OVERVIEW – Jesus was the promised Messiah, but he fulfilled that role as the Suffering Servant on his way to die in Jerusalem. His disciple must likewise take up his cross and follow him – Mark 8:27-38.
On the “way to Jerusalem,” Jesus entered Caesarea Philippi and questioned his disciples about his identity – “Who do men say that I am?” Momentarily, Peter began to perceive and confess who and what he was – “You are the Messiah!”
Continue reading WHOSOEVER WILL FOLLOW ME
“I will give him a portion among the great, because he poured out his soul unto death, and with transgressors let himself be numbered” – Isaiah 53:12.
Unlike Adam, the “Servant of Yahweh” did not grasp at the “likeness of God.” Instead, he humbled himself and chose obedience, even when that meant his submission to a most shameful death. For this reason, God highly exalted him and installed him to reign over all things as “Lord.” Exaltation did not precede the death of Jesus – it followed it.
Continue reading SERVANT OF YAHWEH
OVERVIEW – To follow Jesus means self-denial and a willingness to suffer for his sake – Persecution is the highest honor for his disciple – Matthew 5:10-12.
According to Jesus, and contrary to the “wisdom of this age,” rage and violence are NOT appropriate reactions for his disciple to rejection and persecution, real or imagined. For that matter, the values and “wisdom” of the present age are contrary to the teachings and example of Jesus, especially to the paradigm of Christ crucified.
Continue reading DISCIPLES AND PERSECUTION
OVERVIEW – Acts of mercy and love are the defining characteristics of the true disciple of Jesus and reflections of the nature of God – Matthew 5:43-48.
We are easily confused and even overwhelmed by the exhortation of Jesus for his disciples to be “perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” We assume that “perfect” refers to some standard of righteousness that is impossible for any man or woman to achieve. How can anyone ever hope to emulate the perfect righteousness of God? Fortunately, Jesus told us exactly how we are to become “perfect” and, thereby, emulate our “heavenly Father.”
Continue reading MERCY IS NOT OPTIONAL
OVERVIEW – At the conclusion of his “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus vested his words with ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY – Matthew 7:21-28.
The ‘Sermon on the Mount’ is not a program for reforming civil society, implementing economic justice, or a utopian pipe dream of the perfect society. Instead, it provides clear instructions for how to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ in the present age and a faithful citizen of the Kingdom of God, and, for his followers, its teachings are not optional. In the concluding section of the sermon, Jesus vested his words with ultimate authority. Disobedience is NOT an option!
Continue reading HIS ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY
“Now the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually discerned” – (1 Corinthians 2:14).
How many times have we had this passage quoted to us? Why, only those who are “spiritually minded” can hope to understand the things of God! Your spirit must be in synch with His Spirit to perceive what He is doing! Or words to that effect. But is that what Paul is saying in this passage?
Continue reading CHRIST CRUCIFIED – TRUE SPIRITUALITY