Archives For Jesus

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Summary of Revelation

B. Text of Revelation 1:9-20

9I, John—your brother and partner in oppression, royal reign, and expectation of Jesus—was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and testimony of Jesus. 10I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day and I heard a great noise behind me like a trumpet sound 11saying: “Write into a book what you see. Then, send it to the seven churches. Send it to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” 12I turned to see the voice which was speaking to me, and when I turned I saw seven gold lampstands. 13In the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man clothed in a robe, wearing a gold belt around his chest. 14His head and hair were white like wool and snow. His eyes were like flames of fire. 15His feet were like fine bronze as if they had been refined in a furnace. His voice was like the sound of lots of water. 16He was holding seven stars in his right hand, a sharp double-edged sword was coming out of his mouth, and his outward appearance was shining like the sun in his glory. 17When I saw him I fell at his feet like I was dead, but he put his right hand on me saying, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One. I was dead—but look—now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys of death and Hades! 19Then, write what you have seen, both what is happening and what is about to happen after this. 20This is the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are angels of the seven churches and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” (Rev 1:9-20) 1

John's Vision of the Son of Man (Rev 1:9-20)

Bamberg Apocalypse: “The Son of Man and the Seven Lampstands” (1000 AD)

II. A VOICE TELLS JOHN TO WRITE REVELATION (1:9-11)

A. The Identity and Location of John (v. 9)

“I, John—your brother and partner in oppression, royal reign, and expectation of Jesus—was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” ( Rev 1:9) 2

John claiming to be exiled to Patmos matches what we know about first century life. Additionally, the islands of Pontia, Gyara, and Seriphus were places that people were exiled to (Charles, Revelation of St. John, 21). Furthermore, the island of Patmos was one of three populated islands (Leros, Lipsos, and Patmos). In other words, Patmos was not a “Gilligan’s Island” type of deal. It had people, a culture, and a ruler.

LEADERSHIP MOMENT – Punishment for Godliness Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own
  2. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own

This weekend we celebrated Good Friday (in remembrance of Christ’s death) and Easter (in remembrance of Christ’s resurrection). Jesus Christ came to earth as God’s Son was to serve as a “slave” or “servant” on behalf of the people of the earth. But, what does it mean that Christ was a “slave” or “servant”? How could God incarnate as human be a “slave” or “servant”?

The word that will be examined in this word study is slave used in Phil 2:7, “Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form” (New Living Translation). In section 1 I will review the word used in other English translations as well as provide a definition of the word slave. In section two I will provide the meaning of the Greek word, δουλος, which is often translated as slave. In section three I will provide some conclusions on slave in Phil 2:7.

How Jesus Christ was a "Slave" Philippians 2:7

Photo Credit: Norditalienischer Maler

I. OTHER TRANSLATION OF PHIL 2:7 AND A DEFINITION OF SLAVE 

A. Other Translations of Phil 2:7

It appears that most translations chose the word servant (ten translations) to describe the role Jesus took on earth, the word slave (seven times), and bondservant (twice). Another observation is that some of the “literal” translations used servant (ASV, ESV) while the “dynamic” translations used slave (NET, NLT, Message). Continue Reading…

Continuing my biblical study of women and leadership I am examining Jesus’ relationships with women as well as women’s roles in the Book of Acts. Some of the observations might surprise you.

Jesus' Relation to Women and Their Roles in the Book of Acts

Photo Credit: Engraving by Annibale Carracci,1597 

I.  5 OBSERVATIONS OF JESUS’ RELATIONSHIPS WITH WOMEN

A.    Women Knew the Scriptures about the Messiah and They Knew Jesus Was Him Continue Reading…

Among the many examples of servant leadership in the Bible Jesus provided the most vivid picture of what servant leadership should look like.

Jesus’ Example of Servant Leadership

Photo Credit: abcdz2000

Within the framework of Luke’s gospel the message of servant leadership is provided. Luke’s thinking in his Gospel is very God-centered 1 with a strong theological emphasis on the poor, tax collectors, sinners, Samaritans, Gentiles, women, and outcasts. 2

Jesus’ Example of Servant Leadership

When some of the disciples had been arguing about which of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24) Jesus decided that it was time to teach one more lesson to he beloved disciples. He told them, Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Allison Trites, “The Gospel of Luke, Acts,” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, ed. Philip Comfort, vol. 12, (Carole Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2006), 14.
  2. Stein, Robert H. “Luke,” vol. 24 in The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 49-50.

From the outset of Luke’s Gospel it is clear that he wants to get his story straight.

Who is Jesus in the Book of LukePhoto Credit: Argya Diptya

Luke begins in this way,

Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught (Luke 1:1-4, NLT).

This is Luke’s main statement about his work, why he did it and how he did it. Continue Reading…

Today’s post continues this series titled, “How will I serve?” based on a statement Jesus said about leadership and service to others.

In order to properly understand Jesus’ statement we will need to look at the entire passage of what He was saying and study the historical and cultural context which He lived in.

