WHAT IS JESUS LIKE?
This morning, we will continue in our series on Jesus by examining the third point.
III. WHAT IS JESUS LIKE?
1. The Jesus who meets us in the pages of the four Gospels is very different from the picture many of us have of Him. When I observe the Gospels, I notice that:
a. Jesus is nothing like the "gentle Jesus meek and mild" of the children's stories.
(1) As we will see in a minute, Jesus is full of love and compassion and He demonstrates His love for mankind time and time again. However, some people feel that Jesus was the kind of person who was always gentle and meek and never stood up against the things that were contrary to the Will of God.
(2) But when I look in the Bible, I see a man who not only took time to nurture and love the little children, but He also was a man who made a whip out of cords and drove all of the corrupt money changers out of the temple courts. I also see a man who stood up against the false teachings of the religious leaders of His day.
(3) I see a man who loved people so much that He confronted their sin to help them have a better relationship with God. He once told an adulturatous women in (Jn. 8), to "go your way and from now on sin no more." There is no doubt that Jesus was gentle and meek, however, He was also very direct and stood up for the truth.
b. Likewise, Jesus is not the miserable holy man who never laughs. He is not the fearsome judge who watches to see if we are enjoying ourselves and then tells us to stop. Nor is He the lifeless figure in the stained-glass window. Jesus is radiantly alive and loves each and every one of us.
There is a great deal we would like to know about Jesus that we are simply not told. We do not even know what He looked like. He was a Palestinian Jew, and as such the color of His skin would be olive, and His eyes brown. Palestinian Jews had black hair and usually wore it long and carefully groomed. They valued a full beard. His mother tongue was Aramaic, a dialect of Hebrew, which He would have spoken with a northern accent common to Galilee where He was brought up. But He could speak Greek and probably some Latin and was thoroughly at home in the Hebrew Scriptures.
He wore a sleeveless undergarment with a girdle, the customary cloak and sandals, and carried a staff on journeys. That is all we know about His appearance or can guess with confidence.
Although the Gospels talk very little about what Jesus looked like, they tell us a lot about His Character.
THIS MORNING WE WILL EXPLORE THE PAGES OF SCRIPTURE AND NOTICE THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST.
I. FIRST, JESUS LIVED A LIFE OF LOVE.
1. Jesus' whole life and ministry were bathed in love, tireless, outgoing unselfish love.
a. He loved His friends.
(1) He loved them even though at times they disappointed Him (like the time they couldn't stay awake and keep watch while Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane Mk. 14:37). He loved them even though at times they denied even knowing Him (like Peter).
Despite His friends lack of perfection and devotion, Jesus loved them with every fiber of His being. For John 13:1 says, that Jesus "loved them to the end."
How much love and devotion do you extend to your friends? Do you love them despite their shortcomings? Are you loyal to them? Do you treasure them the way Jesus treasured His friends? His example should inspire us to shower more love to our friends.
b. He loved the sick.
(1) On one occasion, He touched a man with leprosy and made Him clean (Mt. 8:3). How many of you purposely and knowingly reached out and toughed someone who had a rash? By Him touching a man with leprosy, would be like us touching a person with an infectious rash. Jesus reached out to the sick, dying, and the diseased ridden people.
How long has it been since you have visited, hugged, and encouraged someone who is ill? What kind of sacrifices do you make to reach out to those who are in need and afflicted with illnesses? My friends Jesus' example should invigorate us to get out of these seats and spread our love to those in need.
c. He loved the unlovable and taught His disciples to do the same.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? “And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt. 5:43-48).
(1) The one sentence that glows from this passage is the one that says, "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?" You see it is easy to love those who love you back, but the Lord is telling us that we are to love those who do not love us back. We are to love even our enemies.
(2) If we are going to follow the Word of God, we have a choice to make. Are we going to love our hate our enemies?
