Jesus Christ is The Messiah Part 2
Jesus Christ is the Creator of life
Because Jesus demonstrated his authority, we have no reason to fear judgment, or what people may do to us. Because Jesus demonstrated his power to heal, we can claim that power in our own lives for now and eternity. Because Jesus demonstrated his power over death, we do not have to fear dying.
JESUS CHRIST THE IDENTITY OF JESUS CHRIST WHO IS JESUS?
BIBLE READING: John 1:1-18
KEY BIBLE VERSE: In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. . . . So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. (John 1:1, 14)
JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD
What Jesus taught and what he did are tied inseparably to who he is. The Bible shows Jesus as fully human and fully God. Although Jesus took upon himself full humanity and lived as a man, he never ceased to be the eternal God who has always existed, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and the source of eternal life. This is the truth about Jesus, and the foundation of all truth. If we cannot or do not believe this basic truth, we will not have enough faith to trust our eternal destiny to him. That is why John wrote this Gospel-to build faith and confidence in Jesus Christ so that we may believe that he truly was and is the Son of God (20:30-31).
JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Jesus Christ is the Creator of life, and his life brings light to mankind. In his light, we see ourselves as we really are (sinners in need of a Savior). When we follow Jesus, the true Light, we can avoid walking blindly and falling into sin. He lights the path ahead of us so we can see how to live. He removes the darkness of sin from our life. Have you allowed the light of Christ to shine into your life? Let Christ guide your life, and you’ll never need to stumble in darkness.
JESUS IS BOTH HUMAN AND DIVINE
By becoming human, Christ became:
the perfect teacher-in Jesus’ life we see how God thinks and, therefore, how we should think (Philippians 2:5-11)
the perfect example-as a model of what we are to become, he shows us how to live and gives us the power to live that way (1 Peter 2:21)
the perfect sacrifice-Jesus came as a sacrifice for all sins, and his death satisfied God’s requirements for the removal of sin (Colossians 1:15-23).
BIBLE READING: Mark 1:9-13
KEY BIBLE VERSE: A voice came from heaven saying, “You are my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with you.” (Mark 1:11)
JESUS IS A MEMBER OF THE TRINITY
The Spirit descended like a dove on Jesus, and the voice from heaven proclaimed the Father’s approval of Jesus as his divine Son. That Jesus is God’s divine Son is the foundation for all we read about Jesus in the Gospels. Here we see all three members of the Trinity together-God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
BIBLE READING: Matthew 16:13-20
KEY BIBLE VERSE: [Jesus] asked them, “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:15-16)
JESUS IS THE MESSIAH
The disciples answered Jesus’ question with the common view-that Jesus was one of the great prophets come back to life. This belief may have stemmed from Deuteronomy 18:18, where God said he would raise up a prophet from among the people. Peter, however, confessed Jesus as divine and as the promised and long-awaited Messiah. If Jesus were to ask you this question, how would you answer? Is he your Lord and Messiah?
BIBLE READING: Luke 8:40-56
KEY BIBLE VERSE: When the woman realized that Jesus knew, she began to tremble and fell to her knees before him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” (Luke 8:47-48)
JESUS IS THE GREAT PHYSICIAN
Many people surrounded Jesus as he made his way toward Jairus’s house. It was virtually impossible to get through the multitude, but one woman fought her way desperately through the crowd in order to touch Jesus. As soon as she did so, she was healed. What a difference there is between the crowds that are curious about Jesus and the few that reach out and touch him! Today, many people are vaguely familiar with Jesus, but nothing in their lives is changed or bettered by this passing acquaintance. It is only faith that releases God’s healing power. Are you just curious about God, or do you reach out to him in faith, knowing that his mercy will bring healing to your body, soul, and spirit?
THE HUMANITY AND SUFFERING OF JESUS CHRIST IN WHAT WAYS DID JESUS DEMONSTRATE HIS HUMANITY?
BIBLE READING: Isaiah 53:1-12
KEY BIBLE VERSE: All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the guilt and sins of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)
JESUS DEMONSTRATED HIS HUMAN NATURE BY DYING FOR US
In this chapter Isaiah speaks of the Messiah, Jesus, who would suffer for the sins of all people. Such a prophecy is astounding! Who would believe that God would choose to save the world through a humble, suffering servant rather than a glorious king? The idea is contrary to human pride and worldly ways. But God often works in ways we don’t expect. The Messiah’s strength is shown by humility, suffering, and mercy.
