WEEK TWO OF FIVE IN THE SERIES: “CHRISTIANITY FROM A FRESH PERSPECTIVE”
If we are going to take a fresh look at Christianity, then we must begin with how we view the One we worship and the message he came to proclaim.
Over the last 4 years I’ve had the opportunity to take my own fresh look. And although I met Jesus at 4 years old (and am now 58), and have been walking with him since – what I’m discovering has radically changed my life and walk. Even if you have walked with Jesus many years, please join me in taking a fresh look at this One who came to earth 2000 years ago for the purpose of restoring a relationship between God and man.
For those of us who’ve walked with Jesus any length of time, we can become immune to that which once captivated us. So before I begin, let me pray.
“Lord, protect us from boredom and from thinking “I already know this.” Rather, give us the heart of a child to see you from young eyes. Remove any hardening of the heart and any staleness. Breath your fresh, living Spirit upon these words so as we read them, we would we feel your wind blow life onto any parched ground. And give us a fresh longing to know you in all your majesty. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
WHO IS JESUS?
John the Baptist, a man sent from God to prepare the people for Jesus’ coming, described Jesus in John 1 in this way:
- The only life-giving, creative Word – whose very words powerfully spoke the world into existence, and who continually speaks life into his creation
- God of very God over all life and creation
- The only Light, so powerfully bright it quenches the blackest darkness in universe and heart
- One so great he could demand allegiance, yet chose not to force himself, accepting the rejection of his very own people
- The One who lovingly embraces any who come and receive Him, granting them the honor of becoming part of his grand family – re-birthing them not because of any man’s decision, but by His Father’s decree
- One so limitless, but yet chose to subject himself to the confines of human birth and existence. And living with us, among us – he allows humanity to see and touch glory
- The One who fills our lives with his fullness, giving us the ability to experience abundant and overflowing grace and truth (Greek: kindness and reality)
- The One who in making himself known, revealed God
- The Lord (master); so perfect and flawless – yet he chose to sacrifice himself to pay the penalty due for the rebellion of his subjects
- The One the Spirit of God descended upon at his baptism, thereby God declaring him “God’s Chosen One”
- The One who fills us (his children) with that same Spirit (John 16:1-16 NLT; Romans 8:11 ESV)
Meditate on John’s description of Jesus. Don’t quickly brush by him. Then ask yourself: Do I recognize Him as he truly is – the One full of power and might, life and light, grace and truth – all things we desperately need to live? Do I act in a way that represents such great power, might, glory, and grace truthfully to my world?
WHY DID JESUS COME?
Luke 4, (especially verses 18-21). After being baptized, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert alone with God, also being tempted by Satan. The Bible says, after the 40 days, he returned to his hometown, Nazareth, filled with the Spirit. He entered the Synagogue on the Sabbath (the day of worship for Jews), which was his custom, and was given the opportunity to read the scriptures and then teach those who’d gathered.
As Jesus read and spoke from Isaiah 61, he proclaimed why he came to earth:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. (emphasis mine)
Do we see Jesus’ heart in coming to earth? Do we believe and long for the world to experience what was most on his heart, or do we respond as those did that day “He’s a good man with amazing words!”
Do we view Jesus as One with authority and power able to release those held captive, to set the oppressed free, and cause the blind (in life and in spirit) to see? Or do we act as though he is only “Joseph’s son”?
As I look at these few verses, and there are so many more, I’m struck with three things:
- I don’t really see Jesus as he is, and want to.
- I don’t live as though I believe he has the power today to release those held captive, set the oppressed free, and make the blind to see, through me.
- If I intimately knew Jesus as John did, and lived as though Jesus were who he claimed to be, my life and the world around me would be transformed.
Lord Jesus, please change my heart and mind. Grant me the ability to not only see you with fresh eyes, but to be transformed by knowing you. May I become your “skin” so as to become freedom and healing to a dark, imprisoned, hopelessly blind world. In Jesus’ name, amen.
So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. John 8:36 (NLT)
With great joy because of the message of the Gospel,