Jesus, the Good Shepherd

Who is Jesus?

John 10:14-15  I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

You don’t need to know them, you just need to know Him.  Many Christians spend a lot of time on learning to discern spirits so that when the time comes they’ll know who it is that speaks to them.  The best thing we can do though, is learn to hear the voice of Jesus.

The Good Shepherd said that those who are of His flock know His voice, that all the rest are strangers and we’ll know not to listen to them.  The more time spent with Jesus, the more we’ll know His voice.  We won’t need to practice knowing other voices so as not to listen to them, we just won’t listen to them because they’re not Him.

Only one died for His flock.  Jesus laid down His life for us, the Son of God sacrificing Himself that those who belong to Him would know life.  He laid down His life on His own authority and He took it back up on His own authority.  That’s a voice worth listening to.

Consider others

Pride

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

When we’re prideful we can’t see past ourselves to meet the needs of others.  We view ourselves as the highest priority and we care very little what God wants of us or what others might be feeling.  But a humble spirit puts others first.

All around us are ads, people, groups, businesses and all other manner of communications telling us to put ourselves first and to basically forget about other people and what they want.  You’re #1.  You deserve the best.  But a follower of Christ, a person after His own heart, will not be able to do this without feeling a strong urging to do the opposite.  We’re called to put others first.

This can be taken to an extreme where the person seeking to put others before themselves actually neglects their own needs to their detriment. A balance has to be found though.  We do have things we need and we shouldn’t forget to take care of ourselves. But by considering others more significant than ourselves, we’re just reorganizing our priorities a bit. We’re more courteous, doing things like helping out where we see a need, even when it might make us late.  We’re willing to inconvenience ourselves for the sake of others.  We give our time.  This is humility and God honors it.

Jesus, the perfect Jonah

Who is Jesus?

Matthew 12:41  The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

The story of Jonah is one of redemption.  The prophet was sent to a people that God wanted to reach with His message.  Jonah’s dislike of the people caused him to initially refuse the assignment.  But as we know, he eventually did go and the people did receive God’s message of repentance through Jonah.  Despite their turning their hearts toward God, however, Jonah still refused to love these people.

Contrast this with the story of Jesus, who obediently went to the people God wanted to reach.  Unlike the Ninevites, these people rejected Jesus’ message and did not turn toward God.  And here, unlike Jonah, Jesus chose to love them anyway.  He came out of His love and He remained in His love.  Then, in the ultimate act of love, He died for those who had rejected Him.

Jesus was the perfect missionary.  He lived out a perfect life as an example and spoke with authority.  Though the people rejected Him, He fulfilled the call of Jonah, making Him the perfect Jonah.

Let another praise

Pride

Proverbs 27:2  Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips

So if pride is so destructive and humility is the way to go, how can we go about being more humble?  How can we act in a way that is pleasing to God and not so self-centered and prideful?  What does the Bible say about how to do this?

The book of Proverbs is loaded with advice on seeking wisdom and keeping away from a prideful heart.  One tip that more of us should consider in our daily lives is being more quiet about ourselves.  It’s ok to have joy about a job well done or to tell someone if you’ve achieved something.  This proverb doesn’t mean to never celebrate good work, it just means not to be the kind of person who constantly self congratulates.  Boasting is definitely prideful and should be avoided.  Leave it to other people to give you props.

But here’s the thing.  This isn’t all about actions and behaviors.  It’s not about just not doing something like boasting.  This is a heart issue.  Not being prideful doesn’t just mean don’t act prideful.  This is about having a humble heart before God.  He knows our innermost thoughts and condition, He knows when we’re showing false humility and when we’re truly humble.

So don’t brag about yourself, not just because you know not to act prideful, but because you want a soft heart that loves God and puts Him first.

 

Jesus, the perfect Moses

Who is Jesus?

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Long ago, God handed down the Law through His servant Moses.  We know the Ten Commandments but many more rules and regulations were established for God’s people – to show them how to be holy.  If one could keep all of the Law, they could be righteous.  The problem is, no one can keep all of the Law.  The Law does not have the power to enable us to do what it says.  It can guide, but its power ends there.

That’s where Jesus comes in.  He fulfills the Law because He’s perfect, but He also sets us free from the Law so that we don’t have to live under its burden.  Because He is righteous, we can be righteous through Him instead of through keeping the Law.  In Him we have forgiveness for the times we haven’t kept the Law because only one who has perfectly kept it has any right to grant that forgiveness.

His grace makes us free to obey out of love instead of obligation.  In fact, the more we understand His grace the more we want to obey.  The Law shows us sanctification, Jesus empowers us to achieve it.  He is the fulfillment of Moses’ calling – the perfect Moses.