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John 10:27 – My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.- A shepherd watching over his sheep was a common sight in Christ’s time and place. The new testament often refers to Christ as our shepherd. The old testament often refers to God as a shepherd also. As David (who as a boy was a shepherd himself) said in Psalm 23:1- The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.- and the prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 40:11 – He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms ,and carries them close to his heart; – I think that Christ used this to illustrate his relationship to his followers because it was simple and easy to understand, and this is one of the ways he wants us to think of him. Christ can make this claim because he is the only way to have all our sins forgiven and enter the heavenly kingdom, and he invites everyone to think of him as their shepherd. What About Jesus?
Matthew 13:47 – “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. Matthew 13:48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. Matthew 13:49 So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous… This is just one of the many illustrations that Jesus used to describe the kingdom of heaven in the book of Matthew. The world is described as a sea, and the people in the world are described as fishes caught in a net, who will be sorted out on the last day. Jesus will take those who are his into the kingdom of heaven, and cast away those who are not. He promises that anyone who wants can be included in the kingdom of heaven in his word in John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. We all need to know Christ as our Savior and ask God to be included with the “good fish”, because he is going to catch us in his net and we will be sorted with one group or the other. What About Jesus?
Acts 16:25-26 (NIV) – About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. – It didn’t look to good for the Apostle Paul and his helper Silas at first. They were in prison for preaching about Christ, probably chained to a wall and I’m guessing the food wasn’t so good (if there was any). But God released them so they could continue preaching the Gospel, and he freed everyone else in the prison also. While we don’t all preach the Gospel, God can release us from the prison cell and chains of our sinfulness and separation from him. He accomplished this by sending his son Jesus to be a sacrifice for our sin and reconcile the world to himself. When Christ hung on the cross, all our sin was put on him, and all his righteousness was put on us (Romans 8:1 – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,) “The world” regards this as foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God) but those with faith in Christ know he is the only way out of prison. What About Jesus?
Daniel 7:13-14 – “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. – This scripture was written hundreds of years before Christ walked on the Earth. And people should have known who he was, yet few he came into contact with seemed to have a full grasp of who he really was. To many he was little more than an outspoken cult leader who was teaching differently than the mainstream religious leaders were, and he ate and slept like a regular person did. There were even times when some of Christ’s disciples seemed to be unsure of who he really was. Maybe it was Christ’s lifestyle that threw some people off. He certainly didn’t seem like the Messiah they were expecting, and he even described himself as what we would call homeless (Matthew 8:20 – Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”) and he often acted like a servant to people (Philippians 2:7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.) Christ led a simple life because he chose to. When we look at Daniel 7:13-14 we see “another” Christ, one that shows us what he is really like, with authority and everlasting dominion. After his resurrection Christ went back to his heavenly home to be with the father he was with before he came here to be the Savior of the world (John 1:1-2, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.) Christ left his throne to live here as a common man and die on a cross to provide the free gift of eternal life to anyone who will take it, something no one else could do. What About Jesus?
Matthew 22:1-3 (NIV) – Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. – A banquet can be thought of as a kind of formal party. With the holidays coming up many of us will be receiving invitations to parties and will be deciding whether to attend. One party we all need to go to is the one that God is throwing, and the best thing about it is it never ends. The Israelites in this parable got an invitation to the king’s (God) banquet for his son (Christ) but declined to go because Christ didn’t fit their idea of what the Messiah would be like, an idea that still stands today (the apostle Paul talks about the Israelites in Romans 10:2 – For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge). Christ told them their ideas were wrong and that he was the one they were waiting for but they wouldn’t listen (John 8:24 -I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”) Replacing God’s word with our own ideas is spiritually dangerous because it is our nature to always be wrong about him. God’s word is the only place we can get to know him. In his word is the story of his son Jesus who died for the sins of the world because he was the only one qualified to do so, and all people need to come to him for salvation because it can be found no where else. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. What About Jesus?
John 20:29 (NIV) – Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” – I think that John 20:29 can be thought of as the basis for the entire Christian church on earth, because it talks about the faith and blessedness of anyone who believes in Christ without having seen him. God has forbidden us to make images of him, and of course there are no photos or accurate portraits of him that we can point to. But we know he’s there, that’s what faith is all about. Having faith in God is the “linchpin” of belief in him and something that he demands (Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.) According to the Bible this doesn’t have to be a strong unwavering faith, it can be a weak faith like the apostle Paul talks about in Romans 14:1 – (Accept the one whose faith is weak,,,). There are no high and mighty requirements for coming to God, and sometimes we’re going to have struggles, but accepting God and his son Jesus as our Savior requires only simple faith. What About Jesus?