Dr. Victor Frankl, the bold, courageous Jew who became a prisoner during the Holocaust, endured years of indignity and humiliation by the Nazis before he was finally liberated. At the beginning of his ordeal, he was marched into a gestapo courtroom. His captors had taken away his home and family, his cherished freedom, his possessions, even his watch and wedding ring. They had shaved his head and stripped his clothing off his body. There he stood before the German high command, under the glaring lights being interrogated and falsely accused. He was destitute, a helpless pawn in the hands of brutal, prejudiced, sadistic men. He had nothing. No, that isn't true. He suddenly realized there was one thing no one could ever take from him -- just one. Do you know what it was?
Dr. Frankl realized he still had the power to choose his own attitude. No matter what anyone would ever do to him, regardless of what the future held for him, the attitude choice was his to make. Bitterness or forgiveness. To give up or to go on. Hatred or hope. Determination to endure or the paralysis of self-pity.
(3) Even though Jesus endured many blows form His enemies, He never stopped loving them. He like Dr. Frankl chose to love the unlovable and we must do the same.
2. The love Jesus taught, the love He exhibited, was to be the supreme hallmark of His disciples.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn. 13:34, 35).
3. Tragically, we as His followers have fallen short of such love. Yet, it is never too late to start Christening ourselves with the characteristic of love. And Jesus actually did love with the highest love of all. He loved, not some of the time; all of the time. Not some people; but all people. That is what Jesus was and is like.
II. SECOND, JESUS LIVED A LIFE OF OBEDIENCE.
1. I think that (John 8:29) sums up the obedient life of Jesus.
Jesus said, "…for I always do what pleases Him.”
2. Jesus left the comfort of heaven to come to earth to fulfill His Father's will.
a. Even though Jesus was the Lord of Lords, the king of kings, the savior of the world, He still humbled Himself and became obedient to His Father. He came to earth as a servant although He had every right to come as a sovereign.
3. Every day that He walked this earth, He lived a life of obedience. He submitted to the will of His father, and He gave His father the very best He had to offer.
Jason and Tommy didn't have a typical relationship as brothers. Jason was 14 and Tommy was 10. Jason wasn't just Tommy's older brother though; he was his best friend in the whole world. While most older brothers wanted nothing to do with their younger brothers, Jason would always try to invite Tommy to participate in his activities. Tommy loved his big brother. They were true pales.
Besides his brother Jason, Tommy didn't have many friends. Tommy often wondered what he would do without his older brother. You see, little Tommy had been born with a cardiopulmonary disease. This had stunted Tommy's growth and had robbed him of his youthful energy. It wasn't that he didn't want to play baseball, tag and all the games that other boys his age played, it's just that he got tired real quick when he did.
Knowing this, the other boys never wanted Tommy to be on their team. They would fight over whose team Tommy would have to be on and he was often labeled as a wimp or sissy by the healthier boys.
But things were different around his older brother Jason. Sometimes Tommy and Jason would play their own game of baseball. Jason was a good athlete and everyone wanted Jason on his or her team. However, Jason would only consent to play if they would also let Tommy be on his team. If the other boys said no, then Jason and Tommy would both leave and do something together.
School had just ended and it was summer now. Curt, Nathan and Ron wanted to go on an overnighter in the mountains. Naturally, they wanted Jason to come along also.
"Let's go ask him if he can go tomorrow" Ron spoke up.
Curt was quick to respond. What if he wants Tommy to tag along? It will slow us an down, and we don't want to spend the whole time hiking to the campsite." Nathan was the first to speak to Jason at his house. 'Hey, Jason, the three of us are going on an overnighter up Adam's Canyon. Are you with us?"
'Sure I am. Jason was excited. "I'll have Tommy's pack and my own ready to go tonight," he said.
The three boys looked at each other, wondering who would tell Jason that Tommy wasn't welcome to come. Finally, Curt spoke up. 'Hey, ah, Jason... this hike is just for the four of us. Tommy would slow us all down. Nothing against Tommy, but why don't you leave him home this time?'
