Tag Archives: Jesus

The Birth Of Jesus Meets The Real World

When the Birth of Jesus Meets the Real World

Jesus’ Birth: Then

The birth day of Jesus was not one of peace and tranquility. Everything about the birth of Jesus was difficult.

Read Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-20

Mary: Ordinary Peasant Girl; Young teenager, engaged to Joseph; Her thoughts were on the upcoming wedding; But God chose her to carry His Son; Did she appreciate the news?; Did she feel that some of her dreams were no longer possible?

Joseph: He thought about working hard and making a life for his wife; He knew that he wanted children; But what does he think when he finds his beloved is pregnant?; And what would others think, after all they could count to 9 just as well as we do; Can you imagine Mary telling him, “I’m pregnant, but it’s alright, it’s God’s baby, His Spirit covered me and His angel told me the good news!

Joseph too is visited and told of their situation

Jesus’ Birth: Today

For many, the birth of Jesus is summed up by the announcement of the angels, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” Luke 2:14

Christ was born into a world of hardship and pain and suffering in order to bring us to eternal hope. The point of His story is not that everything is going to be alright, but that God is in Christ, and that everything will eventually turn out right.

Image Magazine “God did not come into a perfect world to institute carol-singing, gift-buying and chestnut roasting. He entered a world blighted with suffering and cursed by sin in order to bring hope, salvation and healing…We would miss the point of Christmas altogether if we turned away its anguish.”

2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

¨Is it possible we expect too much of the holiday and not enough of Jesus? The Holiday itself cannot take away our problems, but Jesus can!

¨The story of Jesus is ultimately not about a cute and cuddly baby in a manger; it is about an old rugged cross and a forever empty tomb.

God in the Flesh: The Call of Jesus

God in the Flesh: The Call of Jesus

Bashing Holes in Roofs

Read Mark 2:1-12 then 1:32-34

They were determined to get to Jesus!  And so they come up with an idea to tear off the roof and to lower their friend down.

We can’t really dismiss this story as a bunch of over aggressive men.  They were like us, drawn to the power of Jesus.  Their aggressiveness and insistence are a testimony to just how powerful Jesus was.  His touch changed people. 

Bringing All the Sick to Jesus

Shouldn’t we bring our every need to Jesus?

Knowing the power of Jesus, it should make us want to grab the spiritually sick and bring them to Jesus. 

Instead, we grow accustomed to the fact that not everyone is going to make it.  We are comfortable with the fact that many will never know Jesus and be touched by Him.

Oh for a faith that leans on Jesus!

They Left Their Nets

The Gospels tell us these stories to make it clear that these people left it all for Jesus. When Jesus was in the room, treasure and lives and careers were flung away.  Social customs and etiquette and decorum dissolved. 

What was it in Jesus that elicited such epic abandonment?  His holiness, His brilliant teaching, His authority all were a part.  Jesus had an effect on people.  And He still does today. 

Philippians 3:7-8 “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

Mark 8:35-36 “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his live for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

Breakfast With Jesus

According to the book of John, after the resurrection of Jesus, Peter goes back to fishing.  This is where we find him, and so Jesus calls Peter over for breakfast. Jesus asks him the question: Peter, do you love me?

We too have been called to love Jesus.  To each and every one of us Jesus calls out over the centuries in John 21 and asks us if we love Him.

Summary:

It’s about seeing Jesus and being changed by Him.  And regardless of what century we are in, we are talking about becoming a changed people.  We are talking about following the call of Jesus to its logical conclusion.

When we encounter God in the Flesh we too have some decisions to make. We too have a life that needs changing.  We too have some nets that need leaving.  There are still the sick that need healing.

 

Outline based upon the book “God in the Flesh” by Don Everets

God in the Flesh, The Compasion of Jesus

God in the Flesh

The Compassion of Jesus

Jesus’ Hands

Throughout the gospels we are shown Jesus’ hands as He hold’s someone’s hand gently.  This God, this Creator of all, this incarnate Word who spoke everything into existence, held the hand of a blind man.  Touched the ears of the deaf.  Touched wasting skin of lepers.  Felt the sick eyes of the blind with His fingers. 

Why did the Gospel writers record these details?  And what do the actions of His hands tell us about Jesus?

His Gentle and Humble Heart

Read Matthew 9:27-31 Jesus could have just turned to them and healed them, but He stops and touches their eyes. 

Read Matthew 20:29-34 Jesus hears and stops.  He looks at them.  He asks them what they want from Him.  And they request for their eyes to be opened. 

It changes everything to look at the flesh of God and see such mercy and tenderness and compassion. 