BIBLE READING: Matthew 4:1-11
KEY BIBLE VERSE: The Devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, change these stones into loaves of bread.” (Matthew 4:3)
JESUS DEMONSTRATED HIS HUMANITY AND DIVINITY IN RESISTING TEMPTATION
This temptation by the devil shows us that Jesus was human, and it gave Jesus the opportunity to reaffirm God’s plan for his ministry. It also gives us an example to follow when we are tempted. Jesus’ temptation was an important demonstration of his sinlessness.
He would face temptation and not give in. This time of testing showed that Jesus really was the Son of God, able to overcome the devil and his temptations. A person has not shown true obedience if he or she has never had an opportunity to disobey.
We read in Deuteronomy 8:2 that God led the Israelites into the desert to humble and test them. God wanted to see whether or not his people would really obey him. We too will be tested. Because we know that testing will come, we should be alert and ready for it. Remember, your convictions are strong only if they hold up under pressure!
THE DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST HOW IS JESUS PROVED TO BE DIVINE?
BIBLE READING: Mark 1:21-28
KEY BIBLE VERSE: He began shouting, “Why are you bothering us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One sent from God!” (Mark 1:24)
JESUS DEMONSTRATED HIS DIVINITY BY HIS CONTROL OVER EVIL POWER
Evil spirits, or demons, are ruled by Satan. They work to tempt people to sin. They were not created by Satan-because God is the Creator of all. Rather, they are fallen angels who joined Satan in his rebellion. Though not all disease comes from Satan, demons can cause a person to become mute, deaf, blind, or insane. But in every case where demons confronted Jesus, they lost their power. Thus God limits what evil spirits can do; they can do nothing without his permission. During Jesus’ life on earth, demons were allowed to be very active to demonstrate once and for all Christ’s power and authority over them.
BIBLE READING: Luke 9:28-36
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Even as he was saying this, a cloud came over them; and terror gripped them as it covered them. Then a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him.” (Luke 9:34-35)
GOD THE FATHER IDENTIFIED JESUS AS DIVINE
As God’s Son, Jesus has God’s power and authority; thus his words should be our final authority. If a person’s teaching is true, it will agree with Jesus’ teachings. Test everything you hear against Jesus’ words, and you will not be led astray. Don’t be hasty to seek advice and guidance from merely human sources and thereby neglect Christ’s message.
God clearly identified Jesus as his Son before saying that Peter and the others were to listen to Jesus and not to their own ideas and desires. The ability to follow Jesus comes from confidence about who he is. If we believe he is God’s Son, then we surely will want to do what he says.
BIBLE READING: Mark 16:1-8
KEY BIBLE VERSE: The angel said, “Do not be so surprised. You are looking for Jesus, the Nazarene, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He has been raised from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body.” (Mark 16:6)
JESUS DEMONSTRATED HIS DIVINITY BY HIS RESURRECTION
The Resurrection is vitally important for many reasons:
Jesus kept his promise to rise from the dead, so we can believe he will keep all his other promises.
The Resurrection ensures that the ruler of God’s eternal kingdom will be the living Christ, not just an idea, hope, or dream.
Christ’s resurrection gives us the assurance that we also will be resurrected.
The power of God that brought Christ’s body back from the dead is available to us to bring our morally and spiritually dead selves back to life so that we can change and grow (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).
The Resurrection provides the substance of the church’s witness to the world. We do not merely tell lessons from the life of a good teacher; we proclaim the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
BIBLE READING: Philippians 2:1-11
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
CHRIST’S DIVINITY WILL SOMEDAY BE KNOWN BY ALL
These verses are probably from a hymn sung by the early Christian church. The passage holds many parallels to the prophecy of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53.
As a hymn, it was not meant to be a complete statement about the nature and work of Christ. Several key characteristics of Jesus Christ, however, are praised in this passage:
Christ has always existed with God
Christ is equal to God because he is God (John 1:1.; Colossians 1:15-19)
although Christ is God, he became a man in order to fulfill God’s plan of salvation for all people
Christ did not just have the appearance of being a man-he actually became human to identify with our sins
Christ voluntarily laid aside his divine rights and privileges out of love for his Father
Christ died on the cross for our sins so we wouldn’t have to face eternal death
God glorified Christ because of his obedience
God raised Christ to his original position at the Father’s right hand, where he will reign forever as our Lord and Judge.
How can we do anything less than praise Christ as our Lord and dedicate ourselves to his service!
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST HOW DO WE KNOW THAT JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD?
