Thursday, January 25, 2007

King and Servant

One of the things I find amazing about Jesus is how he would honestly admit that he is the rightful ruler of the universe, and take a humble place as servant.

In John's Gospel chapter 21 (which I finished reading through this morning) Jesus presents himself as the Risen Son of God, and then cooks everybody some breakfast!

And listen to these words from John chapter 13:
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Yes, I am the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords. Now, please let me wash your feet!

And Jesus went on to say that if he, our Lord and Master can do this, we must also floow his lead and humbly serve others.

It really is true that
No one ever spoke the way this man did.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What John Thought of Jesus

I'm reading through the Gospel of John. In this book, there are a lot of statements about the greatness of Jesus, both made by himself, by others who knew him, and by the author of this gospel, whom Christans from the earliest times have believed to be John the Apostle.

John starts his book as if he were writing the bible all over again, and uses language that makes anyone who knows the Old Testament think of Genesis.

The first words in Genesis are
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And John's opening statement is
In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God. And the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

A few lines later, John reveals that he is talking about Jesus. So his opening statement tells us that Jesus is more than a great man, and greater than the greatest prophet. Jesus is God himself. God come down to earth as a man, as the Son of God and the one through whom everything was made.

Equally astounding claims are made about Jesus throughout this 21 chapter book. It could be a good place to start for anyone who wants to investigate Jesus for themselves.

There are lots of sites on the internet where you can read John's Gospel, but I got the text I've used here from which is a recent up-to-date translation of John's Gospel.

When you get to the end of the chapter you are reading, you can click on a link to go to the next. I'd love to hear your thoughts on John's message, if you begin reading it.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Why do we remember Jesus?

We remember great people for the things they did and said, but I don't think this is the main reason we remember Jesus. We also still talk about some folk because of their tragic deaths, such as Socrates and John Lennon.

Sometimes people say that if Kurt Cobain had not ended his life so tragically, we would not still be singing Smells Like Teen Spirit. Not sure about that one, but I am sure that however much the deaths of these people were, they only sought to highlight their achievements.

But Jesus' death is the whole point of his life, as the four gospel writers saw. In John's account of the life and death of Jesus, 13 out of 26 pages are about his death. Jesus spends considerable time preparing his disciples for this event, and John devotes several pages to Jesus' arrest, trial, crucifixion and death.

It is not that what Jesus said and did was unimportant, but that so often his words and actions were pointing to his death. But was it really as important as the bible makes out? If it really was a world-shaking event, how should this influence the way we respond to it?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Doing and Saying What God Says and Does

One of the interesting things I have found in the bible is that Jesus is doing and saying the things which God says and does. The prophets in the Old Testament and the disciples in the New Testament present themselves as imperfect servants of God. They tell us that the message they are bringing is not their own, but comes from God.

Jesus also presents himself as God's servant, but tells us he obeys him absolutely and perfectly. But he also speaks with the same authority that we find only attributed to God in the bible. And the people listening to him say things like:
The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. [Mark chapter 1 verse 22]

After his resurrection and before he departs from his disciples to go back to his Father, Jesus says:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

This clearly shows the high place Jesus gives to himself. Since that time, millions of people have thought deeply about what Jesus was claiming, and have concluded that he really is as exalted as he claimed to be.

If he is himself God, if he really is in charge of the world and you and me, what should be our response to him?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Outrageous claims

One of the over-the-top things Jesus claimed for himself was a crazy prophecy that he would suffer and die and then three days later come back to life again. As far as I know, no other religious leader has been able to make such a claim and be taken seriously.

In fact, during his 3 years of teaching and healing, Jesus wasn't either. Even the people who followed him around, didn't understand what he was saying.

But since that short period of time in the Middle East two thousand years ago, millions of people have been persuaded that Jesus really did everything he said he would, including springing back to life, after being dead three days.

Statement of purpose

Karen Beilharz pointed out in an article about blogging in The Briefing that there are no well known evangelistic Godblogs.

I can't promise to change this, but I can at least set up a blog that is intended to be for people who are thinking about Jesus.

If Jesus is who he claims to be in the New Testament, he is significantly different from all the other religious leaders. While Muhammad pointed people to Allah and Buddha taught a way of living and thinking, Jesus primarily taught people to trust in him.

His outrageous claims, if true, make him a unique man. The things he said about himself are breathtaking: if anyone else said them, we would not take them seriously. But millions and millions of people have believed what Jesus said about himself.

Whatever else you study, do not fail to study and investigate and test the claims of Jesus.