The entire passage in which Jesus says His statement about leadership and service is this:

14When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table.15Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins.16For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” 17Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves.18For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” 19He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” 20After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. 21“But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me. 22For it has been determined that the Son of Man must die. But what sorrow awaits the one who betrays him.” 23The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing. 24Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. 25Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.27Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. 28“You have stayed with me in my time of trial. 29And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right 30to eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. – Luke 22:14-30

I have put the statement we are studying for this series in bold.

To appropriately understand this story and what Jesus’ is saying we first need to
know who Luke was and who he was writing to.

  • Luke was a companion of the apostle Paul and he also wrote the New Testament book of Acts (Acts was written after Luke and all the things which are written about in Acts happened after Jesus’ time on earth).
  • Luke was a Gentile physician/doctor who wrote one of the four accounts of Jesus. His account is called, The Gospel According to Luke.
  • Because Luke was a physician he was a meticulous researcher and writer. He was such a meticulous researcher and writer that his gospel is considered to be one of the most accurate and well pieced together historical accounts of any literature that still exists today.

To appropriately understand this story and what Jesus is saying we also need to know when Luke wrote his Gospel and who he was writing to.

  • Luke wrote his gospel to people in general: Jews and Gentiles.
  • Luke was writing his gospel during a time when the church and its members were experiencing a lot of persecution and trials from others.
  • Because Luke also wrote his Gospel and the book of Acts, we have the unique situation where we can see some of the teaching and messages Luke is hoping to convey in his Gospel lived out in the book of Acts. It is possible that when Luke sat down to write his Gospel and book of Acts, he knew the stories and teachings he
    wanted to present throughout both as a testimony to who Jesus was, what
    Jesus came here to do, and how we are to respond to him.

To appropriately understand this story and what Jesus is saying we need to also know what happens before this verse.

  • At this time Jesus is having the Last Supper (the final meal with His 12 disciples before His crucifixion) with His disciples and He tells them that one of them will betray Him.
  • The disciples then ask each other whom among them might do such a thing.
  • This leads them to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. The gospel books of Matthew and Mark give more description saying that during this same time period James and John (two of the twelve disciples) actually ask
    Jesus if they could sit in the places of honor to Jesus’ left and right. They wanted special treatment.

Jesus who was a master leader and teacher always recognized a teaching moment when He saw one: this was one of those teaching moments. He saw a situation in which He needed to dedicate some time to teach and mentor these young disciples to help them understand their faith and how to live it out not for themselves, but for others.

Now that we have discovered some of the background information relating to Jesus’ statement and the context which He said it in, tomorrow we will deduce what exactly He means by what He said and then we will figure out what that means for us as people living in our current time.

Question: Do you have any additional insights to the historical and cultural context which Jesus said these words in?

How will I serve?

September 19, 2012 — Leave a comment

How will I serve? That is a question which must be explored for every person no matter who you are, male or female, Christian or non-Christian, young or old, serving is something humans naturally do and is something that people spend years attempting to figure out.

The question of “How will I serve?” will be explored here on this blog for the next couple days. The main focus of that question will center around one statement Jesus made while He was here on earth.

Jesus’ statement which we will study are the first verses I memorized as a young naive non-Christian reading through the Bible to discover what it said and who Jesus was. If you are like me, you might have began reading the Bible with a desire to get to know what is in it and what the Bible says. For me, I started reading the Bible in the book of Matthew (the first book of the New Testament) and began reading through. I started in Matthew, read some stuff, had questions about what I read, but I kept reading. Then, when I finished reading Matthew I moved on to Mark. While reading Mark some of the stories and things Jesus said seemed slightly familiar, but I did not think anything of it. Then, when I moved on to Luke, I definitely noticed some of the same stories and things that Jesus said. That was when I realized, as young person who had read the Bible very little, that those books were telling the same stories of Jesus just from a different viewpoint! 🙂

I tell you that fun story because when I read the two verses which will be focused on this study of “How will I serve” I stopped reading. I stopped reading when I came upon these two verses because these two verses are so countercultural and so against the way things are in our culture that I knew I had never read those verses before. Later, I found out that Jesus’ statement which caused me to stop reading was just as countercultural in His time as it is in our time.

The two verses which will be centered on for this study on “How will I serve?” are these:

But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.
Luke 22:26-27 (New Living Translation)

This statement Jesus makes was extremely countercultural in His time and is just as countercultural in our time as it was then. After reading those verses can you see why they caused me to stop reading?

This statement from Jesus has great implications for leaders and brings new light to the “a leader is a servant” discussion. And, that discussion is one we will continue with tomorrow when we can dig more into the background and history that encompassed Jesus’ time and how His statement might have been received by the people who heard it. Finally, once we have explored the implications it had to those people in Jesus’ time, we then will be able to transfer the meaning and application to our own lives.

Question: Do you believe that a leader should be a servant? Why or why not?

One of the most effective evangelists in history, Billy Graham, believes, “The central message of the Bible is Jesus Christ.”

But who is Jesus?

Over the next couple days I am going to focus on the question of “Who is Jesus” based on the Gospel of Matthew and my own personal experience with Jesus Christ. After studying the book of Matthew and reflecting on who Jesus is to me, I believe that Jesus is a leader who teaches, equips, and serves through sacrifice.

