Filed under: Bible Study, Church, Ministry Methods of Jesus
The Popular Savior Didn’t Work
The Personal Savior Did
Jesus was and is a personal Savior.
Not a celebrity Savior. Not a professional Savior.
You don’t need an appointment with Jesus. You won’t need to locate Jesus or travel to where He works because He’s never far away. He doesn’t maintain office hours and He isn’t limited to one location.
He’s mobile. He finds you and hangs around.
He’s very hands-on. He ministered to people individually in the New Testament and still does that today. Mass meetings weren’t His style. He spent most of His time teaching small groups of people. Often it was just the 12 disciples.
He drew big crowds but not on purpose. Even when surrounded by masses, He remained focused on individuals.
- He spoke to and healed the man born blind in Jerusalem.
- He healed the Centurion’s servant, and although He never saw or spoke directly to the Centurion or the servant, the healing sent a very personal message to the Centurion.
- He healed Peter’s mother-in-law while staying in Peter’s house. The place of healing can’t be more personal.
- Jesus touched a leper to signal a healing. That was seriously personal. Lepers were touch starved. It couldn’t have been more psychologically (personally) medicinal.
In some cases He took individuals away from the crowd to do His work.
- The deaf mute along the Sea of Galilee is a good example.
He was celebrated but His celebrity never influenced how He conducted His ministry. He could work quietly in the background or in the middle of a crowd. He maintained focus in all situations. When surrounded and pressed by onlookers, He managed to single out the needy person and minister to them individually.
Crowds were a barrier but not for Jesus. They got in the way of individuals seeking for Jesus.
- The woman who suffered with a medical problem for 12 years. The crowd was so problematic, her only option was to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment.
- The bed bound cripple carried by four friends who was barricaded from Jesus by the crowd.
- Zacchaeus whose short stature made him climb a tree just to get a glimpse of Jesus as He walked by.
The crowd isn’t an intermediary. In fact, salvation requires no intermediaries. Jesus doesn’t work from a distance. He doesn’t save in person but He always saves personally.
Evangelism Should Be Bold
Jesus epitomized the statement “Actions speak louder than words.”
He did say things, yes, and we hold His words dear but it was His actions that stimulated responses more than His words. It was John who alluded to this truth in the last verse of his Gospel.
And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. John 21:25
Note that John was focused on the actions of Jesus not His words. I’m sure John recorded everything Jesus said that we needed to hear, leaving nothing out but what he couldn’t record, because of the sheer volume, were the countless things Jesus did. John portrayed a “doing” Jesus not a talking head.
It is also interesting to note that much of what Jesus did was done quietly in the background, without commentary. He didn’t do things to draw attention to himself. He was bold not noisy.
Consider the following: Read more
Filed under: Christian Living, Evangelism, Ministry Methods of Jesus
Jesus Is To Be Recognized
Every Christmas we “celebrate” the birth of Jesus or at least we say we do but are we really celebrating or just memorializing?
We talk about Jesus in the past tense, like He used to be here but not now. The timing of His birth, where He was born and how desperate the circumstances were is the focus. We talk about it, play act it and build replicas of it but all of that looks back to a time in the past. A time that most of us can’t relate too.
Is that how we celebrate birthdays? We look at a person’s baby pictures and talk only about the circumstances of their birth, and we speak of them only in the third person, as if they aren’t present or living. That makes a great memorial, not a birthday celebration.
Christmas today paints the picture of the Jesus that was then. The question is where is He now? He accomplished a lot in the few years following His birth but is He finished? Was His impact only for that day and time?
When we celebrate the birth of Jesus two important facts should influence how we plan the party:
- One, He rose from the dead. He is out of the grave not in it.
- Two, He is a person. He has personal attributes. He does personal things, still.
So, if He loved people, felt their pain, communicated with them, connected with them and saved them 2000 years ago shouldn’t we expect Him to do the same now, even, and especially, at His birthday?
He said He came to seek and to save those who are lost then, and there is no reason to think His purpose has changed. He hasn’t stopped doing what He originally came to do.
So, instead of focusing on the Christmas story of 2000 years ago, let’s talk about the one that is still being written today. That focus will help us see that Jesus is doing the same thing now that He was doing then. The only change in today’s story is geographical. Read more
Filed under: Book Reviews, Love Wins, Ministry Methods of Jesus
There Are Rocks Everywhere
This chapter of Love Wins is classic Rob.
He takes an event that Christians accept and refer to occasionally – but are afraid to really think about – and expands on it, bringing it into greater focus. Not fearing what the Bible implies – in spite of being conditioned to jump no higher than the rim of the jar – Rob ventures into the no-go zone, following the obvious to its logical end.
In this case he is talking about a rock. One that figured briefly but significantly in the life of Israel during the Exodus.
Wandering through the desert, Israel became thirty and had no water to drink. Under God’s instruction Moses took his staff and, with all the people looking on, hit a rock. And out came water. Enough water to quench the thirst of an entire nation.
It was a miracle in more ways than one and it involved a rock.
We know about Moses’ staff. It became a snake, ate other snakes – that were previously staffs – and caused all kinds of pestilence when pointed in the right direction. It was the emblem of Moses authority and was prominent in the Exodus story…
But the Rock?
The Rock, about which little was said in the Old Testament, stands out because Paul makes reference to it in the New and gives it a very special place in theology. He never mentions the staff but the no-name, nondescript rock, he says, was Christ! And Rob, taking his cue from Paul’s remark, goes on to suggest these rocks are everywhere. Read more
Filed under: Evangelism, Ministry Methods of Jesus
Three Gospels report an incident in which a young man approaches Jesus and asks specifically how he could inherit eternal life. Jesus’ response is a bit confusing and makes it difficult – not impossible – to achieve a clear interpretation. Because of the confusion this passage is often ignored or misrepresented.
This post is an attempt to bring sense to an otherwise perplexing situation.
The young man, who happened to be of the ruling class and therefore wealthy, approaches Jesus (Mark says he ran to Jesus and knelt) asking how he might inherit eternal life.
It’s a good question. We have to give him high marks just for asking.
The interesting thing is, Jesus did not convulsively respond with the standard “confess your sinfulness and trust in me” answer.
Instead, in this situation, He attempted to explore the heart of this young man and in the conversation that followed, Jesus said three things that cause us to raise our eyebrows:
- One, He asked “why do you call me good,” making the point that only God was good, seemingly insinuating that He was neither good nor God.
- Two, He told the man eternal life could be entered by keeping the commandments.
- Three, He directed the man to sell everything he owned and give the proceeds to the poor.
Obviously, these remarks don’t gel with our understanding of truth. They really make us wonder: Read more