Collapse Upon Him

What do we do with this Jesus?  How are we to respond to His call?

Matthew 11:28-29 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls.

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive and find grace to help in time of need.

They Struck His Head

Not everyone reacted to the compassion of Jesus in the same way.  Some were astonished at His teaching.  Others bowed to His authority.  But there were some who were different, very angry with their response.

What are we to take from these angry verses?  Perhaps looking at these verses of hate and disdain will tell us quite a bit about Jesus.

A Solid Man

Jesus was not a people pleaser.  He did not morph into a new person with each and every audience. 

His words reveal integrity.  He was so far above reproach that His powerful enemies flung themselves about in a desperate attempt to capture Him.  They, the keepers of the status quo, the holders of high positions, could not get Him. 

The only way to convict was to lie about Him.

A Steady, Sure March

In His three years of ministry Jesus walked headlong toward death.  At each point of conflict Jesus did not deviate to soften the blow to Himself.

During His flogging, He could have stopped everything.  He had the power to unleash creation upon the attackers but He did not.

He walked headlong into the slaps and pain ad torture and unfathomable penalty for human sin. Jesus made a steady and sure march to the cross.

Thank Him

Thank Him for His resolve.

Thank Him for not stooping to please.

Thank Him because without that purpose each of us would be facing an eternity of death and pain and unfathomable, searing judgment.

Summary

His hands touched mankind with compassion. Some cried out for mercy, others cried for blood.

Help us Lord to let go of our self-centered grip on reality.

Help us understand that Jesus did all of this for us.

Help us stand before God and know that we belong to Jesus.  Help us, touch us, have mercy on us.

 

Outline based upon the book “God in the Flesh” by Don Everets

 

God in the Flesh, The Authority of Jesus

God in the Flesh, #3, The Authority of Jesus

They Became Silent

What does it say to us if whole crowds were amazed by the words of Jesus?  What does it mean if folks were willing to run around a lake and go without food just to hear Him tell some stories?  What’s the significance of a man’s enemies finding themselves mute before His simple teaching?

Why were people so astounded at his words?  What does all of this astonishment teach us about Jesus?

A Last Trip to Jerusalem

As Jesus enters Jerusalem for the last time and begins to teach, He is met by a tag team of debaters and lawyers and they try to trip Him up.

Read Luke 20:19-20, then 21-26, then 39-40.

Those who wanted to trip up Jesus are silenced.  Embarrassed. This is no plain carpenter.  These responses to Jesus tell us with utter clarity and surety that when Jesus taught, something amazing was taking place.  Every time He opened His mouth, His brilliance and genius came out, simply and easily.

Jesus is the Word become flesh

John 12:49-50 “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.  And I know that his commandment is eternal life.  What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

Every teaching that Jesus ever spoke is the Word of God.  And it is sharp and alive even today.  (Hebrews 4:12) 

Let us Study Him

What do we do with this brilliant Jesus?  With a Jesus who sows seeds of reality?  Not just good ideas or suggestions or clever concepts, but reality.  Ultimate truth and reason and clarity and brilliance all bound together. What do we do with Jesus? 

The words of Jesus weren’t meant to be nodded at.  They were meant to shock us with their exponential growth and their taste of reality.

Elusive Wisdom

Something happens to us when we submit ourselves to the teaching of Jesus.  We become wise. 

We need to take this upside down teaching and understand it.  We need to take these words and obey them. 

Enough with the sampling and onto the main course.  Listening and learning from the Master who will give us the morsels of life. 

They fell down before Him

Not only did the people become silent when Jesus spoke, but many of them ended up on the ground. 

I don’t know about you, but most of the time I don’t sit on the ground. I don’t even sit on the floor at the house.  It is just easier to use a chair or rock of something when I need to sit. 

When we read about meeting Jesus, God in the flesh, we read about people kneeling or falling down before Him. 

Jesus’ Dirty Feet up Close

Read Mark 4:35-41 “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

Read Mark 5:1-20 This man, this tight ball of sinews and muscles and bruises and pain and demonic energy, runs straight at Jesus as He is getting out of the boat.

A woman is healed and kneels before Jesus.  (Mark 5:24-34)

Jairus’ daughter is healed.  “And they were immediately overcome with amazement”

We have no indication that Jesus ever asked anyone to kneel before Him.  It was just the natural reaction to seeing Jesus for Whom He was. 

To kneel before someone is embarrassing, humbling.  To kneel is to acknowledge another’s rightful place above themselves.  It makes us vulnerable. 