BIBLE READING: Matthew 27:57-66
KEY BIBLE VERSE: We request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he came back to life! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first. (Matthew 27:64)
CHRIST’S ENEMIES CONFIRM THE TRUTH OF THE RESURRECTION
The religious leaders took Jesus’ resurrection claims more seriously than the disciples did. The disciples didn’t remember Jesus’ teaching about his resurrection (20:17-19); but the religious leaders did. Because of his claims, they were almost as afraid of Jesus after his death as when he was alive. They tried to take every precaution that his body would remain in the tomb.
THE EMPTY TOMB WAS UNDENIABLE EVIDENCE
The Pharisees were so afraid of Jesus’ predictions about his resurrection that they made sure the tomb was thoroughly sealed and guarded. Because the tomb was hewn out of rock in the side of a hill, there was only one entrance. The tomb was sealed by stringing a cord across the stone that was rolled over the entrance.
The cord was sealed at each end with clay. But the religious leaders took a further precaution, asking that guards be placed at the tomb’s entrance. With such precautions, the only way the tomb could be empty would be for Jesus to rise from the dead. The Pharisees failed to understand that no rock, seal, guard, or army could prevent the Son of God from rising again.
BIBLE READING: Luke 24:1-12
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Very early on Sunday morning the women came to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone covering the entrance had been rolled aside. So they went in, but they couldn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. (Luke 24:1-3)
THE EYEWITNESS TESTIMONIES CONFIRM THE TRUTH OF THE RESURRECTION
The two angels (appearing as men “clothed in dazzling robes”) asked the women why they were looking in a tomb for someone who was alive. Often we run into people who are looking for God among the dead. They study the Bible as a mere historical document and go to church as if going to a memorial service. But Jesus is not among the dead-he lives! He reigns in the hearts of Christians, and he is the head of his church.
Do you look for Jesus among the living?
Do you expect him to be active in the world and in the church?
Look for signs of his power-they are all around you.
THE RESURRECTION IS AN ESSENTIAL TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY
Why is the Resurrection so important?
Because Christ was raised from the dead, we know that the kingdom of heaven has broken into human history. Our world is now headed for redemption, not disaster. God’s mighty power is at work destroying sin, creating new lives, and preparing us for Jesus’ second coming.
Because of the Resurrection, we know that death has been conquered, and we, too, will be raised from the dead to live forever with Christ.
The Resurrection gives authority to the church’s witness in the world. Look at the early evangelistic sermons in the book of Acts: the apostles’ most important message was the proclamation that Jesus Christ had been raised from the dead!
The Resurrection gives meaning to the church’s regular feast, the Lord’s Supper. Like the disciples on the Emmaus Road, we break bread with our risen Lord, who comes in power to save us.
The Resurrection helps us find meaning even in great tragedy. No matter what happens to us as we walk with the Lord, the Resurrection gives us hope for the future.
The Resurrection assures us that Christ is alive and ruling his kingdom. He is not legend; he is alive and real.
God’s power that brought Jesus back from the dead is available to us so that we can live for him in an evil world.
BIBLE READING: John 20:1-9
KEY BIBLE VERSE: The other disciple also went in, and he saw and believed-for until then they hadn’t realized that the Scriptures said he would rise from the dead. (John 20:8-9)
THE TRUTH OF THE RESURRECTION CAN WITHSTAND SERIOUS INQUIRY
People who hear about the Resurrection for the first time may need time before they can comprehend this amazing story. Like Mary and the disciples, they may pass through four stages of belief.
At first, they may think the story is a fabrication, impossible to believe (20:2).
Like Peter, they may check out the facts and still be puzzled about what happened (20:6).
Only when they encounter Jesus personally are they able to accept the fact of the Resurrection (20:16).
Then, as they commit themselves to the risen Lord and devote their lives to serving him, they begin to understand fully the reality of his presence with them (20:28).
THE RESURRECTION IS CONFIRMED BY THE SURPRISE OF THE DISCIPLES
As further proof that the disciples did not fabricate this story, we find that Peter and John were surprised that Jesus was not in the tomb. When John saw the grave clothes looking like an empty cocoon from which Jesus had emerged, he believed that Jesus had risen. It wasn’t until after they had seen the empty tomb that they remembered what the Scriptures and Jesus had said-he would die, but he would also rise again!
THE RESURRECTION ANSWERS MANY MORE QUESTIONS THAN IT RAISES
Jesus’ resurrection is the key to the Christian faith. Why?
