We are looking at the reason the Church, when it is healthy is meant to be revolutionary. It is because its Founder, Jesus, was a revolutionary. We are digging in to our understanding of Jesus as a revolutionary by looking at the record of His life and ministry recorded for us by Matthew, a disciple of Jesus who was appointed as one of the first apostles in the early Church.
One of the most intriguing insights into Jesus is His recognition that He was a person in process. He perceived the many trials and challenges He endured as means of demonstrating His obedience and shaping His character. As Jesus the divine Son, He was truly complete: but as Jesus the Deity made man, He underwent many of the same growth pains that we experience. Perhaps that refined sense of timing enabled Him to have greater patience with the daily battles He faced.
The most compelling aspect of His self-image, though, is that He understood His role to be a twofold mission: to love God and to love people. That perception is simple but not at all simplistic. As the embodiment of love, Jesus tangibly modeled various facets of love – compassionate love, tough love, enduring love, forgiving love – as well as the dramatic impact authentic love has on the world.
Our self-image creates the infrastructure through which we respond to the world. What are the lessons for you and me in how Jesus, the Saviour of the world, saw Himself?
1> HIs priorities in life:
You devote yourself to doing what you believe is the highest priority in life. Sometimes you may protest that you are a victim of circumstances or others’ expectations, but your choices reflect what you believe to be most important.
Jesus clarified His priorities by speaking about them and then supporting those words with action. If we are to follow in His footsteps, we must embrace and pursue the same priorities to which He was committed. His mind was locked into the Kingdom of God; He even taught His followers: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33).
What are the priorities that reflect our absolute sellout to the Kingdom of God?
- Obedience to God. “But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:19b)
- Love. “But I say, love your enemies! … If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that?” (Matthew 5:44, 46)
- Justice. “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)
- Peace. “God blesses those who work for peace.” ( Matthew 5:9)
- Holy Living. “… let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:16)
- Integrity. “Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t’” (Matthew 5:37)
- Generosity. “When you give to someone in need, … give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:2, 4)
- Spiritual connection. “You must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.” (Matthew 4:10)
- Spiritual wholeness. “Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
- Biblical literacy. “Haven’t you read the Scriptures? … Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures.” (Matthew 19:4, 22:29)
- Faith in God. “Because of your faith, it will happen … You don’t have enough faith … If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed … nothing would be impossible … But with God, everything is possible.” (Matthew 9:29, 17:20, 19:26)
- Blessing people. Jesus not only regularly taught this, but His constant healing of, training, and praying for others, demonstrated how to bless them.
- Disciple-making. “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations.” (Matthew 28:19).
Apparently, that’s a life agenda worth dying for…