Cover to Cover #likeJesus

From cover to cover, the story of the Bible is the story of Jesus.  It’s all about Jesus!

John MacArthur completes his harmony of the gospels, One Perfect Life, with New Testament reflections on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Before weaving the four gospels together into a single narrative, MacArthur began with Old Testament reflections on Christ in Creation, the Fall of man, the giving of the Law and the Passover lamb, and then many prophecies on the coming of the Messiah.

Now after completing the harmonized narrative of the Gospels, MarArthur pulls together verses from Acts, the writings of Paul, Peter, James, Jude and the book of Revelation.  With these he focuses on the themes of The Centrality of Christ’s Death, The Victory of Christ’s Resurrection, The Wonder of Christ’s Ascended Glory, The Certainty of Christ’s Return, Salvation by Grace Alone through Faith Alone in Christ Alone, and finally Today is the Day of Salvation.

The only other theme I wish MacArthur would have included is Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

So, so many verses that I love here, but I get goosebumps whenever I read Revelation 19:11-16.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and wages war.  His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but He Himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God.  The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  Coming out of His mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”  He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.  On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. 

Whoa!  Love it!

I also love that MacArthur ends with the doxology from Jude 24-25, a fitting climax of worship and honor for who Jesus is and what He has done for us, as revealed in the gospels!

To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy—  to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!  Amen.

The story of the Bible should in fact be the story of our lives.

IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS!

 

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit:  SONLIFE.COM

Full Nets #likeJesus

After the Resurrection, Jesus sent word for the disciples to meet up with Him in Galilee.

In One Perfect Life, John MacArthur comments that word of this meeting spread and that is why 500 gathered to see and hear Jesus (1 Cor 15) after the Resurrection.  MacArthur believes this gathering was on the mountain where Jesus gave the Great Commission.

But before this, maybe because the disciples were back in Galilee wondering when they would see Jesus again, Simon Peter resorted to what was most familiar for him and took the others fishing with him.

This event looks and feels very similar to the event in Luke 5 near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.  (Much like the two accounts that bookend Jesus’ ministry of Him chasing the money changers out from the temple,.)

In Luke 5, Jesus climbed in Peter’s boat after a night of fishing.  Peter had caught nothing.  Jesus told him to cast his net again.  After heeding Jesus’ advice, the catch was so large, both his and his partner’s boats were threatened with sinking.  Then Jesus told Peter, “From now on you will catch men!”

Then in John 21, we read that again the disciples had caught nothing.  Jesus called out from the shore and told them to cast their net on the other side.  Just like earlier, their nets were full.  It’s a large catch.  153 fish.

Why the specific number?  It certainly tells us that the writer, knowing a minute detail like this, was likely an eyewitness to the event.  A ministry friend has told me that at that time in history, there were 153 nations on the earth, so the catch represented to gospel going to the ends of the earth.  I love that!  (I’ve not been able to verify it though)

While back on shore after the miraculous catch of fish, Jesus asked Peter 3 times (mirroring his 3 denials), “Do you love me?”  Each time when Peter said “yes,” Jesus told him to “feed my sheep” or “feed my lambs.”

Just like the call in Luke 5 to “fish for men,” here Jesus was re-confirming Peter’s call to lead the church.

Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me more than these?”   What does “more than these” mean?  Could Jesus be pointing to the pile of fish he’s just caught, and this is Jesus way of asking, “Peter, are you going to go back to what is comfortable, fishing, or are you going to finish what we’ve started and live out your call?”

A few simple reminders on evangelism from Luke 5 and John 21…

  • We can fish for a long time, catch nothing, and be ready to lay down our nets.  Don’t give up!
  • We’re more effective fishing when we listen to Jesus.  God’s Spirit will lead us to whom we should speak to, when we should speak, and what we should say.
  • Sometimes the time, place and circumstances don’t make sense, but Jesus says it’s time to drop our nets.   Just listen!
  • Sometimes successful evangelism is as simple as going to the “other side of the boat”  and being willing to try something different.
  • There is the potential for incredible fruit (nets breaking, boats sinking, 153 large fish) when we follow Jesus.  “The Harvest is Great!”

I want to be faithful to His call on my life.  I want to trust Jesus to fill the nets and overflow the boats in my life and ministry!

 

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit:  SONLIFE.COM

Unashamed #likeJesus

While Peter denied Jesus and most of the other disciples scattered at the crucifixion, others surprisingly demonstrated bold faith during Christ’s suffering.

Consider Nicodemus, a leading Pharisee.  In John 3, we see him come to Jesus “at night.”  He comes in secret.  He doesn’t want to be seen.  He has a reputation to protect.  He could get in trouble aligning himself with Jesus.

Jesus’ words, “You must be born again” and “For God so loved the world” must have reached Nicodemus’ heart.  He appeared to be a changed man.

John 7:51 records him asking the other Pharisees who are accusing and condemning Jesus, “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”

Then, after Jesus had been crucified, Nicodemus showed up again.  John makes sure to point out, “And Nicodemus, who first came to Jesus by night…”  This same Nicodemus, who came in secret, is now there in public “bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.”  At great personal cost, both to his reputation and to his bank account, Nicodemus stood up and stood out.

Another man, Joseph of Arimathea, was also there.  He iswasa rich man.  He was a prominent council member.  Did he do business in Jerusalem?  He too was well known and had a reputation to protect.

Of Joseph, we read that he “was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, a good and just man and a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews.”

“A disciple of Jesus, but secretly…”  Isn’t that an oxymoron?!  How can we follow Jesus secretly?  Believe in secret, maybe.  But a disciple, a follower, in secret?  Joseph must have been “busting at the seems” wanting to come out and let the world know.

And so it is that we find the secret disciple stepping out of the shadows.  “Coming and taking courage, this man went to Pilate and asked that he might take the body of Jesus.”

At great personal cost, both to his reputation with the Jews and to his own safety in approaching Pilate, not to mention giving his newly hewn family burial cave, Joseph stood up and stood out.

Joseph and Nicodemus each had something to lose, but they counted the cost, pushed all their chips to the center of the table, and went ALL IN for Jesus.

What a great example for us of the devotion, commitment and sacrifice of a Christ-follower.  Like Nicodemus and Joseph, each day I want to stand up and stand out for Jesus!

 

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit:  SONLIFE.COM