Just as he said, Jesus rose from the dead. We can be confident, therefore, that he will accomplish all he has promised.
Jesus’ bodily resurrection shows us that the living Christ, not a false prophet or impostor, is ruler of God’s eternal kingdom.
We can be certain of our own resurrection because Jesus was resurrected. Death is not the end-there is future life.
The divine power that brought Jesus back to life is now available to us to bring our spiritually dead selves back to life.
The Resurrection is the basis for the church’s witness to the world.
THE TEACHING OF JESUS CHRIST WHAT DID JESUS TEACH WHILE HERE ON EARTH?
BIBLE READING: Matthew 4:12-25
KEY BIBLE VERSE: From then on, Jesus began to preach, “Turn from your sins and turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17)
JESUS CALLED PEOPLE TO REPENTANCE
Jesus started his ministry with the very word people had heard John the Baptist say: “Turn from your sins and turn to God.” The message is the same today as when Jesus and John gave it. Becoming a follower of Christ means turning away from our self-centeredness and “self” control and turning our life over to Christ’s direction and control.
The “kingdom of heaven” has the same meaning as the “kingdom of God” in Mark and Luke.
Matthew uses this phrase because the Jews, out of their intense reverence and respect, did not pronounce God’s name. The kingdom of heaven is still near because it has arrived in our hearts.
BIBLE READING: Matthew 5:1-20
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)
JESUS DEMANDED COMPLETE COMMITMENT FROM HIS HEARERS
Matthew 5-7 is called the Sermon on the Mount because Jesus gave it on a hillside near Capernaum. This “sermon” probably covered several days of preaching. In it, Jesus proclaimed his attitude toward the law. Position, authority, and money are not important in his kingdom-what matters is faithful obedience from the heart. The Sermon on the Mount challenged the proud and legalistic religious leaders of the day. It called them back to the messages of the Old Testament prophets who, like Jesus, taught that heartfelt obedience is more important than legalistic observance.
JESUS PREACHED THE VALUES OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
There are at least four ways to understand the Beatitudes:
They are a code of ethics for the disciples and a standard of conduct for all believers.
They contrast kingdom values (what is eternal) with worldly values (what is temporary).
They contrast the superficial “faith” of the Pharisees with the real faith Christ wants.
They show how the Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in the new kingdom. These Beatitudes are not multiple-choice-pick what you like and leave the rest. They must be taken as a whole. They describe what we should be like as Christ’s followers.
JESUS TAUGHT HIS FOLLOWERS TO LIVE FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD
With Jesus’ announcement that the kingdom was near (4:17), people were naturally asking, “How do I qualify to be in God’s kingdom?” Jesus said that God’s kingdom is organized differently from worldly kingdoms. In the kingdom of heaven, wealth and power and authority are unimportant. Kingdom people seek different blessings and benefits, and they have different attitudes.
Are your attitudes a carbon copy of the world’s selfishness, pride, and lust for power, or do they reflect the humility and self-sacrifice of Jesus, your King?
BIBLE READING: John 14:1-14
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
JESUS PROCLAIMED HIMSELF AS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD
This is one of the most basic and important passages in Scripture. How can we know the way to God? Only through Jesus. Jesus is the way because he is both God and man. By uniting our life with his, we are united with God. Trust Jesus to take you to the Father, and all the benefits of being God’s child will be yours.
BIBLE READING: John 11:17-44
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again.” (John 11:25)
JESUS PROCLAIMED AND PROVED THAT HE HAD POWER OVER DEATH
Jesus has power over life and death as well as power to forgive sins. This is because he is the Creator of life (John 14:6). He who is life can surely restore life. Whoever believes in Christ has a spiritual life that death cannot conquer or diminish in any way. When we realize his power and how wonderful his offer to us really is, how can we help but commit our life to him! To those of us who believe, what wonderful assurance and certainty we have: “I will live again, and you will, too”(14:19).
THE WORK OF JESUS CHRIST WHAT DID JESUS DO WHILE HE WAS HERE ON EARTH?
BIBLE READING: Matthew 1:18-25
KEY BIBLE VERSE: She will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)
JESUS ESTABLISHED THE WAY OF SALVATION FOR THE HUMAN RACE. JESUS MEANS “THE LORD SAVES.” JESUS CAME TO EARTH TO SAVE US BECAUSE WE CAN’T SAVE OURSELVES FROM SIN AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. NO MATTER HOW GOOD WE ARE, WE CAN’T ELIMINATE THE SINFUL NATURE PRESENT IN ALL OF US. ONLY JESUS CAN DO THAT. JESUS DIDN’T COME TO HELP PEOPLE SAVE THEMSELVES; HE CAME TO BE THEIR SAVIOR FROM THE POWER AND PENALTY OF SIN. THANK CHRIST FOR HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS FOR YOUR SIN, AND THEN ASK HIM TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE. YOUR NEW LIFE BEGINS AT THAT MOMENT.
