‘Following’ Jesus?

Lord from heaven book.
Would Jesus use social media? I see that a seminary professor in the U.S. asks his students not to bring laptops, phones, etc. to his lectures; not a move designed to gain popularity, but having read his reasons, a wise one, I think. For the twelve whom Jesus called to follow Him, it was the day to day contact with Him that changed their lives, as it will, albeit in a different manner, change ours too. This third of three brief posts on the theme of the power of Jesus’ personality also comes from Dr. Leon Morris…

Leon Morris writes… “In the (twenty-first) century there is no need to labour the point that almost anyone can get a following of some sort. But Jesus drew men and women of all kinds. And not only did He draw them: He held them and inspired them. They were transformed by His touch, so that they never went back again to the life they lived before they gave Him their allegiance. As they came into close touch with Jesus they came into close touch with God, and their lives were permanently enriched by the experience.
E. A. Knox put it this way: ‘there has been no other instance, nor will there be another, of one whose Personality, without effort, without self-assertion, without the barest suspicion of megalomania, it would seem almost without direct claim, left upon His immediate entourage the solemn conviction that they had been walking with God.’

From Leon Morris in The Lord From Heaven


WASTE not, WANT not?

Lord from heaven book.
And while (Jesus) was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that?   
Mark 14:3-4 ESV


So, we ask ourselves, ‘If I am not prepared, now, to give up everything for Jesus’ sake, do I really know Him, yet?’ This second of three brief posts on the theme of the power of Jesus’ personality also comes from Dr. Leon Morris…

Leon Morris writes… “Or think of the devotion (Jesus) inspired. It wasn’t simply that men and women rather liked Him. They left their homes, their friends, their means of livelihood and simply followed Him wherever He went. We are used to a feeble and tepid thing masquerading as Christian service these days; but these first followers of Christ were very much in earnest. For them following Jesus meant literally giving up all things. But they did it with joy, counting all well lost for Him. Men and women alike came to see in Him their all in all.

There were impulsive people like Peter, and visionaries like John. There were hard-headed people like Levi the tax-collector and inveterate doubters like Thomas. There were people like Andrew with a wonderful way of winning people and bringing them to his Master. There was Philip, dull and rather slow of understanding, and Simon the Zealot, energetic and ardently patriotic, with many more beside.

“People of every walk of life came to Him, people of widely differing temperament and intelligence, the hasty and the cautious, the brainy and the dull. Some came openly and some, like Nicodemus, came in secret.”

From Leon Morris in The Lord From Heaven

Missing Jesus?

Lord from heaven book.

‘Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
look upon this little child.
Pity my simplicity,
and suffer me to come to Thee.’

My mother taught me this prayer when I was old enough to repeat it after her, and, with some basic explanation of terms, to accept it as true. Imagine me thinking, then, that I understood who Jesus is! Imagine it, even now, when Jesus has turned out to be so much more besides! This first of three brief posts on the theme of the power of Jesus’ personality comes from Dr. Leon Morris…

Leon Morris writes… “We can quite easily miss the impact of the personality of Jesus, taken up as we are with traditions of the ‘Gentle Jesus, meek and mild’ variety. It is true that Jesus manifested gentleness and meekness, but this is the compassion of the strong, and not the impotence of the weak.

“I think that many people have the impression that Jesus was rather negative, a quiet, withdrawing type of person, who told beautiful stories and did not retaliate when he was ill-treated. This is true in a way, but it gives a false impression. Jesus was dynamic. His was a personality that gripped men.

“…. Yes, Jesus was gigantic. There was nothing trite or commonplace about His words, and there was nothing colourless about His deeds. Consider the forcefulness of the personality of One who made a whip of small cords and single-handed drove the greedy traders out of the temple precincts (John 2:13 ff.) Or of One who so awed a crowd of excited Galileans, thirsting for His blood and about to hurl Him over a precipice, that He simply walked through the middle of the crowd and went on His way.”

From Leon Morris in The Lord From Heaven

Signpost or distraction?

Ministers of God

How awful if people in need of a hospital were so distracted by the signs along the way that they never reached the care they truly needed. This final brief post on the theme of the Ministry of Christ also comes from Leon Morris…

“If we are to grasp New Testament teaching on the ministry it is important to be clear on the place assigned to Christ’s ministry. His is the one essential ministry. All human ministry depends on His ministry, and, indeed, is nothing more than a continuation of it. Christian ministers must take their starting point in what Christ has done, and they can do no more than minister His gospel to men. Their task is to point men to Christ that He may meet their need. As T. W. Manson puts it, ‘The ministry of Jesus is the standard and pattern of the Church’s task; but, more than that, the Church’s task is the continuation of the ministry of Jesus…All our endeavours are to be understood as ways in which the Risen Lord continues his work in the world.’”

From Leon Morris in Ministers of God.

Is it Jesus?

Ministers of GodWhen the apostles were arrested for preaching in the temple, again, (after their miraculous release from prison – Acts 5) they responded to further demands that they stop preaching, in Jesus’ name, ‘all the words of this Life’ (Acts 5:20) saying, ‘…we are witnesses to these things and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.’ (Acts 5:29, 32). When Jesus was persecuted by religious authorities for healing on the Sabbath, he replied to his accusers, “My Father is working … and I am working.” (John 5:17 ESV). The apostles, in faithfully following their Lord, recognized the true source of their ministry.

This second of three brief posts on the theme of the Ministry of Christ also comes from Leon Morris…

“When the ministers of Christ work it matters little that certain men are saying or doing certain things. But it matters very much that Christ is working in and through them.

As G. W. Bromley puts it…

It is Jesus who speaks when the word of the Gospel is truly preached. It is Jesus who is proffered and who blesses when the sacraments are rightly administered. It is Jesus who heals or helps when practical assistance is extended to the needy. It is Jesus who bears and endures when persecution or hardship is imposed and accepted. It is Jesus who rules when spiritual discipline is exercised….it is He Himself who is the true Minister.’

“Whenever there is a stress on the human agents there is a perversion of New Testament teaching, and there is an ineffective ministry. Such a ministry may indeed be successful by human criteria, but it will always be a failure in the place that matters, namely in the souls of men.”

From Leon Morris in Ministers of God.

Ministry 101?

“There is but one essential ministry, the miMinisters of Godnistry of Christ. All valid human ministry is a reflection of that.” This first of three brief posts on the theme of the Ministry of Christ comes from Leon Morris…

“The really essential thing about the New Testament view of the ministry is that the one basic ministry is that of Christ Himself. Ministers in the Church are never regarded as exercising a ministry by virtue of any inherent power or right of their own. All that they do they do only because of what Christ has done for them. More than that, what they do they do, not only on the basis of that work of Christ, but as a continuation of it. Thus Paul can speak, not of the work that he himself is doing, but of the work that Christ is doing through him. ‘For I will not dare’, he says, ‘to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me…’ (Romans 15:18).

“The outside observer might feel that Paul was engaged in some work of ministry. And in a way of course he was. But to the apostle the essential thing was that Christ was doing the work of the ministry.

“In the particular instances of which he speaks, Christ, not Paul, was the real minister, though it is true that He was choosing to work through Paul. This will be found to be consistent with the thought of the whole New Testament. There is but one essential ministry, the ministry of Christ. All valid human ministry is a reflection of that.” 

From Leon Morris in Ministers of God.