What’s Your Mental Image Of Jesus?
In your mind, what do you see when you think of Jesus? Is He a Man worth following? Do you picture a gentle guy with kids all around…a Mister Rogers type? A male Mother Teresa going about doing good, touching lepers? A fellow so sweet, warm, and fuzzy that the Church leaders must have been crazy to see Him as a threat and have Him killed? A bit of a nonconformist wandering the roads of Israel who really couldn’t have fought his way out of a paper bag?
To The Death
Jesus states without equivocation that if we’re going to follow Him we must die to self, take up our cross, submit to Him in obedient, consistent Christian living, and expect to suffer persecution for our godly lives (Luke 9:23-25; 14:25-27; John 14:15; 2 Timothy 3:12). He’s not just requiring a lot of us; He’s requiring our ALL. But is He worth our ALL? Is there anything about Jesus that makes a real man or woman want to say, “I’ll follow THAT Man to the death”? Let’s look into some of His life encounters to answer those questions.
- During forty days of fasting and temptation in the wilds of Israel, Jesus faced Satan’s all-out attack that culminated with Satan calling for Jesus’ worship (Luke 4:1-14). The Scripture tells us Satan left that battlefield defeated, and Jesus left in the power of the Spirit.
- One of the consistent issues of battle between Jesus and the Pharisees was His persistent healing on the Sabbath. He healed the diseased and disabled and delivered the demon-possessed on the Sabbath Day in the synagogues, on the streets, at the temple, and during dinner in a chief Pharisee’s home (Luke 4: 31-35; John 9; 5: 1-8; Luke 14: 1-4; 6:6-11). He challenged them on their own turf, and Luke states that He literally drove them insane!
- With the woman at the well in Samaria, Jesus was kind, but He pointed out her sin (John 4: 1-42).
- When the adulterous woman was thrown at His feet, He addressed the sin in the hearts and lives of her accusers, and then told her plainly to go, and sin no more (John 8:1-12).
- With Nicodemus, He spoke as one Jewish gentleman to another, but He didn’t hesitate to point out that Nicodemus was a spiritual leader who lacked spiritual knowledge (John 3: 1-21).
- Jesus wept with Martha and Mary, then proclaimed Himself the Resurrection and the Life—and called Lazarus back from four days dead (John 11:1-45).
- He loved the rich young ruler, but He put His finger on the one thing that he wasn’t willing to give up to follow Jesus (Luke 18:18-23).
Meeting The Master
Jesus did hold children in His arms (Luke 18:15-17). He did heal the sick and diseased (Mark 1:34). He did make the hearts of men burn within as He talked with them on the road (Luke 24:13-35). He did go about doing good (John 10:32).
Jesus was meek and lowly, but He wasn’t weak (Matthew 11:28-30).
He commanded and controlled the forces of nature itself (Mark 4:36-41).
He had power over demons and disease and death (Mark 5:1-43).
He labeled the Pharisees hypocrites to their faces (Matthew 23), and called King Herod a fox (Luke 13:31&32).
He cleared the temple with a whip (John 2:13-17).
He told the Jews they were children of the devil (John 8:44).
He wasn’t afraid to speak the truth, because it is the truth which sets men and women free (John 8:32).
Joshua knew Jesus as the Captain of the host of the Lord, and worshiped Him (Joshua 5:13-15).
The three Hebrews, and King Nebuchadnezzar, knew Jesus as the fourth Man in the fire (Daniel 3).
Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, and counted all things as loss that he might gain Christ (Acts 9:1-20; Philippians 3:4-11).
To The Death–And Life!
Jesus knows all about cross-bearing. He bore His cross and became sin Who knew no sin, that through His death He might destroy the works of Satan and deliver us, who, through fear of death were subject to bondage, that we might serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life (John 19:17; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 3:8; Hebrews 2:14&15). And He states:
I Am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I Am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death (the Revelation 1:18).
A Man To Ride The River With
Many years ago I read this phrase in a Louis L’Amour book: “…a man to ride the river with.” This was a man you could trust and count on—whatever you faced. Isaiah quotes the Lord as saying, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers….” (43:2). Jesus is a Man to ride the river with.
Not Safe, But Good
In the Revelation, one of the elders calls Jesus The Lion of the tribe of Judah (5:5).
In the story of The Chronicles of Narnia, the children are told of Aslan, the Lion. “Is He safe?” they ask. “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course He isn’t safe. But He’s good.”
Worth Your All
Whatever your daily cross, Jesus is worth following. He is The Lion of the tribe of Judah, and He has the keys of hell and death. He’s the Man to ride your rivers with. He is worth your ALL.