What Does Jesus Say? (And Should I Care?)
Yesterday, I got to teach the older kids class at our church as we continued through our study in the book of Mark.
Even better, we were studing the story of The Transfiguration (Mark 9:1–13).
Here's the basics:
- Jesus goes up on a mountain with Peter, James and John...
- And... "He [Jesus] was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them." (Mark 9:2–3)
- And... Then Moses and Elijah are there speaking with him...
- And... Just as Peter is starting to say they should make tents for them and stay a while with them...
When Suddenly... This Happens:
And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only." -Mark 9:7–8
Even for Jesus' ministry where "the miraculous" was synonymous with "just another Monday" (they were common)... THIS was uncommon.
In all of Jesus' ministry, there were only two other times where the Father audibly spoke from Heaven. Once at His baptism (Matthew 3:17) and once when Jesus was publicly (John 12:28).
This Is A BIG Deal.
The Father felt it very important, to tell us something.
And what was that?
That Jesus isn't just another prophet, miracle worker, or man greatly used by God. Jesus is His Son. And we should listen to Him.
Jesus Is God. And When God Says Something, We Should Listen.
Think about it this way:
- If I called you a liar, it might hurt, but there's no real consequence...
- But if your boss calls you a liar, there could be consequences...
- And if a judge calls you a liar, there will be even greater consequences...
Basically: the level of authority someone has over you, the greater their words matter.
Sometimes, we give someone authority over us by simply valuing them and caring what they say. Other times, their authority over us is given to them by someone else (such as your direct boss being given authority by the company you work for).
So, where does God fall into this?
- He created us (Genesis 1:1)
- Everything we are, have and see is His (Job 41:11, 1 Corinthians 10:26)
- He is the final Judge of our entire existence (Ezekiel 18:4, Luke 12:20, James 4:12)
God's Words Matter... A Lot.
And, if they matter so much...
Then what does He say?
The God Who spoke the universe into being...
Has said things to you in His Word.
Have you been listening?
We are told many things each and every day,
Some of them are truth,
Others are not.
And we would do good to follow Paul's instructions:
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." -Romans 12:2
Renewing Our Minds
The idea of "renewing our minds" is simply this:
Correcting the lies with truth.
So, as we did in the kid's class yesterday, I encourage you to write down everything you're told, and more importantly, what you believe. The good, the bad, the truth, the lies and everything in-between. A few examples might be:
- "You need "X" to be successful or happy"
- "This life is all there is, so make the most of it"
- "What's most important is the experiences you have and people you meet"
- "If you try hard enough, you can accomplish anything"
- "Your life is what you make of it"
- "What goes around, comes around"
Write a list of the thoughts, words, ideas and beliefs you hold most closely...
And see what Jesus has to say about them.
Does He confirm them?
Or deny them?
Because, as we've already alluded to...
What He Says Is All That Matters
To help you get started, here's a list of some of the things God/Jesus says about some of the most important things we experience in life. May you take them to heart and be encouraged, corrected and renewed as you seek what God says about life.
- Jesus wants you to do good to those who are unkind to you
1 Peter 3:9 "Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing."
- Jesus wants us to do our best to be at peace with others
Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
- Jesus wants us to be encouraging to others
1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
- Jesus doesn’t want us to gossip
Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
- Jesus wants us to love God with all of our lives
Matthew 22:37–38 "And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment."
- Jesus wants us to love others as ourselves
Matthew 22:39 "And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
- Jesus wants us to live holy lives that obey Him
1 Thessalonians 4:3a "For this is the will of God, your sanctification"
- Jesus won’t give up on us
Philippians 1:6 "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
- Jesus has prepared good things for us to do
Ephesians 2:10 "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
- Jesus wants us to have faith in Him
Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."
- Jesus can help us do good, AND He can help us want to do good
Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."
- Jesus wants us to not be anxious
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
- We can go to Jesus for comfort
2 Corinthians 1:3–5 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too."
- We can go to Jesus for wisdom
James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."
- We can go to Jesus for help
2 Corinthians 12:9 "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
- Jesus is working all things for your good, and you have purpose
Romans 8:28 "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
- Jesus has a plan for your life
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
- Jesus opposes the prideful and gives grace to the humble
James 4:6 "But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
- Jesus has given you the ability to do everything He has told you to do… today
2 Corinthians 9:8 "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work."
- Jesus empowers you to overcome any temptation
1 Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
- Jesus is with you through all of life
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:13 "For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
- Jesus will make all things right (He will get revenge)
Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
- You can go to Jesus with your problems
1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."
- Jesus can give you peace
John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
- Northing can separate you from Jesus’ love
Romans 8:38–39 "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
- Jesus wants you to obey your parents
Ephesians 6:1 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."
- You are valued by Jesus
1 Peter 1:18–19 “Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot."
- Our hearts are deceitful and wicked
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
- Jesus wants you to trust in Him, not in yourself
Jeremiah 17:5,7 “Cursed is the man who trusts in man… Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD."