MAJ-2 - What Was Jesus Really Like?
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MORE ABOUT JESUS
After Jesus had calmed the tumultuous seas the disciples responded by
saying and they feared exceedingly and asked among themselves, “Who
can this be that even the wind and the seas obey Him?” Mark 4:41
Today in our series of lessons ‘More About Jesus’ we want to ask
and let the Scripture answer that very question. Who is Jesus Christ? What
was He really like? What's His nature? Are the images and ideas that
people often have about Jesus in accord with His life in Scripture?
As we think about the life of Jesus Christ, we especially want to ask
and emphasize the nature of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What was
Jesus really like? What is His nature that we read in Scripture? Does that fit
with the way society often thinks or portrays the Lord Jesus Christ?
You know there are basically four views that people will hold about
Christ. There are some who would say that Jesus was a liar that His
miracles were false and fake, that He was not God, that He did not live a
perfect life, and that everything He said was not true. Whether that person
is an atheist, agnostic, or believes in some other religious background they
might hold the view that Jesus was a liar.
A second view that some might hold is that Jesus was a great leader
like Moses in the Old Testament or like Joshua who led God's people into
the promise land. Jesus was a good physical earthly leader. The
Beatitudes, one of the greatest speeches ever given, the Sermon on the
Mount, probably one of the greatest sermons ever, John 6:15. They want to
take Jesus and make Him a king or leader, but it ends there. They see Him
as just a leader, just a physical leader, just like other leaders in the world
A third aspect or third mindset that some people have about Jesus is
that Jesus was a lunatic. That is in John 6 when Jesus said things like, ‘eat
my flesh and drink my blood’ He was crazy. In John 3 when Jesus said,
‘You have to be born again.’ How can you be born again? In Mark 3 when
Jesus said ‘whoever does will of God is my mother, my brother, my sisters.’
They think He was just a crazy. That the things He said not true, that He
was even a madman some would say.
And then, there's a fourth view. A view that Jesus and the Scripture
want us to hold and that is that Jesus is Lord. This is the view that most, if
not all who believe in the Bible and Christianity, would ascribe to. Acts 2:36
probably one of the key verses in all of Scripture proclaims, “Therefore let
all the house of Israel know assuredly God has made this Jesus whom you
crucified Lord and Christ,” or in the words of Paul Acts 9:6, “Lord what
would you have me to do?”
So let's take some time today and think about the character and
nature of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Scripture with a twofold
purpose in mind. Number one as we think about these principles, I want to
learn more about the true nature of Jesus, so that I can gain that
knowledge and understand who He is better. I want to have a better
appreciation for Him.
A second purpose we have in mind is that I want to shape my life into
the life of Christ. I want to let Jesus truly be seen in me, Acts 4:13. I want to
let the light of Christ shine by following His teaching, Matthew 5:16.
So who was Jesus on a personal level? Jesus was a man who
believed in prayer. Notice the words of Mark 1:35 the Scripture records,
“Now in the morning having risen a long while before daylight, Jesus went
out departed to a solitary place and there prayed.” Notice the details of this,
‘in the morning He got up a great while before daylight,’ in essence He set
His clock and got up early. He went out to a solitary place. He escaped all
the hustle and bustle of life. Why did He want to get up early? Why did He
get away from everything? “And prayed.” Jesus was a man of prayer.
When you think about Christ and the prayers that He prayed throughout the
Bible, whether be John 17 and the Lord's Prayer, Matthew 6 and you have
the disciples’ prayer, His prayer to the Father Luke 22:44, all these show
that in times of difficulty He prayed. Jesus even spent all night in prayer,
one night in Mark 6. He was indeed a man who believed in the power of
You know when you look throughout the Bible at people who were
great men and women of God; they were people who realized the
importance of prayer.
Let me give you a couple examples. I want you to take your mind
back to the time of great persecution, a time when God's people are in
captivity. There is a prophet and his three friends by the name of Daniel.
They are taken from their home and placed in the area of Babylon. They
are taken in essence into a castle we might say, and there Daniel and his
friends are told, ‘Don't pray to any other gods. When you hear this sound of
the gong in essence, when you hear the sound, everybody is to pray to this
image that's been made of the King.’ What did Daniel do? Daniel heard that
sound. As was his custom in early days with his windows open toward
Jerusalem, he prayed and fasted three times that day. Did it cost Daniel
anything? You bet it did. When people found out Daniel disobeyed the king
to obey God, and when they realized prayer to his God was that important
Daniel ended up in the lion’s den.
You remember how that story went. There was not a lion in that den
that could hurt Daniel, for God took care of him. Daniel was taught from
childhood to pray. Daniel thought it was so important that he would rather
be thrown into a den with ravenous lions than not pray to God.
Paul and Silas are examples of prayer in the New Testament. The
place is Philippi. They have been put in a dark, deep dungeon. In that
dungeon, they are there for preaching and teaching about Christ. And in
essence, they hurt people's money, because they cast out an evil spirit of a
woman who was demon possessed. When they're in prison the Bible says
in Acts 16:25, ‘that they were praying and singing hymns to God and the
prisoners were listening to them.’ What a powerful impact that had! Even so
much so that God shakes the doors of the prison. They are eventually
released. The jailer obeys the gospel. He becomes a Christian. But you
think of men like Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, you think of great men and
women in the Old and New Testament- these are people of prayer.
Friend if I'm going to learn from the life of Jesus, I desperately need
to be a person of prayer. Hear the words of Luke 18:1, Jesus taught us a
powerful lesson. “Men ought always to pray and never lose heart.” What
does it mean to lose heart? To get discouraged, to get down, to almost feel
like giving up. Do you ever feel like that? Does this life ever get you down
to the point that you think about almost want to give up? What must you do
in situations like that? “Men ought always to pray.” James 5:16 tells us why,
“The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man overcomes much.” That's
why Christians ought to “Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. This
is why we ought to strive in every way to humbly approach the throne of
God. Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace
that we might find mercy and grace to help in time of need.” Friend there is
help to be had at the throne of God. It offers encouragement. I can ask God
for help. 1 Peter 5:7, “I can cast all my cares upon Him, He cares for me.”
And so when we think about Christ and His life, what a man of
prayer He was! We need to utilize the strength and the tools that God gives
us in accessing the throne of God in prayer.
Secondly when we think about Jesus and His nature and His
person, let's realize as well that Jesus was indeed a logical individual.
Jesus was a man of logic. What do we mean by logic? Sound reasoning.
We mean not making rash decisions, not acting just off of emotionalism,
not going just off a whim, or whatever society might want to do. We’re
talking about logical answers leading to a logical conclusion.
An example is in Matthew 9:12-13. Jesus said these words to them,
“Those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick.
Go and learn what this means. I desire mercy and not sacrifice. I did not
come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Now what he heard
was he had gone to the very people who needed him most: the tax
collectors, the sinners. And the supposedly the righteous people of that day
began to complain, ‘He's the master. What in the world is He doing over
there in the slums with those people?’ in essence. Jesus heard that and He
made a very logical response. You don’t go to the doctor if you feel well.
You go to the doctor if you’re sick. ‘I’m the great physician. I came to call
those who need it to repentance.’
Now you just stop and think about that. Let me give you this
illustration. Let's say you wake up and you feel great. ‘I feel great, the sun
shining, it's a wonderful day! I better call the doctor!’ Is that the way you
think? Of course not! You don't get up feeling great, sun shining, you're
ready to go out and approach today, and say ‘I better go call the doctor.’
No. Who calls the doctor? Someone who is sick. Those who are well don't
need the physician. These people thought they were well, and Jesus is
saying ‘Why do you need me? The people who are sick are the very ones
who need me.’
