Bible Society of South Africa

Looking for Jesus – 4 March 2021

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

2It is useless, useless, said the Philosopher. Life is useless, all useless. 3You spend your life working, labouring, and what do you have to show for it? 4Generations come and generations go, but the world stays just the same.

Ecclesiastes 1:2-4GNBOpen in Bible reader

Solomon was a king reminiscent of many headline celebrities, and their problems. His perception of the rhythm of life was, “Everything leads to weariness – a weariness too great for words”, (Ecclesiastes 1:8), “the wiser you are, the more worries you have …” (Ecclesiastes 1:18) and “it is all useless. It is like chasing the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14) “Yes I was great, greater than anyone who had ever lived in Jerusalem, and my wisdom never failed me. Anything I wanted, I got. I did not deny myself any pleasure.” (Ecclesiastes 2:9-10)

His renowned wisdom, wealth and power had apparently not brought him fulfilment; nor had the honoured task of being chosen to build the temple although he had begun it with great wonder and enthusiasm. In spite of having so much in his life to occupy him (See 1 Kings 4:20-5:18) none of it seems to have truly satisfied him. He was still searching.

If Solomon had lived today in a world massively disrupted by Covid, would he have felt as disgruntled about the futility of life, or like some today, would he have been able to discover a fresh appreciation of being able to wake up each day, grateful to be employed and to enjoy simple pleasures? Or would he still have experienced a sense of boredom and hopelessness?

Would Solomon’s experience of life have been different if he’d been able to search out Jesus as Nicodemus did? Nicodemus, a scholarly Pharisee, was also looking for answers.

In conversation with Nicodemus about the Kingdom of God, Jesus also spoke about the wind, as Solomon had done, but His was a positive perspective of how the Spirit works as an empowering force, and not as something frustrating that he could never catch regardless of how much he chased. “The wind blows wherever it wishes; you hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

Talking to Jesus helped Nicodemus to understand how rebirth brought transformation and freedom in the Spirit to live with integrity with a renewed appreciation of the boundaries set by God, ready to go where the Spirit led, regardless of who he had been.

Nicodemus became a Pharisee of principle who defended Jesus against his fellow Pharisees (John 7:50-51) and later showed his love for Jesus by fetching, and extravagantly anointing, His body and putting it in the tomb, with Joseph of Arimathea. (John 19:39-42) His search ended in fulfilment. Would Solomon have seen things differently had he had the same opportunity?

Our contentment in life is determined by where our hearts are focused: are we focused on our circumstances or on the One who transforms our circumstances?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You alone give meaning to who we are and what we have. It is in finding You that we are able to experience joy and fulfilment in our lives. Help me to live with a heart focused on You and always to rise above my circumstances. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.13.12
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