Sunday, July 9, 2017

Inside Jesus' Relationships



Jesus' relationship with the large crowds that followed him

Jesus hung around the large crowds that followed him. Jesus had compassion for them, fed them, healed their sick, and taught them.¹

Jesus' relationship with the twelve apostles

Jesus gathered with the twelve apostles in a secluded place to rest (Mark 6:30-32). Jesus ate his last meal and ushered in the New Covenant with the twelve apostles (Mat. 26:20, 26-30; Mark 14:12, 17, 22-26; ). Jesus remained with the twelve until he was taken by a large crowd that was sent by the chief priests, and elders (Mat. 26:36, 45-47).

Jesus' more intimate relationship with Peter, James, and John

Jesus had a closer relationship with Peter, James, and John than he did with the other apostles. He took them up with him to a mountain, and they saw Jesus transfigured; they saw the vision; and heard the voice out of the clouds (Mat. 17:1-9). He took Peter, James, and John with him to pray before being turned over to the chief priest and elders (Mat. 26:36-39; Mark 14:32-42).

Jesus' closest friend, the Apostle John

Of Jesus' apostles, and contemporaries, John had the most intimate relationship with Jesus. It was John who leaned on Jesus' chest, and asked who it was that would betray him (John 13:23-25). It was John to whom Jesus gave the responsibility of taking care of his mother (John 19:26-27).² It was John who ran to the tomb first and stooped in to see only Jesus' garments, and facecloth (John 20:1-10).

Jesus' most intimate relationship of all with God the Father

Jesus most intimate relationship with the Father, is a mystery. The Father is revealed only in and through Jesus. Jesus said, "no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him (Mat. 11:27). Jesus said to Thomas, " I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; from now on you know him, and have seen him" (John 14:6-7). Phillip then asked Jesus' to show him, and the other apostles the Father. Jesus replied, "He who has seen me, has seen the Father. Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me? (John 14:9-10). 

Jesus told the Jews, "I and the Father are one" and "the Father is in me, and I in the Father" (John 10:30, 38).   

Eternal life is about relationship. It's knowing the only true God, and Jesus the Christ (John 17:3). The good news is that God in Christ has embraced us all, and his desire is to share his life with us forevermore. 







¹In one account Jesus fed over five thousand men, women, and children (Mat. 14:13-21; Mark 6:33-44; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:1-14); in another instance over four thousand men, women and children. Some, if not all of the crowd, stayed with Jesus three days (Mat. 15:29-38; Mark 8:1-9). The number three is significant, and seems to indicate a fulfillment or completion. Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, before being vomited out to complete his mission (Jonah 1:17; 2:10). Jesus prayed three times in the Garden of Gethsemane before he was turned over to the high priest and falsely accused (Mat. 26:36-68). Jesus was in the heart of the tomb for three days, and three nights before being raised to new life (Mat. 12:40). Most importantly, God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

²Some argue it's someone other than the Apostle John, but that argument is without merit.   






Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Irresistible God



Brad is the son-in-law of my next door neighbor, and  he cuts my neighbor's grass. For the last two, or three years, Brad has been cutting the grass at the margin of my property. He cuts a row of grass with his zero-turn lawn mower as he drives past my house to the corner of the street, and then cuts another row of grass on his return to my neighbor's house.  I asked Brad if my neighbor was paying him to cut my grass. He laughed. and said, he had to go past my house to cut the grass on the corner of the street, so it wasn't a big deal. But this time Brad has gone too far. He's gone out of his way to cut the grass along the side of my house about three hundred feet in one direction, and then another three hundred feet back! No doubt Brad is a darn good businessman. He's made himself very easy to hire; but isn't there something more going on? Isn't this God? Knowingly or unknowingly, isn't Brad participating in the life of Christ? Quoting the prophet Joel, the apostle Peter tells us that in the last days, God will pour out his Spirit on all flesh (Acts 2:17). Kindness, goodness, and love, are virtues that don't exist outside of God.

How does God do it? God has found a way to us in the person of Jesus, the Christ. He has pulled us into himself. In the incarnation (in flesh), and the atonement (at-one-ment), God has made himself one with us. God hasn't left us alone. God exists in the world. He lives in people, not in buildings (Acts 7:48;17:24; Acts 25:19; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Gal. 2:20). We are a new creation in Christ Jesus! Yes, the good news is that the whole creation has been made new! Obviously, it hasn't been fully manifested, but Jesus said, "It is finished! (John 19:28-30). In saying, it is finished, Jesus has fulfilled the Scriptures. He has filled life to the full! and he has destroyed death (John 10:10; 11:25-26). So when we see the virtues of God, we're seeing the kingdom of God being manifested on earth as it is in heaven. We're seeing Jesus, living his life, by grace, in the lives of God's children, human beings, and brothers and sisters of Jesus (Acts 17:28-29).  










Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Jesus, Our Perfect Prayer

Jesus himself is the embodiment of perfect prayer. He is both our High Priest, and the Lamb without blemish; the sinless Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). When Isaac asked his father, Abraham, "Where is the lamb for the offering?" Father Abraham proclaimed, "God will provide for himself the lamb for the offering (Gen. 22:7-8), and he has. You see "Before Abraham was, I am," said Jesus (John 8:58).

Jesus has perfect faith, and perfect obedience. It's not enough to say that he is God and man. No, he in himself, is the union of God and humankind, and therefore is a perfect prayer. He is perfect in word, because he is the Living Word (John 1:1-4, 14). He is perfect in truth, because he himself is Truth (John 14:6), and nothing but living words, and life-giving truth proceed from him. He is perfect in deed, fully obedient to the Father, and to his calling, on our behalf.

We pray because we are united to God in Christ.We join in the life of Christ. Prayer is our participation in the life of Christ. We give thanks. We make petition. We meditate, and listen; but it doesn't stop there. Our participation is our involvement, by grace, in the life of God, through Christ. Prayer happens in our work, and in our hobbies. Prayer happens in our re-creation. We celebrate our union, and we partake of communion with God, in Christ, all by his grace. Prayer, is our joyous celebration of our union with God, in Christ Jesus.  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Man the Image, and Glory of God

There is union, and unity within the human race. Not only did God make us in his image, and likeness, after the God kind (Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1; 9:6), but Jesus himself said, "In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you (John 14:20 NASB).

God has incorporated himself into us, and through him, we have been intertwined into one another. God is an us being (Gen. 1:26), and in the person of Christ Jesus, he has included humanity in his "usness."

We have not been left out, or left alone to go it alone. We are all included in the three-person being of God - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul wrote, "For in him we live, and move, and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are his children.' Being then the children of God..." (Acts 17:28-29). Paul was not speaking to believing Christians, but to idol worshipers - people who worshiped many gods, and did not know the three-person-True- God. Paul goes on to tell these people, that they should change their mind about who they worship, and how they worship. We are called to do the same thing - to acknowledge what's already true and to live in that reality.  


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