Jesus – Chapter One
The Identity of Deity
The claims about Jesus by Himself, the eyewitness accounts, and the fulfilled prophecies confirm that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Paraphrasing C.S. Lewis we must see Jesus as either Lord, liar, or lunatic.
Jesus – Chapter Two
A Relationship, a Courtship, a Miracle
Jesus’ arrival on earth was not accompanied by great fanfare, certainly not of the magnitude that caused nations to tremble or men to fear God. His Incarnation was intended to change men’s heart by demonstrating His unconditional grace and love, rather than by force and power that will be the hallmark of His Second Coming.
Jesus – Chapter Three
Deity in Diapers
According to Philippians 2, Jesus made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. It is in this context that we see Jesus’ arrival to a religious world preoccupied with itself and not looking for the Messiah, not unlike today.
Jesus – Chapter Four
Responding to the Redeemer
While the entire focus of the Gospels is about Christ, we also observe the critical role that others played in the life of Christ – those either impacting His life of being impacted by Him. Christianity is meant to be lived in a manner where we make a difference in the world by simply living for Christ.
Jesus – Chapter Five
Life… as God Intended It
A careful study of Scripture reveals that Jesus was not only a fulfillment of almost 500 Old Testament prophecies, but He was able to live a sinless life as a man, serve as the perfect Passover Lamb, and finally prove Himself to be the legitimate shepherd King in overcoming the trappings that had befallen all of Israel’s prior leaders.
Jesus – Chapter Six
Resting in Christ
Legalism is diametrically opposed to grace. There is no greater danger that exists in the church today. Legalism focuses so much on the “worthiness” of man (i.e. works) and so little on the grace of God through Jesus. As Paul wrote in Romans 11:6: And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. As Jesus so often debated with the religious leaders of His day, God is fundamentally concerned with our heart and what motivates us in our service to Him. Legalism might look good on the outside, but it is exhausting and God knows the truth ANYWAY (and in the end others will eventually figure out our motivation as well).
Jesus – Chapter Seven
It is Best to Rest
In the last lesson we discussed that legalism is diametrically opposed to grace. In this lesson we find that “striving” is the exact opposite trusting in God’s provisions. Our American culture is so entrenched in the pursuit of success that it is hard to imagine living apart from it. Americans embody the life of the striver. Unfortunately, to pursue Christ we must “unlearn” striver tendencies and learn to more fully trust in the Lord’s provisions for our lives. What we will find in this pursuit is a level of peace that can be found in no other way. As the old hymn states, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
Jesus – Chapter Eight
The Astonishing Power of Jesus
While much of the world recognizes Jesus as a great teacher, many people are either dismissive or ignorant of the tremendous power that He had. Jesus through the power of God had control over everything from life to nature, a further validation of His claim as the Messiah and being the second member of the Trinity. This lesson explores seven miraculous powers of Jesus validating that He was exactly who He claimed to be and uniquely qualified to be Savior.
Jesus – Chapter Nine
The Ultimate Healer
Jesus’ ability heal was a tremendous draw to a hurting world that desperately needed not only physical healing, but spiritual healing as well. Jesus’ ability to do the impossible in healing the lame, giving the blind their sight, and even raising the dead to life was a critical vehicle for convincing a skeptical world that He was more than a good teacher.
Jesus – Chapter Ten
Abiding in Christ
There is no better summary of living the Christian life than what we read in John 15:5 – I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. The only conclusion that we can come to in reading this passage is that if we are to be successful as Believers, there is no other path to success than abiding in Christ.
Jesus – Chapter Eleven
The Gathering Storm
Jesus was (and is) always about truth, even when telling the truth against the powers that be of His day resulted in His death. Not much has changed in 2000 years. Few men or women today are overly-concerned with truth. Most Americans are content to live and let live. We allow murders to live and murder the unborn. Something is horribly wrong. In the Church where we should know better, we wield little power over the world, or our own lives for that matter, because of our preoccupation with personal sin and our desire for comfort. The only solution is complete commitment to Christ, a total surrender.
Jesus – Chapter Twelve
Betrayed and Arrested
Judas Iscariot is a picture of what happens when minor discretions give birth to sin that leads to death. Like many today, Judas is a picture of a man who was not willing to surrender his own will or agenda to Christ. It was always about Judas, even when Mary Magdalene honored Jesus by pouring perfume on His feet as a complete act of surrender. As Christians we must be extremely careful to ensure that sin never takes a foothold in our lives, but that by keep short accounts with God we keep our eyes focused on seeking Jesus.
