“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many,” Matthew 20:28.
“Even as” has the connotation that whatever one is doing, it parallels something or someone else. Christ is definitely an impeccable example to follow.
Jesus proclaimed, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). When we walk in His Light, there is no way we can not be good examples. Sounds like a great deal with an awesome guarantee. Follow Him, and you will be an example to follow. Paul invited his disciples to follow him as he followed Christ. We have many little and big people hanging onto our shirt tails. If we are walking in Jesus’ Light, they can’t go wrong.
When I was a child, I thought my grandfather, Allen Riley, was God. I followed him everywhere. He was a four foot eleven inch, Irish leprechaun with curly black eyebrows across his forehead. I basically worshiped him. He could do no wrong. Then, I grew up and could easily rest my arm on his shoulder, but he never stopped being ten feet tall. Many people will excel or fall because of their example. If our example is a reflection of Jesus, those who follow us can’t go astray as they follow Jesus in us.
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9:23, 24).
When we look down the path of a Christian’s life, we see two sets of footprints, one behind the other. When there’s only one set of prints, Jesus is carrying somebody on His shoulders.
2 Peter 1:16-19
“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty,” 2 Peter 1:16.
God elevated the experience of Jesus’ transfiguration when He announced from Heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 17:5).
Peter did not understand the entire situation at that time, but later, when the Holy Spirit enlightened his mind, he understood that, if a man will listen as God speaks to his heart through the Word, he will see Jesus Christ clearly, a more sure word of prophecy, Creator—the Shekinah glory of God—the Light, the Comforter.
Like a dim light shining in a dark room, the Old Testament presented Christ clearly enough to know that man is a sinner. Then, when He walked among us in the New Testament Gospels, it was like the sun had risen and shined in the window, paling the dim light of the Old Testament. We saw His glory as of the Only begotten of the Father, and He became our standard of measurement to see that we fall far short of God’s glory. But, better than that, when the day star arose in our own hearts, we saw clearly that He didn’t come to condemn us with the schoolmaster—the Law. He came to save us from the awful consequences of our sin. We don’t have to concentrate on how evil we are. In Hebrews 10:5, we see how much God really loves us and cleansed us for His fellowship. Hebrews 4:12 teaches that God’s Word does spiritual cataract surgery on us, and then in verse 13 we can be quiet and revel in His glory.
If you are an eyewitness of Jesus’ majesty in your life, no one on earth can say you haven’t seen what you saw (John 14:21).
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man,” Hebrews 2:9.
The idea that Jesus has already paid for the sins of every human being that would ever exist on earth is an amazing concept. Even stubborn, prideful people who reject God’s gift and go to hell, go there with their sins paid for.
God says our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. There is no way we could be a perfect sacrifice. Therefore, God sent His Son, born of a woman, to be that perfect sacrifice. When Jesus went to the cross, He was receiving punishment from the Father and transferring it to the mind of God inside that body. Therefore, God, once for all time, for all people, paid for all our sin. “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; . . . For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified (Heb. 10:10, 12, 14).
Since God paid for all sin, He certainly has the right to dictate the terms by which we can receive that gift. All we have to do is believe that Jesus died for our sins, confess that we are sinners, repent and ask God to forgive and give us His gift. He is standing there with outstretched arms offering free salvation to everybody. It cost man nothing, but it cost God the supreme sacrifice, His only begotten Son.
It is so amazing, how deep His love is for mankind. Are you thankful?
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him,” Deuteronomy 18:19.
Political campaign strategists may not be quick to admit it, but deep down, when it comes to winning elections, sometimes there is more concern about the candidate’s image and perception than the actual content of his message. During the campaign, a candidate might say many things to persuade voters and will make many promises, but I’m not sure if any candidate has ever fulfilled every promise made during a campaign. It is human nature to promote ourselves and our own agendas to preserve our own well-beings and legacies. That is why, when it comes to truth and eternity, we need a messenger—a prophet—who is above human nature and who actually follows through on his word.
God promised His Son would be a true prophet, not a shady politician. Our verses state that the Messiah would speak the words of God and anyone who did not listen and obey His word would be held accountable for his own soul. Every word Jesus speaks is true and will come to pass, therefore He is trustworthy and authoritative. Because I know myself and my own tendency to self-promote, I sometimes find myself skeptical of other people and take their words lightly. That is not always a bad habit when dealing with mere humans, but when it comes to Jesus, every word of His is right and true and brings life and death. Take Jesus at His word, listen and obey. Obedience brings joy and abundant life. Disobedience brings heartache and chastisement.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you take Jesus at His word today?
“And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs,” Mark 7:28.
One day during Jesus’ earthly ministry, a Gentile woman humbly came to Jesus begging Him to heal her daughter who was demon possessed. Jesus responded with a statement meant to test her faith, instructing her that His immediate task was to enlighten and correct the wayward Jews and that it was not time to begin His ministry to the Gentiles. “Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs” (Mark 7:27). The woman’s response was remarkably humble and persistent. She said, “Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs” (verse 28). When Jesus saw the woman’s faith, He honored her request and healed her daughter. Jesus was focused on the task at hand but was available to extend grace and healing to this woman. She believed He had the power to heal, and she persisted in faith.
