on the Samaritans but also wanted to push out all outcasts from the disciples and the true kingdom of God.
So what happened? How did a man this far out on the fringe in his behavior transform into a leader in the early church and earn the nickname “apostle of love”, which we see reflected in 1 John, a book he wrote?
Like Rabbi Akiva once said, the slow steady drip of Jesus Christ in the heart of this “Son of Thunder” not only changed him significantly, but it made such a difference in his life that he had no other choice but to share this Gospel message of what change and transformation thru Jesus can in-act in our own lives over time. I think that’s why John has so much to say about Christ in his Gospel message. Christ saves and then transforms.
Does your life journey long for such a change as John’s? Are you looking to be a different man today? Drip, drip, drip………
Weekly wisdom and insight from best-selling author Richard E Simmons III.