Friday, June 13, 2014

Who Is Jesus?

American Baptist Churches USA, our denomination, states, "American Baptists celebrate the fact that belief in Jesus Christ assures salvation and eternal fellowship with a loving God. The events of the first Easter week are the cornerstones of our faith: the death of Christ, in which He took upon Himself the sin of the world, and the Resurrection, which gave proof of His triumph over sin and death. Holy Scripture always has been for American Baptists the authoritative and trustworthy guide for knowing and serving the God who is revealed as Creator, Savior and Advocate."

Henri Nouwen, in this devotional book, Bread for the Journey, gives admirable insight into one facet of Jesus. On page 63, he states,

“Jesus, the Blessed One, is gentle. Even though he speaks with great fervor and biting criticism against all forms of hypocrisy and is not afraid to attack deception, vanity, manipulation, and oppression, his heart is a gentle heart. He won’t break the crushed reed or snuff the faltering wick (see Matthew 12:20). He responds to people’s suffering, heals their wounds, and offers courage to the fainthearted.

Jesus came to bring good news to the poor, sight to the blind, and freedom to prisoners (see Luke 4:18-19) in all he says, and thus he reveals God’s immense compassion. As his followers, we are called to the same gentleness.”

Christians are to follow Jesus' example, approaching the world with Jesus' gentle heart. 

Jesus also guides us to the two greatest commandments, to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. In the parable of the "Good Samaritan," we learn by the kind actions of the Samaritan, an enemy of the people of Israel, when he helped a wounded Israeli, that our neighbors are everyone who needs us. It's a very all inclusive love we are to offer. 

Jesus is a friend of sinners, a blazer of trails for us to follow, a wonderful teacher who used humor to make his points and memorable stories known as parables, a controversial character who had little patience for those who quibbled over the letter of the law while entirely missing the law's spirit, and Jesus is shown as the true shepherd of the sheep, willing to lay down his life for the beloved flock (all of us). Jesus is our savior. Through his actions he closed the gap humanity had created between us and God when we refused  to love God, who loves us. 

Now, I could go on and on. However, I suspect you might find that just overwhelming. There is no end of what might be said about Jesus. Instead, I recommend getting to know Jesus for yourself through the Bible, which tells us best who Jesus is and what he intends for us all. 

The other thing you can do is ask believers for stories of what Jesus has meant in their lives. There you will find some wonderful insights into what Jesus means to believers who have dedicated their lives to Jesus. You can find one example of such a story right here on this blog site:

Jesus wants to develop a personal relationship with you, today. Jesus is calling to you. Will you respond?

We also invite you to visit us, worship with us, and come to know Jesus through our community. We welcome you. 

For a post about Jesus changing expectations, see:

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