BIBLE READING: Matthew 4:12-25
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Jesus traveled throughout Galilee teaching in the synagogues, preaching everywhere the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed people who had every kind of sickness and disease. (Matthew 4:23)
JESUS’ WORK TOUCHED PEOPLE’S LIVES AT EVERY LEVEL
Jesus was teaching, preaching, and healing. These were the three main aspects of his ministry.
Teaching shows Jesus’ concern for understanding; preaching shows his concern for commitment; and healing shows his concern for wholeness. His miracles of healing authenticated his teaching and preaching, proving that he truly was from God.
JESUS TAUGHT AND PREACHED WITH AUTHORITY
Jesus soon developed a powerful preaching ministry and often spoke in the synagogues. Most towns that had ten or more Jewish families had a synagogue. The building served as a religious gathering place on the Sabbath and as a school during the week. The leader of the synagogue was not a preacher as much as an administrator. His job was to find and invite rabbis to teach and preach. It was customary to invite visiting rabbis like Jesus to speak.
JESUS HEALED PEOPLE’S DISEASES
Jesus preached the gospel-the Good News-to everyone who wanted to hear it. The Good News is that the kingdom of heaven has come, that God is with us, and that he cares for us. Christ can heal us, not just of physical sickness, but of spiritual sickness as well. There’s no sin or problem too great or too small for him to handle. Jesus’ words were good news because they offered freedom, hope, peace of heart, and eternal life with God.
BIBLE READING: Mark 10:13-16
KEY BIBLE VERSE: He took the children into his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them. (Mark 10:16)
JESUS’ ACTIONS OVERTURNED THE WORLD’S PRIORITIES
Jesus was often criticized for spending too much time with the wrong people-children, tax collectors, and sinners (Matthew 9:11; Luke 15:1-2; 19:7). Some, including the disciples, thought Jesus should be spending more time with important leaders and the devout, because this was the way to improve his position and avoid criticism. But Jesus didn’t need to improve his position. He was God, and he wanted to speak to those who needed him most.
JESUS LOVED LITTLE CHILDREN
Adults are not as trusting as little children. To feel secure, all children need is a loving look and a gentle touch from someone who cares. Complete intellectual understanding is not one of their requirements. They believe us if they trust us. Jesus said that people should believe in him with this kind of childlike faith. We should not have to understand all the mysteries of the universe; it should be enough to know that God loves us and provides forgiveness for our sin. This doesn’t mean that we should be childish or immature, but that we should trust God with a child’s simplicity and receptivity.
OUR RESPONSE TO JESUS CHRIST WHAT DOES JESUS EXPECT FROM US?
BIBLE READING: Mark 3:7-19
KEY BIBLE VERSE: [Jesus] selected twelve of them to be his regular companions, calling them apostles. He sent them out to preach, and he gave them authority to cast out demons. (Mark 3:14-15)
JESUS EXPECTS WHOLEHEARTED OBEDIENCE FROM HIS FOLLOWERS
From the hundreds of people who followed him from place to place, Jesus chose twelve to be his apostles. Apostle means messenger or authorized representative. He did not choose these twelve to be his associates and companions because of their faith; their faith often faltered. He didn’t choose them because of their talent and ability; no one stood out with unusual ability. The disciples represented a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences, but apparently they had no more leadership potential than those who were not chosen.
The one characteristic they all shared was their willingness to obey Jesus. After Jesus’ ascension, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to carry out special roles in the growth of the early church. We should not disqualify ourselves from service to Christ because we do not have the expected credentials. Being a good disciple is simply a matter of following Jesus with a willing heart.
BIBLE READING: Luke 9:18-27
KEY BIBLE VERSE: [Jesus] said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
JESUS EXPECTS US TO DENY OURSELVES IN FOLLOWING HIM
People are willing to pay a high price for something they value. Is it any surprise that Jesus would demand this much commitment from his followers? There are at least three conditions that must be met by people who want to follow Jesus. We must be willing to deny self, to take up our crosses, and to follow him. Anything less is superficial lip service.
