Who is your Jesus? {Part 1}

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Now, I’m at this stage in my life, and some of you will be there too, and some of you will have been there and some of you may well be there one day…but this stage of your life is where the primary depiction of Jesus in your home is of an always-happy, ruddy-cheeked, bearded man in a very, very white robe. Always very friendly looking and usually surrounded by people equally happy to see him.

And there’s nothing wrong with these in lots of ways; we mustn’t do a disservice here to these kinds of pictures. We want our children and young people to understand that Jesus was a man of love and compassion and mercy, full of grace and without sin.

Of course, we run into other problems before we make it to adulthood, because the most common saviours we are presented with are images of Spiderman and Batman…

I mean, how does a friendly looking man in a white robe compete with these? These are ordinary men, but look at what they turn into!

So my question is, who do we think Jesus is? Who is our Jesus? Who is your Jesus? How do we make sure that we have the right view of who he is, because the real Jesus blows Spiderman and Iron Man out of the water.

Look at the story of Lazarus in John 11; we’re going to take a few days to think over what we learn through Jesus’ words when he said in verse 25:

“I am the resurrection and the life”

So, over the next three days, we’re going to consider how:

In saying that he is the resurrection and the life, Jesus has care and love.

Two: In saying that he is the resurrection and the life, Jesus has knowledge and power.

And finally, in saying that he is the resurrection and the life, Jesus has timing and purpose.

 

Jesus'

 

 

Care and love are two very basic human needs. If you do even the most cursory of research into the basic needs of a human being, you will frequently find being loved, being cared for and about, belonging to a community in the top 5 or 6 needs we have.

When we are fed up, when we feel blue, when we are lonely, hurt, grieving, or even just plain old tired out, being cared for and being loved are high tariff actions that make a difference in our lives.

Have you ever seen the film Castaway? Where Tom Hanks gets stranded on a desert island and, for companionship, fashions himself a friend called Wilson out of a volleyball, talking to it. The basic need: after you’ve worked out how to survive – to have your emotional needs met.

Do we know that God loves us?

We say this, we know it….God so loved the world, God is love, we sing it, how wonderful it is, how marvellous. It’s easy on our lips, but how do we see this love working itself out in our everyday lives? How has God’s love affected the way you live your life?

In verse 3 of John 11, Mary and Martha send word to Jesus that Lazarus is sick, describing Lazarus as the one Jesus loves. And verse 5 confirms this: “Now, Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus”.

So what kind of love do we think this was?

Love is a very cheap and shallow concept in our modern world. It’s dispensable and disposable, and so often used hyperbolically to express some over excited form of interest in things that don’t really matter: I love your shoes, I love your hair, I love this ice-cream, I love this song. And these things change like the wind.

We are encouraged to love according to our own whims and fancies, according to what we desire or brings us pleasure. Modern love is fleeting. It is not necessarily for keeps, and it is often championed as being an emotion that is entirely to do with what makes us feel great.

But you know, this kind of love, this short-lived, in the moment, shallow, quick fix love…is that what people really want?

When we communicate the love of God, what do we impress upon people the most? Do we tell people of the personal and deep love he has for us?  That we are not merely herded like cattle into the kingdom, duly branded to identify us as his, all looking somewhat similar and largely unidentifiable because we are, after all, the same species.

Look up Psalm 139. Just read it and think on it.

God knows you and he loves you.

Before we even spoke a word, took a breath, had a stroppy moment, said a stern word, uttered a mean remark…God loved us and cared for us.

Jesus cares about you. Personally. Individually. As he cared for and loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus.

And he was not remote from their suffering and pain. He was not distant from the sadness they had and felt. Verse 35 tells us that when Jesus saw Mary weeping, he also wept.

Whatever heartache or anguish or difficulty you have today. Whatever loss or mourning is heavy on your shoulders. Whatever anxiety or concern you have, you can be sure Jesus cares. He cares deeply and he loves you.

 

Grace and Love

Helen x

Comments

  1. Thank you Helen x

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  1. […] last two days, we have been looking at this passage from John 11 and seen that Jesus has care and love and knowledge and power. Today, we’ll conclude this short three part series and look at […]

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