We have all been in situations that seemed hopeless. Like the distraught Syrophoenician woman, we must come to the realization that we are absolutely helpless to control our circumstances and in desperate need of God’s intervention. Similarly, we should come to Him with humble persistence, acknowledging that it would only take a few “crumbs” (verse 28) of God’s power to deliver us in our times of need. Jesus honors the simple, persistent faith of those in need.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you come to God today in simple, persistent faith?
“And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God,” Luke 6:12.
What if your boss gave you an assignment and told you the project was so important that if you failed, the entire company would go under? Talk about pressure! If it were me, I would probably spend a great deal of time with my boss, trying to understand his vision for the project, asking wisdom and advice from him about how to be successful and asking his opinion about which employees I should work with to guarantee the success of the venture.
The assignment Jesus received from the Father was critical to the success of God’s redemptive plan for the world. Not only was Jesus required to follow God’s plan that led Him to suffer the agony of Calvary, but also He was given the task of leaving His church in capable hands. What did Jesus do? He prayed. The Son of God spent hours and hours in prayer with God the Father. Jesus needed quality time with His Father to align His purpose with God’s purpose and to be filled with power and conviction to follow through. That is what prayer is. It is a time to communicate with the Father and find vigor and passion to fulfill the plans He has for us, partnering with Him and laying our own plans aside.
JUST A THOUGHT – Will you partner with God in prayer today?
“For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard,” Acts 4:20.
Often persecution is the main difference between those who witness for Christ and those who do not. In Acts 5:40-42, the apostles were beaten for disobeying the laws of the council to stop preaching the gospel in Jesus name. “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” (Acts 5:41).
Here we see people joyful to suffer for Christ, strange behavior. They put their feet down and obeyed God instead of people. That felt good inside, even though outside it hurt something awful.
In Revelation 6:9, souls under the altar are martyred for two things, the Word of God and for the testimony which they held. Millions of Gentile Christians die in the last half of the Tribulation Period for two things—the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God (Rev. 7:9, 14; 20:4). In Acts 8:4, after the great persecution against the church, “they . . . went every where preaching the word.”
It appears that, when a Christian has nothing of the world left to attract his attention, his heart turns to Jesus and he does what he was saved to do (Heb. 2:4; 12:1, 2). Jesus was crucified for the joy that was set before Him because He was bringing many sons to glory. Watching Jesus suffer on the cross was enough for the apostle John to quit worrying about his position in the kingdom and become a soul-winner.
All of the apostles were martyred in heinous ways for two things, their witness and for the Word of God. Are we compelled? Jesus said to the apathetic Laodicean church, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten” (Rev. 3:19).
JUST A THOUGHT – It seems the things of earth must grow strangely dim before we can see the souls of mankind running pell-mell down the broadway to hell.
Robert A. Brock
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son,” Colossians 1:13.
Light repels darkness. Let there be Light! Throughout the history of man, God has likened Christ’s presence to light. The Gentiles will come to your light. The Old Testament closes with the promise, “The Sun of righteousness [shall] arise with healing in his wings” (Malachi 4:2). In the New Testament, we see Jesus the Light of the world, calling out follow Me and you won’t walk in darkness.
Jesus took Peter, James and John upon the mountain of transfiguration. Mark states, “His raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow” (Mark 9:3). Open the first page of the Revelation. “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire” (Rev. 1:14).
“And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; . . . his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (verses 15, 16). In the last pages of Revelation one finds the city of light, no need for light, the Lamb is the Light thereof. Paul taught, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day” (1 Thess. 5:5).
Christians are the offspring of eternal Light. Christ’s kingdom living in the children of Light casts out the darkness of fear and replaces it with the light of His love (Matt. 5:14-16).
Moses had just spent thirty days with God on the mountain and he had to put a vail on his head to talk to the people of Israel without frightening them. Get out of your prayer closet and shine on.
JUST A THOUGHT – Each of you can depend upon the Light of the world, Jesus.
Robert A. Brock
“Ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you,” Colossians 1:5, 6.
Jesus had just preached the parable of the sower and the four kinds of ears that hear the Word of God. One would assume that the apostles got the message, since Jesus had told them that the truth of the kingdom was for their ears. Then, just a few hours later in a storm, their boat was filled to sinking. They roused Jesus from sleep and accused Him of not caring that they were about to die. His word rebuked the wind, and the sea was immediately calm. The apostles were amazed and revealed their lack of understanding that they were in the boat with the Creator of the universe. Jesus shed light on their fears, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). Their reply revealed their lack of belief in His Word. “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (verse 41).
Believing God’s Word matures the Christian to simply take Him at His word. Jesus said to Satan that, if a person really believes God’s Word, he is actually living life on a higher plain.
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands” (Isa. 55:11, 12). God’s Word can do surgery on the Christian and it can heal. Dive in and let it change your life and take away all your fear. His Word claims that He has got your back, even in the worst storms of life.
JUST A THOUGHT – Saved people are expected to be fruit bearers.
Robert A. Brock
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