Jason saw Tommy through the corner of his eye. Tommy was standing by his bedroom door, listening intently to the whole conversation. He was bravely trying to hold back the tears of rejection.
Jason stood up and said 'I'm sorry, guys, but if Tommy isn't welcome then I'm not going either. You guys have fun." 'Hey, wait a minute,' said Ron. 'It's okay with me if Tommy comes. We can leave a little bit earlier to give us more time."
The guys agreed on a departing time for the next morning, and left.
Six o'clock came early the next morning. Tommy was ready by 5:30 A.M. This was to be his first real hike. Within the first quarter mile, it was obvious that Tommy's progress would be slow. He wanted so much to please Jason by walking fast, but the faster he walked, the sooner he would have to rest. The other boys were anxious to get to the campsite, and often found themselves leaving Jason and Tommy behind.
"Here, Tommy, my pack is light. Let me carry yours, too," Jason said, with concern for his brother.
Embarrassed, Tommy gave Jason his heavy burden. "I'm sorry," said Tommy. "I'm doing the best I can."
"I know, Tommy, " Jason said as he rustled Tommy's hair. After two miles, Tommy was struggling with fatigue. He was sweating profusely and fighting for air. His chest felt tight, too. "I'll go a long way before I stop to rest this time, thought Tommy.
The other boys were out of sight now.
After five more minutes of walking, Tommy fell to his knees. "I gotta stop," whimpered Tommy, with tears of frustration cutting clear streams through the dust on his face.
"That's okay," said Jason. "Take all the time you need." Jason was obviously worried as he saw Tommy struggling for breath.
"Jason. Something is happening inside my chest. It hurts awful bad." Tommy was slumping over on the ground in pain. Jason slipped the packs off his back and rolled Tommy over. Tommy's tense body relaxed suddenly as he looked up into Jason's eyes that had tears now, too.
"I love you an awful lot, Jason." The struggle was over now. Tommy's little body had given up. The tears come freely from Jason's eyes as he tightly hugged his brother. "I'll miss you, Tommy," Jason softly whispered.
Forty-five minutes later, the tears were still trickling from Jason's eyes when the other boys returned.
"Hey, Jason, we thought you guys got--" Ron stopped short in the middle of his comment. A chill ran down the boys' backs. Jason was supporting Tommy's silent head in his lap, caressing the tear-stained face of his little brother.
"Is he…is he dead, Jason?" Ron asked tenderly.
"Yeah," Jason said, as another tear fell quietly from his eyes to Tommy's face. "He was doing his very best for me."
4. Brethren, as far as I know this was a true story. Tommy loved his big brother so much that he did everything he could to please him. Although Tommy had a disease that robbed him of his energy, he wanted to walk a little faster, a little harder, and a little farther to please his brother. He gave his brother his best, even though it cost him his life.
5. When I look at Jesus Christ, I see that He did the same thing. Jesus died on the cross, brethren, not only to save mankind from their sins, but He died to please His father. He loved His father so much that He was willing to walk a little faster, a little harder, and a little farther to the cross in order to glorify Him.
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work" (Jn. 4:34).
6. How many of you present in this auditorium today are giving your hearts and lives to the Will & Purpose of God? How many of you are giving your total allegiance and obedience to the true and living God? How many of you are taking up your cross and following Jesus' example of servanthood & obedience?
7. My friends, today, we should all make a covenant before our God and before our brothers and sisters in Christ, that pledges to set our own Wills aside and press on to do the will of our father. We need to start devoting our full attention on fulfilling the desires of God and stop devoting our full attention on fulfilling our own wants and needs.
(a) Our covenant should read: "Our food is to do the will of Him who sent us and to finish His work."
1. When I sort through the Gospels, I marvel at the life that Jesus led. He was loving and He was obedient.
2. I would like to encourage you to read through the Gospels and discover for yourself what Jesus was like. When you do, I promise that you will admire, appreciate, and love Him more and more.
3. This morning, if the Lord has inspired you to respond to His invitation, please come as we stand and sing.