Jesus interrupted the funeral procession of a widow's only son because he had compassion for the woman. He raised the boy back to life and gave him back to her mother. Out of grief, despair, and death, Jesus brought help and hope. Jesus is help and hope for those in need.
In John 9, Jesus restores sight to a blind man. This infuriates the religious leaders, who call the man's parents in to testify, to see if they might find some way of accusing Jesus as a fraud. His parents refuse to testify because they are afraid of being put out of the synagogue.
The religion of the Temple is a religion based on fear, control, rules and regulations. It is not a way to God. Jesus contrast himself with this failed religion, calling himself the door and the good shepherd. His sheep know him, hear his voice, follow him, and receive protection from the Father.
We know Jesus, hear his voice, and follow him through daily walking with him in prayer and fellowship, seeking to bear witness of his works to others, so they may be brought into the fold.
The purpose of a gospel is to make known the person and ministry of Jesus. But what happens next? What does the church do? Matthew and Mark end with a call to mission, for believers to go into the world and make disciples. John ends with the call to feed Jesus' sheep, to continue the discipling ministry that Jesus had with his own disciples, to take that ministry to others. Luke ends differently because his gospel flows into another book, Acts, that demonstrates the actual ministry of the church (through the apostles) that was commanded at the end of the other gospels. Thus, Luke's *ending* is also a *beginning*.
But it, too, deals with the questions of how to make Jesus known in the world. Luke demonstrates three ways by which Jesus is made known among us, and by which we can make him known among all nations: in Christ-centered testimony and teaching, around the Lord's Table, and in the text of the Bible.
In Luke 10, a lawyer tried to trap Jesus by asking a question about what he must do to inherit eternal life. Is this is a question we ask ourselves? Or do we assume our relationship with God and then focus on doing whatever it is we want to do?
The lawyer made this mistake, and he was humbled when Jesus pointed out his hypocrisy. Let us ask ourselves regularly whether we truly love God, and let us work diligently to line ourselves up with the life God desires.
Signs are helpful because they point the way. Without traffic signs, accidents would occur. Without highway signs, we may not know which exits to take, or even if we are on the correct highway.
In Isaiah 7, King Ahaz is fearful of an alliance that is forming against him. To reassure him, the Lord sends Isaiah out to meet him and tell him that the alliance will not be successful. The Lord tells Ahaz to ask for a sign that the Lord has spoken the truth, Ahaz curiously decides not to. Thus, the Lord provides his own sign, which signals the truth of his promise to Ahaz but also testifies about a future moment, when a virgin will give birth to a son who will be named Immanuel.
This sign is fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25 picks up this prophecy and, in naming Jesus as “Immanuel,” demonstrates how God's plan has been fulfilled. The promised “son” had arrived, and “he will save his people from their sins.” God's deliverance is found in his sign to his people, a baby who grew up to become the Savior of the world.
In Acts 3, Peter healed a lame man in the name of Jesus and preached the gospel by pointing to the power in Jesus' name. He preached that Jesus was the prophet foretold by Moses and that he needed to be listened to. Thousands converted to faith in Jesus.
But for their trouble, Peter and John were arrested. So in their defense, Peter preached another sermon to the religious authorities, this time calling attention to the name of Jesus yet again, but proclaiming that though they, the authorities, crucified Jesus, God raised him from the dead. Jesus is the cornerstone of God's plan. They rejected him...but God accepted him.
In this early portion of Hebrews, the writer focuses on Jesus and puts Jesus forward as a "soul anchor" to tie your life to.
When Jesus used ceremonial jars that were involved with rituals of purification and when he cleansed the temple and prophesied about his body as the temple, he showed that he, and he alone, is the access point to God. No longer were people dependent on complex rituals and locations to find their way to God.
The way to God is not Jesus + something else, but Jesus alone; Jesus only.
In this passage, John provides a pattern for outreach and evangelism, modeled through the lives of John the Baptist, Jesus, and Jesus' followers.
First, John the Baptist witnesses to Jesus. Then, those he witnessed to begin to follow Jesus. Upon being questioned by them, Jesus invites them to "come and see." They do, and then they go out and invite others to also "come and see."
When we witness to others about Jesus--whether in word or deed--we are offering an invitation to "come and see" him.
Jesus is the complete and final revelation of God. He reveals God as the Word, the life and light of the world, and God's grace and truth. Our challenge is to shape our lives around Jesus, by subjecting ourselves to his word (teaching), following the path he illuminates for us, and growing in loyalty and grace by abiding in him.
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