The Rest of the Story – Part 3

This is the third and final (for now) entry on The Rest of the Story.  We have been exploring why Jesus came.

  • We know He came to die for our sins, to ransom us from the enemy, and to show us the Father.
  • He came to restore His kingdom here on earth. He wants this world to run according to the rules of His kingdom.
  • And today, we explore that Jesus came to show us how to live.

It seems that everyone, whether they are a believer in Jesus or not, believe Jesus was a good, kind, loving person worth imitating, at least in much of what He said and did.  Even the Muslims believe he was a prophet.

Many people believe in the “Swiss cheese bible.”  There’s wisdom in the bible; they just cut out the parts they don’t like, or they dismiss parts they deem “old fashioned.”

However, we know that Jesus never goes out of style.  His Word is as true today as it was when it was written – some of it several thousand years ago.

Back to today’s topic.  Jesus came to show us how to live.

Kindness and Compassion

There are so many examples of this, but I’ll only mention a few.  At the marriage feast in Cana, they ran out of wine.  Jesus didn’t say, “Well, they’ve had enough to drink and drinking isn’t good anyways.”  He didn’t say, “Well, they should have planned better.”  Or, “Not my problem.”  No.  He cared not only for His mother, who requested He do something, but also that the parents not be humiliated in front of their friends and neighbors.  And we know the story.  He turned water into wine – good wine!

Jesus had just heard his cousin, John the Baptist, had been beheaded.  He just wanted a quiet place to grieve.  We read in Matthew 14:13-14, When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.  And then He fed over 5,000 men and their families!

He was tired and just wanted some quiet time!  That is beyond kind and compassionate!

My final example is the woman caught in adultery.  He knew it was a setup, and where was the man?  Last I heard it takes two!  He didn’t approve of the adultery, but He had compassion on the woman.  He knew she deserved to be stoned according to the Law.  But He pointed His finger (figuratively) at those pointing their fingers at her. Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. (John 8:7) Slowly, all her accusers left.  And Jesus said to her, Then neither do I condemn you, Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin. (verse 11) He didn’t minimize her sin, but He also didn’t rub her nose in it.  He does the same with us.  He calls us to repentance, without shame.  He sees us and loves us anyways.

Family is Important

First, family was created by God.  His Son was born into a family.  Jesus had parents who raised Him.  When He was twelve years old, after going to Jerusalem for Passover, Mary and Joseph couldn’t find Jesus in the group returning to Nazareth.  They frantically searched for Him. (I can only imagine!) And they found Him in the Temple talking to the religious leadersThen he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart. Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people. (Luke 2:51-52)

Side note: Maybe the way we are obedient and respectful of our parents corresponds to the amount we develop wisdom and favor.  Just a thought.  I certainly could/should have done better.

Jesus had brothers and sisters.  Scripture says Mary and Joseph didn’t “know” one another until after Jesus was born – not forever.  And these brothers didn’t always get along.  We don’t know about when He was younger; I can imagine Him wrestling and joking around with His brothers.  But we know they didn’t believe in Him until after His resurrection.  Maybe that is why Jesus, while hanging on the cross, told John – not one of the brothers – to take care of Mary.

However, we know this was not Jesus’ primary family.  His most important family relationship was with His Father, and He regularly withdrew from everything and everyone to spend time with His Abba. And He wanted more brothers and sisters.

While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”  (Matthew 12:46-50)

Obedience

Jesus only did what He saw His Abba doing.  Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. (John 5:19)

Jesus only said what He heard His Father saying.  For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.  I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” (John 12:49-50)

And of course, He was obedient “even unto death.”  In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, Abba, Father, he said, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will. (Mark 14: 36)

Jesus,

Help us to be more like you.
Teach us to be kind and compassionate.
Obedient, growing in wisdom and favor,
And thankful for family relationships,
Even when they are not perfect.
Here and in Eternity.
Abba Father,
We love you.

Amen

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