The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans )
1. What do the words "Jesus Christ" mean to you?
Today, the words "Jesus Christ" are most frequently used as swear words. People use them in order to vent their anger or frustration.
To some people, the words "Jesus Christ" are an embarrassment. To mention His name at a party or at work is a sure conversation-stopper. If you mention His name, people will accuse you of being a religious fanatic.
2. Why does bringing up the word "Jesus" make so many people uncomfortable?
You know if Jesus had been a bad man, or had been a mass murderer or a Don Juan, we could understand the negative reaction that some people have towards Him. However, Jesus was nothing of the kind. He was the most dynamic, attractive, and genuinely good human beings who has ever lived.
3. Jesus has made the biggest impact upon the world than anyone else.
One man said: "Jesus was the greatest religious genius that ever lived. His beauty is eternal, and his reign shall never end. Jesus is in every respect unique, and nothing can be compared with him. All history is incomprehensible without Jesus Christ."
Jesus has not only made the biggest impact upon the world than anyone else; He can make the biggest impact upon your life as well.
SEVERAL POINTS ON THE LIFE OF JESUS
I. WHO IS JESUS?
1. The Jesus who meets us in the pages of the four Gospels is very different from the picture many of us have of Him. When we observe the Gospels, we notice that Jesus is nothing like the "gentle Jesus meek and mild" of the children's stories.
(1) Jesus is full of love and compassion and He demonstrates His love for mankind time and time again. However, some people feel that Jesus was the kind of person who was always gentle and meek and never stood up against the things that were contrary to the Will of God.
(2) But when we look in the Bible, we see a man who not only took time to nurture and love the little children, but He also was a man who made a whip out of cords and drove all of the corrupt money changers out of the temple courts. We also see a man who stood up against the false teachings of the religious leaders of His day.
(3) We see a man who loved people so much that He confronted their sin to help them have a better relationship with God. He once told an adulterators women to "go your way and from now on sin no more" (John 8). There is no doubt that Jesus was gentle and meek, however, He was also very direct and stood up for the truth.
2. Likewise, Jesus is not the miserable holy man who never laughs. He is not the fearsome judge who watches to see if we are enjoying ourselves and then tells us to stop. Nor is He the lifeless figure in the stained-glass window. Jesus is radiantly alive and loves each and every one of us.
3. There is a great deal we would like to know about Jesus that we are simply not told. We do not even know what He looked like. He was a Palestinian Jew, and as such the color of His skin would be olive, and His eyes brown. Palestinian Jews had black hair and kept it carefully groomed. They valued a full beard. He wore a sleeveless undergarment with a girdle, the customary cloak and sandals, and carried a staff on journeys. That is all we know about His appearance or can guess with confidence.
4. His mother tongue was
Aramaic, a dialect of Hebrew, which He would have spoken with a
northern accent common to
5. Jesus is the Savior who rescues mankind from sin.
Loved ones, at one time we all were drowning in our sins. We were dying of a serious illness called sin. But on one glories day, Jesus rescued us from our sins.
Many great rescue attempts have been completed successfully during the history of this country, yet they all pale in comparison to the greatest rescue of all - the saving of mankind by God. Mankind found itself lost in life, held hostage by evil, helpless and hopeless. Jesus risked Himself - even gave His life - to rescue mankind. His is the greatest of all acts.
6. If someone ever asks you, "Who Is Jesus Christ," tell them that Jesus is the Son of the living God who came to rescue mankind from their sins. Paul tells us that Jesus "gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age…" (Gal. 1:4). Jesus is the Great Rescuer!
II. WHAT MAKES JESUS SO GREAT AND SET APART FROM OTHER RELIGIOUS LEADERS?
1. Jesus’ Teachings Sets Him Apart From Other Religious Leaders
No one in the history of the world has paralleled to the quality, the power, and the authority of the teaching of Jesus.
(1) Nobody has been able to show any evil contained within it.
(2) Nobody has been able to show any good that is not contained with it.
(3) Nobody has been able to surpass it.
In the Bible, people were amazed with Jesus’ teaching.
"No one ever spoke the way this man does..." said the soldiers who had been sent to arrest Jesus (John ).
"When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law" (Matt. -29).
Back in the first century, the people were astonished and amazed with His teaching, and people are still amazed today.
2. Jesus’ Lifestyle Sets Him Apart From Other Religious Leaders
Jesus’ teaching, the highest ever given, was backed up by a flawless character. In fact, Jesus’ lifestyle was so flawless, that His disciples were convinced that He was without sin and moral flaw. They wrote about His spectacular life style:
"He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth. When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats" (1 Peter ).
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).
Jesus practiced what He preached.
(1) He not only taught people to love their enemies; He did it. During His crucifixion, Jesus looked at His enemies and said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke ).
(2) He not only claimed that the highest thing a man could do for his friends was to lay down His life; He did it (John ).
3. Jesus’ Miracles Sets Him Apart From Other Religious Leaders
In the Bible, we read that Jesus performed about 35 different miracles. He did things like change water into wine, calm a storm, raise the dead, and cure people of their diseases.
Why did Jesus heal people?
(1) He healed people to confirm His Word (Mark ).
"Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His word by the signs that accompanied it" (Mark ).
(2) Jesus healed out of compassion.