Friend as I think about the logical nature of Jesus as He does this
over and over again, many times He will answer questions in such a way,
the Scripture records, that didn’t even question Him anymore. They didn’t
even know how to ask any questions by the time He was through
answering. But as a think about this, the Bible teaches that God has given
me and has given you the ability to reason, to look at the logic, to
understand, and come to the correct conclusion. Isn't that what God wants
us to do? 1 Thessalonians 5:21 the Bible says, “Prove all things, hold fast
to that which is good.” God says, “Come let us reason together,” Isaiah
1:18. It doesn't anger God if we have questions, Isaiah 41:21. There were
questions that were asked, and God says ‘Ask those questions,’ in
essence. But we have got to look to the right source for the answer. What
is that source? Acts 17:11 says, “These were more fair-minded than those
who resided in Thessalonica; the Bereans were, because they searched
the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”
Friend God wants me to use the intellect, the reasoning power, that
He gave me to come to the conclusions revealed in Scripture.
Now let me just mention a couple of those. Sometimes I hear people
say, and it’s not a logical idea, but we hear people say it. We hear people
sometimes say, ‘You know God really doesn't care what church you go to.
Just go to the church of your choice and God will be happy.’ Now is that
logically what the Scripture records? Friend it’s just not. Jesus said, “I will
build My church.” Who built it? Jesus did. How many churches? His. “I will
build My church,” that's Matthew 16:18-19. The Scripture records in
Ephesians 1:21-23 that the church is the body. Church is the body, the
body is the church- those are synonyms. Ephesians 4:4 says there's one
body. 1 Corinthians 12:20, “There is but one body.” Colossians 3:15, “You
were called into one body.” Over and over again in the Scripture we hear
the statement, ‘there's one body.’ If the body is the church and there's only
one body and Jesus only promised to build one church, then logically there
is but one church.
What about as it relates to the plan of salvation? Sometimes I hear
people say things like, ‘Just say the sinner’s prayer and you will be saved.’
Friend, you know what's amazing? I don't find the sinner’s prayer in the
Bible. Billy Graham went around the country telling people just to pray the
sinner’s prayer. ‘Lord Jesus I ask you come in my heart and save me now.’
You can’t find that in the Bible anywhere. You can read from Genesis 1:1 to
the very last word of Revelation 22, you don’t find that. I hear people
sometimes say, ‘All you have to do to be saved is believe,’ and yet James
2:24 in those exact words says, “Faith only will not save.” What does one
have to do to be saved? You’ve got to believe in Jesus, John 8:24. You've
got to turn from sin, Acts 3:19. You’ve got to confess with the mouth, ‘Christ
is the Savior,’ Romans 10:10. And the Scripture teaches that you must be
immersed in water to be saved. Ananias came to Saul of Tarsus who asked
the question, ‘Lord what would you have me to do?’ And the answer was,
‘Arise and be baptized, wash away your sins calling on the name the Lord.’
And so, I want to use the reasoning power, just as Jesus did, to come the
correct conclusion as the Lord Himself also did.
When I think about the nature Jesus, let's also realize that Jesus
was a man of great power. Listen again to Mark 4:41 after Jesus has
completely calm the tumultuous sea, which the disciples thought was about
to wreck the boat, here's what's recorded. The Bible says, “And they feared
exceedingly and said to one another, ‘Who can this be that even the wind
and the sea obey Him?’” Think about many of the miracles that Jesus did:
Taking the few fish and loaves of bread and feeding 5000, raising dead
Lazarus, and you can think of a host of other miracles. Healing people from
a distance as He did with Jarius’ daughter, the woman who had the flow of
blood in Mark 6, and on and on you think about that the miracles of Jesus,
and you can see the power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was
indeed a powerful person.
Friend I would ask you to think about this with me, what was the
purpose of Jesus’ power and His miracles while He was on Earth? Was it
just to show His power? Was it just for people to look? In a sense it was to
show Jesus as the son of God. But friend the miracles and the power of
them were not just for physical gratification alone. What was the purpose of
miracles in the Bible? Mark 16:20 and Hebrews 2:3-4 clearly teaches that it
was to confirm The Word. Jesus spoke. He claimed that He was the Christ.
He claimed His message was from God. He taught people to repent and
obey the gospel. He preached that message. How did people know that
was the right message?