Jesus – Chapter Thirteen
Analysis of a Courtroom Fiasco/em>
It is hard to imagine anything more horrific than taking an innocent life. What makes it even worse is when the lost life is due to the anger and hatred of self-righteous men protecting their own sinful way of life. Jesus was forced to endure six different trials before finally facing death on the cross. On one hand we see the travesty of the trumped-up charges and His pre-determined “guilt” with no chance for redemption, while on the other hand we see God’s Sovereign Hand in sacrificing the life of His only begotten for the sins of the world, including yours and mine.
Jesus – Chapter Fourteen
The Last Trials and Torture of Jesus
The trials and torture of Jesus were a necessary part of convicting mankind at large for the death of Jesus. We know that they were necessary because God allowed them to happen. There are certain milestone events in the annals of Biblical history; the death of Jesus is certainly near the top of the list, while the resurrection certainly tops them all. As Genesis 3 tells us of man’s guilt in sinning before a perfect God, the Gospels (i.e. Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19) tell us of man’s unequivocal guilt at Calvary. As Paul wrote in Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Jesus – Chapter Fifteen
Delivered up to be Crucified
Without Jesus’ death on the cross there is no Christianity. As the writer of Hebrews said, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. With today’s hectic pace where we are so often focused on consumption, accompanied with personal wealth and comfort, it is easy to be dismissive of the horrific price that Jesus paid for Believers on the cross. Jesus’ death was substitutionary for the Elect. Those of us who know Him as Lord should live lives that reflect our true understanding of what He did for us on the cross.
Jesus – Chapter Sixteen
Not to Worry… He is Risen
Certainly the death of Jesus on the cross is a milestone in the chronicles of eternal history. However, as important as Jesus’ death is to the lives of Believers, the greatest power of God was demonstrated through the resurrection. Jesus’ death was necessary to establish Him as the ultimate and perfect sacrifice for our sins; however, His resurrection was necessary to qualify Him as our Savior. Jesus did it all – life, death, and the resurrection. Now it’s our turn – to live lives worthy of the calling He has for us.
Jesus – Chapter Seventeen
Encountering Jesus along Life’s Road
Looking back through history it is easy to be critical of the two disciples who traveled on the road to Emmaus. How could someone who had spent time with Jesus honestly not know it was Him walking alongside the road with them; or most importantly, talking in a way that only Jesus could do. However, in our own lives how often are we unresponsive to the Lord’s gentle hand? Are there areas in your life that you have not surrendered to Jesus and in this regard mimic what we observe in the blindness of those who traveled with Jesus to Emmaus?
Jesus – Chapter Eighteen
Listening to Jesus beside the Sea
Jesus was the ultimate visionary. Unlike many of today’s hatchet-happy leaders, Jesus did not immediately remove men who failed Him. Instead, He was patient with His fallen troops and encouraged them to get back on the path they had once held so dear. If there is any lesson for us in studying the life of Peter, it is this fact: Jesus, like His Father, is the perfect leader who gives His followers a second chance if they have failed Him. Jesus wants you and me to be passionate in our pursuit of Him, but loves us enough to understand that we may fall.
Jesus – Chapter Nineteen
Challenged by Jesus on the Mountain
The Great Commission is often referred to as the Great Omission. In our hectic lives it is easy to dismiss the importance of making disciples and living for others, as opposed to the me-first mentality the pervades our society. Make no doubt about it, when Jesus left he was very clear in His message – make disciples. As Christians we are called to not only be disciples, but at some point to start making disciples. A writer once said – you cannot bring anyone closer to Christ than you are yourself. As you look at your life how is your pursuit of Christ and what impact are you having on those around you to follow Him?
Jesus – Chapter Twenty
Watching for Jesus in the Air
For almost 2,000 years we have been waiting for the return of Jesus and odds are, we have a few more years left. There is a reason that we do not know when Christ will return – to keep us on our toes. When Jesus returns the world will never be the same, much like the way He changed the face of humanity the first time that He came. Jesus has always been about changing lives and His greatest desire is for those of us who know Him to live in passionate pursuit of His Father. We’ve come to the end of our series, but certainly not to the end of our study in learning to be more like Jesus. For us this is a life-long pursuit. May Jesus create in us a desire to live holy lives; lives completely committed to Him.
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events;
small minds discuss people.