Jesus is Lord over everything.  His authority knows no bounds.  It extends into every corner to our lives, every moment of our day, every decision we make.

Fear Him

Perhaps we need to relearn how to kneel before Jesus.  We need to relearn how to shut our mouths and simply be before Jesus.  To humble submit to His authority.

Read Job 38:1-11. 

There are times when we talk with God that we complain, or express our needs.  But there also needs to be a time when we are silent and submissive to God. 

Have We Forgotten What it is to Kneel before God?

Is it possible that the observation in Psalm 36:1 “there is no fear of God before his eyes” is relevant today?

When Jesus walked this earth, did He have all the authority of Yahweh—mighty, jealous, roaring, Creator?  And does He still have all that authority today? 

The more we see Jesus clearly in all His authority, the more we relearn how to kneel. 

Summary

Oh for a church that acknowledges the Lord’s authority.

Oh, that we would find real, tangible humility growing within us. 

Oh, for a day when we finally understand with all our beings, that the poor in spirit are truly blessed, for the kingdom is theirs. 

They were silent, they fell before Him, and they feared Him. 

 Outline based upon the book, God in the Flesh by Don Everets.

God in the Flesh: The Presence of Jesus

God in the Flesh: The Presence of Jesus

They Were Seized by Amazement

One thing that we notice as we look at the folks standing around Jesus is the number of people with their mouths open.  Some stand amazed, others stand shocked and still others stand intrigued.

Mouth open, amazed look on their faces.

Everywhere Jesus went, folks were surprised.  Given how dulled our senses are to anything new and exciting, it’s significant that Jesus caused shock everywhere He went.

What does this teach us about Jesus?

Luke 5:26 “And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.” 

If these verses tell us anything they tell us that being in the same room with Jesus was an intense experience.

According to Luke, everyone in the crowd that day was afraid and respectful. That tells us something about the presence of God.  HOLY.

What do we do with Holy?
We stare at Him. 

Go ahead and stare.  Gaze upon His life and be enthralled.

Our culture gags on Jesus.  Our neighbors seem allergic to Him.  It’s often times difficult to really focus on Him.  Jesus suggested that in His day people had trouble focusing on Him because of their unhealthy eyes. 

Read Luke 11:29-36

Let us again and again find ourselves drawn to stare at Holy Jesus.  Mom’s its ok to stare. 

Elusive Unity

Something happens when we focus on Jesus.  We become more unified.  We start to feel a unity with others who are also standing, amazed at Jesus. 

Acts 4:32 “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was own, but they had everything in common.

May we all say, “we have seen strange things today.”

They Worshiped Him

Some folks just found worship gushing from their mouths and hands and toes and lips and tongues when they were with Jesus.

Some of these folks had just gotten healed.  That could explain some of their responses. But others were just responding to Jesus Himself. Being near Him moved them to praise Him.

What does all of this spontaneous worship teach us about Jesus?

Read Luke 19:37  “As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen,”

Perhaps it was the sight of Jerusalem that loosened their tongues.  Perhaps it was the proximity to the temple during a festival time that aroused such feelings and joy.  But Luke says it plainly that they started to loudly and joyfully worship Jesus.  His works, His divinity were being praised. 

Read Luke 19:38 “saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”   Now notice verse 40. “He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”  

His presence calls forth worship.

Praise Him

What do we do with Jesus?  We worship.  God’s presence in Jesus calls forth worship from us.  We can’t help but give Him glory, sing of His fame, chant about how great He is.

Remember the story of Jesus walking on the water?  (Matthew 14:22-33)  What happens when Jesus gets into the boat and the winds cease?  The disciples worship God and say “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Clarity combined with close presence sparked worship from them that night.

Elusive Worship

The disciples “began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice from all the mighty works that they had seen”  It was more than volume for the disciples. It was joy. 

The worship that we all crave and want to see is one that is not programmed but one that flows from within.  It comes only from seeing Jesus more clearly, from smelling the scent of divinity up close.

Summary

Of that we would be more open to the mystery of God’s presence that we would contemplate the divine that is at hand in Jesus.  Oh, may we find ourselves, like so many people in Jesus’ own day, taken by the divine in His presence. 

Oh for a day when we open our eyes wide enough to see God in Jesus.

Oh for a time when seeing Jesus makes our inhibitions fade away and we find ourselves joyfully singing with the choir of all creation.

Oh for a church that is loud and joyful for Jesus. 

 Outline based upon the book God in the Flesh, by Don Everets.

God in the Flesh #1

God is revealed in Flesh

Hebrews 1:1-2 “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, who he appointed the heir of all things, through whom  also he created the world.

