Reflections on Jesus The teachings of Jesus, His death and resurrection, and the promise of His return provide believers with a firm foundation for living, confidence in God’s power and provision in our lives, and clear direction in The Way. As a believer, His message directs my educational choices, guides my life experiences, and determines how I approach society. Christ teaches that the measure of successful living in His eternal kingdom is far different than the standards society espouses. In Matthew 5, He lists many “blessings” that our society defines as character flaws or weaknesses.
Jesus asks believers to remove our trust in possessions and self-gratification. He calls us to live differently so that others can see Him clearly in us, and in doing so, offer hope to those who are hurting. Christ provides practical guidance for daily living. Throughout Matthew 5 and 6, He challenges believers to examine our motives and make decisions beyond the letter of the law. We are to consider the “thought life” behind our actions and strive to make those thoughts and motives pure. (Bradley, 2012) In doing so, we are able to live righteously in both the law and the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV) Jesus cautions His believers not to forget the glorious purpose we are called to. By being the salt of the earth as described in Matthew 5, we are called to live in a way that mirrors Jesus’ sacrifice, which can preserve a dying world as salt preserves food. Jesus asks us to reflect His light and illuminate a dark world. Each parable in Luke 15 displays how highly God values us. His pastoral, possessive, and parental connections to us are also revealed, as is His great concern when we are separated from Him.
The parables allude to God’s efforts to rescue, retrieve, and restore us to Him and the great celebration that results when we are reunited. By reflecting God’s love to the world, we fulfill our purpose and help “find” the lost. The account of Jesus’ death and resurrection in Luke 22-24 demonstrates His great love for us, His perfect obedience to God’s will and plan for His life, and the fulfillment of that plan through tremendous sacrifice and divine restoration. Jesus sets an example of perfect obedience for us in Luke 22:42.
He was fully aware of His impending torture and death, yet he still submitted to God’s will. Remaining obedient throughout His trial, crucifixion and death, Jesus fulfilled every promise in Isaiah 53:5, where it says “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. ” Jesus defining moment comes not in His death, but in His resurrection, as Luke 24 describes. It is through Jesus that we are restored to the Father.
Paul explains, “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. ” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22, NIV) Matthew 24 tells of great trials, unrest, and distress that are to come before Jesus returns. Jesus talks about worldwide turmoil; catastrophes so severe that “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. ” (Matthew 24:22, NIV). Even in this foreboding message, Jesus provides hope for His believers.
Matthew 24:31 encourages believers that Jesus will gather them together to be with Him. Nobody will know the time of His return, so he provides guidance for His followers to stay alert. Jesus gives the promise of reward for those who are faithful and prepared in verses 45 through 47, but also warns those who are not prepared in verse 48 through 51. As a business major, I am preparing to lead others professionally. While leadership comes with a temptation to serve my own interests, Jesus teaches in Matthew 5 that greater gains in life will come through servant leadership and humility.
This approach may be misunderstood by my peers, and may cost me professional and social opportunities, but I don’t have to worry about those costs. Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. ” (Matthew 6:25a, NIV). His death and resurrection prove that He has the both the authority and the desire to provide for me. I need only trust Him. Matthew 24 provides encouragement for this approach. “It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.
Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. ” (Matthew 24:45b, NIV). Jesus’ teachings guide me as I daily turn over all of my will to Christ’s care and control. I minister in a Christ-centered recovery program for anyone with hurts, hang-ups, and habits that keep them from having an intimate relationship with Christ. Jesus provides the “8 Principles” of this program, in order, through the “Beatitudes” found in Matthew 5:3-12. I live keenly focused on “practicing these principles in all my affairs. (Baker, 2005) I do so with the confidence that Jesus’ death and resurrection, as described in Luke 22-24, have brought me back into relationship with God. I hold firmly to the promise of Matthew 24 that I will be reunited with my Creator. Rather than insisting on my rights, amassing wealth, or living self-centeredly, Jesus calls me to live counter-culturally; so that others can see Christ in me. Following Jesus means living the example He sets in the midst of His betrayal, trial, and crucifixion: not my will, but God’s.
I do all of this with the hope and promise that even though I may struggle, I can learn to be “reasonable happy in this life, and supremely happy in the next” (Neibuhr, 1986) when He returns. References Baker, J. (2005). Celebrate recovery leader’s guide. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. Bradley, M. (2012, August 18). You are what you think. Retrieved from http://www. bible-knowledge. com/you-are-what-you-think/ Neibuhr, R. (1986). The essential reinhold niebuhr: Selected essays and addresses. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.