On one occasion a man with leprosy came to Jesus and got on His knees and begged him "to make him clean." "Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. I am willing, He said. Be clean" (Mark )
Jesus is still healing people today. Whatever disease you may be struggling with; don't give up; Jesus can heal you.
"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours" (Mark -24).
4. Jesus’ Fulfillment Of Prophecy Sets Him Apart From Other Religious Leaders
The Bible records over three hundred prophecies that Jesus fulfilled!
5. Jesus’ Claims Sets Him Apart From Other Religious Leaders
Jesus is different from other religious leaders such as Buddha, Mohammed, and Confucius, because Jesus claimed to be God and these other teachers did not. Jesus claims were identifying Him as more than just a prophet or teacher. He made claims to deity.
"I and the Father are one" (John ).
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1).
"Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen" (Romans 9:5).
"...while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ..." (Titus 2:13).
Jesus is theos "God!" Since Jesus is God, we can put all of our trust and faith in Him.
III. JESUS LIVED A LIFE OF LOVE.
1. Jesus' whole life and ministry were bathed in love, tireless, outgoing unselfish love.
He loved His friends.
(a) He loved them even though at times they disappointed Him
(like the time they couldn't stay awake and keep watch while Jesus
prayed in the garden of Gethsemane - Mk. 14:37).
He loved them even though at times they denied even knowing Him (like Peter).
(b) Despite His friend’s lack of perfection and devotion, Jesus loved them with every fiber of His being. For John 13:1 says that Jesus "loved them to the end."
(c) How much love and devotion do you extend to your friends? Do you love them despite their shortcomings? Are you loyal to them? Do you treasure them the way Jesus treasured His friends? His example should inspire us to shower more love to our friends.
He loved the sick.
(a) On one occasion, He touched a man with leprosy and made Him clean (Mt. 8:3). How many of you purposely and knowingly reached out and hugged or touched a man or a women who has AIDS. By Him touching a man with leprosy, would be like us touching a person with AIDS. Jesus reached out to the sick, dying, and the diseased ridden people.
(b) How long has it been since you have visited, hugged, and encouraged someone who is ill? What kind of sacrifices do you make to reach out to those who are in need and afflicted with illnesses? My friends Jesus' example should invigorate us to get out of our seats and spread our love to those in need.
He loved the unlovable and taught His disciples to do the same.
"You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? "And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. -48).
(1) The one sentence that glows from this passage is the one that says, "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?" You see it is easy to love those who love you back, but the Lord is telling us that we are to love those who do not love us back. We are to love even our enemies.
(2) If we are going to follow the Word of God, we have a choice to make. Are we going to love or hate our enemies?
(3) Even though Jesus endured many blows from His enemies, He never stopped loving them. He chose to love the unlovable and we must do the same.
2. The love Jesus taught, the love He exhibited, was to be the supreme hallmark of His disciples.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John -35).
3. Tragically, we as His followers have fallen short of such love. Yet, it is never too late to start christening ourselves with the characteristic of love. Jesus actually did love with the highest love of all. He loved, not some of the time; all of the time. Not some people; but all people. That is what Jesus was and is like.
IV. JESUS LIVED A LIFE OF OBEDIENCE.
1. I think that John sums up the obedient life of Jesus.
Jesus said, "…for I always do what pleases him."
2. Jesus left the comfort of heaven to come to earth to fulfill His Father's will.
Even though Jesus was the Lord of Lords, the king of kings, the savior of the world, He still humbled Himself and became obedient to His Father. He came to earth as a servant although He had every right to come as a sovereign.
3. Every day that He walked this earth, He lived a life of obedience. He submitted to the will of His father, and He gave His father the very best He had to offer. Jesus died on the cross not only to save mankind from their sins, but He died to please His father. He loved His father so much that He was willing to go to the cross in order to glorify Him.
"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work" (John ).
4. We wonder how many of you reading these words are giving your hearts and lives to the will and purpose of God? How many of you are giving your total allegiance and obedience to the true and living God? How many of you are taking up your cross and following Jesus' example of servanthood and obedience?
5. Loved ones, today, we should all make a covenant before our God and before our brothers and sisters in Christ, that pledges to set our own wills aside and press on to do the will of our Father. We need to start devoting our full attention to fulfilling the desires of God and stop devoting our full attention to fulfilling our own wants and needs.
Our covenant should read: "Our food is to do the will of Him who sent us and to finish His work!"
1. What makes Jesus so great and set apart from other religious leaders?
Jesus' teaching, lifestyle, miracles, fulfillment of prophecy and His claims make Him great and set apart from other religious leaders.
2. When we sort through the Gospels, we marvel at the life that Jesus led. He was loving and He was obedient.
3. We would like to encourage you to read through the Gospels and discover for yourself what Jesus was like. When you do, we promise that you will admire, appreciate, and love Him more and more.
4. As we said earlier, Jesus is the great rescuer, and He can rescue you from your sins and give you eternal life. He can also rescue you from other things as well. He can rescue you from your burdens, your illnesses, your depression, your anger, and sadness. Whatever you are struggling with, He can help.
He is reaching out to you with the words: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matt. -30).
5. Friends, the great
rescuer is here for you. If you would like to come to Him, please visit
a congregation of the churches of Christ and allow them to assist you
in your obedience.