John 1:18 “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

“the image of the invisible God.” Colossians 1:15

Starting at the Flesh

To Paul everything else was a distant second; almost irrelevant when compared to what was revealed in the person of Jesus. So he decided to know only Jesus among them.

Read Colossians 1:15-20 (1251-1252)

Once Paul starts thinking about Jesus he just can’t help himself. This is the writing of a man who was fixated upon Jesus.

Guarding the Truth

Keep hold of the clear image of Jesus and pass that image on. 

If a clear picture of Jesus was so central to the early church, then no wonder the Gospels were written. No wonder false gospels were so quickly identified and spoken out against.  No wonder the church was led by God to ensure that Jesus was taught.

Guard the truth about His life and death and pass that truth onto the next generation who will guard and pass on the truth.

Being Centered on Jesus Today

The call to being focused on Jesus is a call to life.  This world and its entire people are broken and confused.  In Jesus we have the answer to almost every question or dilemma or opportunity we will ever face on this earth.

Satan will lie about Jesus and try to focus our eyes elsewhere. 

Lie: Jesus was just a Hologram

The Gnostics taught that Jesus just appeared to be on this earth. 

Today, modern Gnostics will tell us that Jesus was just a man, a teacher.  The miracle stories were fabricated over time.  Jesus was just a man and not God. 

This false idea has caught on and so our concentration on Jesus has become a little out of focus.  Truth has been distorted rather than being guarded. 

“Home Blindness”

Sometimes we see something so often that we stop taking note of the details.

We can be so smothered with religious phrases about Jesus, so accustomed to the stories of His life that we stop looking at the details.  When a Gospel story starts being read to us, our active minds sort of switch off and all the details are lost on us.

The Liar chuckles and wrings his hands with glee. Our eyes glaze over and his eyes grow wide with pleasure.  We yawn and he smiles. 

Guarding the Truth Today

How can we do this?  We have to root ourselves in scripture.  In a world of lies, where else do we turn for a starting place?

We need to become familiar with scripture that we do not know, and reinvestigate scripture that we think we already know. 

Jesus’ life and ways and manner call us to respond.  God in flesh will come into focus as we begin to focus on Him.

Summary

Let us return to the plain words of the Gospels, and may they help us clear our heads and see with more clarity.  May today’s church hear the story right.  And may we, like the apostle Paul take great joy in passing the story on. 

Outline based upon the book God in the Flesh, by Don Everets.

 

God was a Carpenter: Mark 6:1-3

 

God was a Carpenter

Read: Mark 6:1-3

Was Jesus serving His heavenly Father as He worked in His earthly father’s shop?

When Jesus was 12, and His parents find Him in the temple, what did Jesus say?  “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  (Luke 2:49)  Did that just apply to that moment, and the moment He went back to Nazareth and built a house He was not doing God’s work? 

Jesus did His best, and so served God. 

We don’t serve God by going to church!  We serve God by living for Him in every context of life. School, work and play, we need to do our best, and so serve God. 

Read: Ephesians 6:5-8

Secular becomes Sacred when it is done for the glory of God.

Read: Ephesians 4:28 “working what is good”

Why are you working ?  Why are you doing the things you are doing?

The Glory of the Ordinary

Jesus came into this world in an ordinary fashion (minus the virgin birth).  He was born to two poor parents.  He was a baby, and He did things that a normal baby would do.

Read Isaiah 53:2 

Jesus looked ordinary; there was nothing special about the way He looked.  It was because of this that the Jews couldn’t imagine that He was in any way extraordinary.  “What did they expect?”

Who does “Sacred” work?

Mothers who raise their children to be Godly.

Husbands who work and still serve their wives and children.

Christians who are always there to encourage and lift others up.

People who can hug and squeeze your hand.

Those who constantly and earnestly pray.

Those who give liberally for church programs.

Those who show us a Godly marriage.

Those who work among the lost and are an example of honesty, integrity and purity.

Those who look after the elderly.

Those who can sit and listen. 

The Significance of the Incarnation

Jesus’ working as a carpenter tells us of God’s desire to reach out to us.

Only though His willingness to be like us do we have the opportunity to be like Him.

Hebrews 2:14-18. 

Summary

God became a carpenter so that as we serve others, we can serve Him.

God became a carpenter so that out of the ordinary, we can be made to be of great value simply by dedication on your part to use your life and serve God—not just one day out of the week, but day in and day out. 

God became a carpenter so that He could bring us into the church.  He could talk with us and know us intimately. 

God came, to die for us—to take on our sins.