Let me give you another illustration. Let's say we’re living in the New
Testament day and age, and two people rise up and both of them say ‘I
have a message from God.’ One preaches one message and one preaches
a totally different message. How am I going to know beyond a shadow of
doubt who's right? This man over here said he had a message from God,
and he proved it by raising somebody from the dead. This man over here
said he had a message from God, and he took a few pieces of bread and a
few fish and he fed 5000 people. And they took up 12 baskets of
fragments. I don't have to wonder which one was from God. This man over
here, no proof. What’s the purpose of Christ’s miracles? To prove He was
the son of God. That's the purpose of signs and miracles in the New
Testament. And the sign in and of itself was never just to be a sign alone, it
always taught a lesson.
For example John chapter 11 Jesus cried out, “Lazarus come forth.”
And a man that had been dead for many days, and by that time was
stinking, came forth from the grave. What lesson did He teach? “I am the
resurrection and the life.” Jesus took those few fish and few loaves of
bread, and He turned it into enough food to feed 5000 people. What did He
teach? “I am the bread of life, follow me and you’ll never hunger or thirst
again.” The withered fig tree, when Jesus saw that fig tree and it was
claiming to produce figs. He was hungry and wanted eat something from
that it. It claimed to do something that it didn’t. Jesus cursed it. What was
the point of that? If you’re going to claim spiritual fruit, you have to produce.
If you’re going to claim you’re a child of God, you have to bear fruit. You
can't just claim it. You can't just wear the garments and look the look, you
also have to walk the walk and talk the talk. It’s not enough just to say
something, claim something; you also have to do that.
Then as we think about the nature of Jesus, I want you to see Jesus
as the perfect ideal person in the New Testament. The words of Mark 7:37
probably could not sum up the life of Christ any better. The Scripture
records in Mark 7:37, “And they were astonished beyond measure saying
‘He has done all things well. He makes both the death to hear and the mute
to speak.’” When I think about Christ that perfect person, what a great
statement in Mark 7:37. “He's done all things well.” In what way was Jesus
that ideal or perfect person? Jesus was perfect in that He never became
contaminated with sin. “God made Christ who knew no sin to be sin our
behalf. He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin,” 2
Corinthians 5:21. Hebrews 4:15, He committed no sin. 1 Peter 2:19-21 He
did everything perfectly in accomplishing the will of God. God cried out from
heaven in Matthew 17, “This is my beloved son in whom I'm well pleased.”
He pleased the father in what He did. And friend, He's the perfect example
for us to follow.
We can talk about Christ and His perfection, and we realize our own
imperfection. I realize I've sinned. You realize if you’re of an accountable
age, you've sinned. What does Christ as the perfect person do for me and
you? Friend it raises the bar. It helps me to have a goal to reach. It gives
me somebody to look up to. It gives me a type of an example that I want to
follow. I want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Do I do that perfectly? No.
We step aside sometimes. We fall from time to time. But, I know where
those steps are. I know what God wants me to do. I know the kind of life
Christ wants me to live. It indeed encourages me in that aspect.
Here's a perfect example for us to follow. It teaches us about the
nature of Christ, and it’s that Jesus was a man of proper priorities. Look in
Mark 8. I want you noticed the questions asked, the rhetorical questions
asked, by Jesus in Mark 8:36-37. Scripture records, “Jesus said, for what
will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? or
what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” What makes this Jesus
being a man of proper priorities? Jesus asked, ‘What will it profit a man if
he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what will you give in
exchange for your soul?’ Jesus held as the highest priority the soul of man.
If you could gain the whole world and you lost your soul, what good would
that do you? What could you give that would be of more value than your
soul? Friend the principle is the importance of the soul. Jesus held first
things first. He had proper priorities, and throughout His life He taught us to
do the same.
For example as I look at Jesus as a man of proper priorities, and as I
view my life and strive to live for Him, Jesus taught us, ‘Seek first the
kingdom of God.’ Where is the priority? God's kingdom. The kingdom is the
church, Matthew 16:18-19. Therefore above all else, the church should be
right at the top of my list. Jesus taught us our priority should be looking up.