JESUS EXPECTS US TO IMITATE HIM
Christians follow their Lord by imitating his life and obeying his commands. To take up the cross meant to carry your own cross to the place where you would be killed. Many Galileans had been killed that way by the Romans. Applied to the disciples, it meant to identify completely with Christ’s message, even if it meant death. We must deny our selfish desires to use our time and money our own way and to choose our own direction in life without regard to Christ. Following Christ is costly now, but in the long run, it is well worth the pain and effort.
JESUS EXPECTS THE INVESTMENT OF OUR LIFE IN HIS SERVICE
If this present life is most important to you, you will do everything you can to protect it. You will not want to do anything that might endanger your safety, health, or comfort. By contrast, if following Jesus is most important, you may find yourself in unsafe, unhealthy, and uncomfortable places. You will risk death, but you will not fear it because you know that Jesus will raise you to eternal life. Nothing material can compensate for the loss of eternal life. Jesus’ disciples are not to use their lives on earth for their own pleasure-they should spend their lives serving God and people.
BIBLE READING: Luke 11:29-32
KEY BIBLE VERSE: The people of Nineveh, too, will rise up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah. And now someone greater than Jonah is here-and you refuse to repent. (Luke 11:32)
JESUS EXPECTS US TO REPENT OF OUR SINS
The cruel, warlike men of Nineveh, capital of Assyria, repented when Jonah preached to them-and Jonah did not even care about them. The pagan queen of the South (Sheba) praised the God of Israel when she heard Solomon’s wisdom, and Solomon was full of faults. By contrast, Jesus, the perfect Son of God, had come to people that he loved dearly-but they rejected him.
Thus God’s chosen people made themselves more liable to judgment than either a notoriously wicked nation or a powerful pagan queen. Compare Luke 10:12-15, where Jesus says the evil cities of Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon will be judged less harshly than the cities in Judea and Galilee that rejected Jesus’ message.
JESUS EXPECTS US TO ACT UPON THE KNOWLEDGE WE HAVE
The Ninevites and the queen of the South had turned to God with far less evidence than Jesus was giving his listeners-and far less than we have today. We have eyewitness reports of the risen Jesus, the continuing power of the Holy Spirit unleashed at Pentecost, easy access to the Bible, and knowledge of two thousand years of Christ’s acts through his church. With the knowledge and insight available to us, our response to Christ ought to be even more complete and wholehearted.
BIBLE READING: Galatians 2:11-21
KEY BIBLE VERSE: I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
JESUS EXPECTS US TO IDENTIFY WITH HIS DEATH
How have we been crucified with Christ? Legally, God looks at us as if we had died with Christ. Because our sins died with him, we are no longer condemned (Colossians 2:13-15). Relationally, we have become one with Christ, and his experiences are ours. Our Christian life began when, in unity with him, we died to our old life (Romans 6:5-11). In our daily life, we must regularly crucify sinful desires that keep us from following Christ. This too is a kind of dying with him (Luke 9:23-25).
JESUS EXPECTS US TO LIVE FOR HIM
The focus of Christianity is not dying, but living. Because we have been crucified with Christ, we have also been raised with him (Romans 6:5). Legally, we have been reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:19) and are free to grow into Christ’s likeness (Romans 8:29). And in our daily life, we have Christ’s resurrection power as we continue to fight sin (Ephesians 1:19-20). We are no longer alone, for Christ lives in us-he is our power for living and our hope for the future (Colossians 1:27).
BIBLE READING: Philippians 2:5-11
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. (Philippians 2:5)
JESUS EXPECTS US TO ADOPT A SERVANT’S ATTITUDE
Jesus Christ was humble, willing to give up his rights in order to obey God and serve people. Like Christ, we should have a servant’s attitude, serving out of love for God and for others, not out of guilt or fear. Remember, you can choose your attitude. You can approach life expecting to be served, or you can look for opportunities to serve others. (Mark 10:45 for more on Christ’s attitude of servanthood.)
JESUS EXPECTS OUR LIFE TO BE MARKED BY HIS HUMILITY
Often people excuse selfishness, pride, or evil by claiming their rights. They think, I can cheat on this test; after all, I deserve to pass this class, or I can spend all this money on myself-I worked hard for it, or I can get an abortion; I have a right to control my own body. But as believers, we should have a different attitude, one that enables us to lay aside our rights in order to serve others. If we say we follow Christ, we must also say we want to live as he lived. We should develop his attitude of humility as we serve, even when we are not likely to get recognition for our efforts. Are you selfishly clinging to your rights, or are you willing to serve?