Colossians 3:1, “If then we were raised with Christ, seek those things which
are above for Christ is.” Don’t look down; don't get caught up in the here
and now. Don’t let the world bog you down, rather if you've been raised
with Christ keep your gaze pointed up. Look up toward Heaven and the
goal. Jesus taught us to live is him, to live is Christ. Philippians 1:21Paul
taught us, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” There's my priority,
seeking first the kingdom, looking up, keeping my gaze focused on Heaven
living for Christ every day, and truly living as a sacrifice.
Now we mention this because as you see in Scripture and as you
look at the world around us too many times other things get in the way and
become our priority when they shouldn’t. Let me give you an example.
Luke 10:38-42 you have the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus comes to
their home. Martha there is distracted with much serving. Serving is good,
but not according to what Mary was doing. Mary set at the feet of the
Savior. She learned, and Martha became disgruntled. She said to the
Savior, ‘Tell my sister, in essence, to get in here and help me.’ Jesus said,
“Martha Martha you’re worried and troubled by many things, one thing is
needful and Mary has chosen the good part which shall not be taken away
from her.” Mary chose to set the feet of Jesus. Martha chose to go to the
kitchen to work. Both were good. Which was better? Study, sitting at the
feet of Jesus was a top priority.
Let me give another example and this is such a memorable one. Luke
12:15-21, you've got the story of a man there who had a great crop year.
Do you remember this man? He had such a great crop year, in essence, he
said to himself, ‘You've got to tear down your barns and build bigger barns
so that you can put all your crops in.’ And he did that. But you know what
he forgot? God said to that man, “You fool this night will your soul be
required of you. Then whose things will those be who you acquired?”
Here's the point, so is he who is rich but not toward God. That man had a
great crop year and there’s nothing wrong with that. He was a good
businessman, maybe he needed to build bigger ones. He said to his soul,
‘You’ve got many goods stored up for many years,’ take it easy in essence.
But you know what he never did? Thought about his soul. He thought about
his ground, he thought about his crop, he thought about working, he
probably took care of his family, but he never took care of his soul. What a
horrible priority that man had. Everything but his soul he thought about.
Friend let's take just a moment and let's think about our soul for a
second. At the Gospel of Christ and the Lord's church, we want you to
know that more than anything we’re concerned about your soul. We're not
concerned about your wallet. We’re not concerned about other things. We
are not concerned about money that is not our emphasis. More than
anything in all the world as we think about the life of Christ, we're
concerned about people’s souls.
We desperately want you to go to Heaven. If you've never obeyed
the gospel our priority is to encourage you, to motivate, and to challenge
you. Won't you become a Christian?
Friend we ask you to seriously consider, maybe you've been caught
up in the world and the wrong priorities. What’s going to happen when you
breathe your last? What's going to happen when Christ comes back and
you're not ready?
Are you a Christian? If not here's what you need to do. You
desperately need to think about your soul. And as you read the Bible, we
encourage you to believe in Jesus as the son of God. Believe with all your
heart, Acts 8:31-35. Would you be willing to repent and turn from sin? Acts
3:19 Why not make that great confession that Jesus asked? He is the
Christ the son of God, Matthew 10:32-33. And would you do what Jesus
“Unless a man is born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the
kingdom of God,” John 3:5.
We hope and encourage you to think about your soul. Join us again
as we study ‘More About Jesus.’
Study Questions for: “More About Jesus: Lesson 2”
1. In Mark 1:35, why did Jesus get up early in the morning?
2. According to Mark 1:35, what kind of place did Jesus go to to pray?
3. What must men do according to Luke 18:1?
4. What does James 5:16 tell us about prayer?
5. How should we pray according to 1 Thessalonians 5:17?
6. Why should we cast our cares upon Him according to 1 Peter 5:7?
7. According to Mark 9:12-13, who needs a doctor?
8. What does 1 Thessalonians 5:21 tell us to do?
9. According to Isaiah 41:21, does it anger God if we have questions?
10. According to Mark 16:20 and Hebrews 2:4, what was the purpose of
miracles in the Bible?