First, let us see how Jesus taught throughout the Gospel of Matthew.

When reading the Gospel of Matthew, I can’t help but notice that Jesus is a teacher. The Gospel of Matthew quickly moves through Jesus’ family heritage, how and where He was born, His baptism from John the Baptist, and the three temptations He faced. As soon as Jesus finishes his 40 days in the desert facing the three temptations, Jesus hears that John the Baptist has been arrested, and Jesus travels to the Sea of Galilee where Matthew tells us, “From then on Jesus began to preach.”[1] Up until this point in time, Jesus has not preached or performed any miracles.

The first action of ministry that the Gospel of Matthew records is that Jesus begins to preach. Matthew gives us a glimpse at Jesus’ first preached message which is only one sentence, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven in near.”[2] After this short one-sentence message, Jesus goes out to recruit His disciples. Jesus knows that He will need a group of devoted followers who will carry on His message after He is no longer on earth. We will discuss this topic later in more depth of how Jesus equipped His disciples through His teaching, so I don’t want to go too deep into that here.

We can make five observations of why Jesus is a teacher: 1) He teaches large groups (such as the Sermon on the Mount); 2) He teaches small groups (such as the 12 disciples); 3) He is always alert for teaching opportunities (often using people’s questions as an opportunity to teach about more deeply rooted spiritual issues); 4) He teaches individuals (such as the many people who came up to him to ask him questions); and, 5) He teaches wherever he goes (such as the top of a mountain, on a sea shore, and from a boat).[3] That is the context of where Jesus teaches through his three years of ministry. He teaches many people in many areas with a mission to prove He is God’s son, heal the sick, and teach people how to get to heaven.

Now knowing that Jesus is a teacher who teaches many people in a variety of contexts, we can look closer at what He teaches and how it is structured throughout the Gospel of Matthew. 

(Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and continue our conversation about why I believe Jesus is a leader who teaches.)

Question: Based on your experience and knowledge of Jesus, do you think he is a teacher? Why or why not? 


[1] Matt. 4:17 (New Living Translation)

[2] Matt. 4:17

[3] Dr. D. Edmond Hiebert, “Jesus the Master Teacher,” in Called to Teach, ed. David Ewert (Fresno, CA: Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies, 1980), 22-23.

 

So, who is Jesus?

Is he a leader? A teacher? A savior? A chosen one? A servant?

I believe, based on my reading of the gospels and my personal experience of Jesus working in my life, that Jesus is a leader. He is a leader of many things, but most of all he is a leader of the heavenly kingdom here on earth and unlike the expectations of the people at that time when he lived on the earth, he is not a positional leader. While here on earth he did not have a formal position as a leader or priest or king, but he held tremendous influence among the people at that time. Jesus had that influence as a leader because he cared for people, he taught them, and he sacrificed himself for them.

Jesus is a leader because he cares for others.
One of the things that encourages people to follow a leader is when he shows a sincere and genuine care for others. When people know you care about them, they will trust you and follow you. An example of this comes to mind when we read John 4 about Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus reached out to someone who never would have expected to even be spoken to, and he went beyond that by speaking into her life about her sin and teaching her about the kingdom of God and what it means to worship. He showed her kindness and love at a time when it was uncommon to even speak to a woman, and even more uncommon to speak to a Samaritan woman.

A leader stretches, grows, and brings along the people he leads by teaching them. 
Who can forget the teachings of Jesus which have marked the gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John?  And in Jesus’ case, he taught them as much by what he did as by what he said. Two examples that stick out in my mind are the miracle he did to contrast the Sabbath in Luke 13 and his teachings from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. The Sermon on the Mount was one of many examples of teachings and stories he gave that taught people then (and now) how to think differently, look at our world differently, and begin to see heaven differently.

Ultimately, leadership is sacrifice.
If we look at leadership through the lens of sacrifice, Jesus was the ultimate leader. He sacrificed himself and everything that he was and did for the people whom he led. He loved you and I so much that he gave himself for us. Even though he might not have understood everything that was going on and why he died, he still sacrificed himself because it was God’s plan. Jesus sacrificed himself so that we, who are not perfect, could join him. He died on the cross for your sins and my sins so that one day we could be joined with him in heaven. That is the ultimate testimony of what it means for a leader to sacrifice for the people he loves and leads.

Jesus is a leader who cares for the people he leads with love and kindness, he teaches them through his actions and his words, and he sacrificed himself for the betterment of the people he leads by dying on the cross for our sins. If there was ever an example of what a Christian leader should look like, Jesus is that example because while he was here on earth, he led an effective ministry which spurred on a church planting movement that still takes place with new people committing their lives to Jesus every single day. Today, over 2,000 years later, his love, teachings, and sacrifice still impact people and that is the true testament that Jesus is a leader.

Question: Now that we know Jesus is a leader who cares for you, teaches you, and sacrificed for you, what do you do with that? What can you do because of what Jesus has done for you? 

Today I'm staring a three part series entitled, A Pastoral Leader is a Servent.

A Pastoral Leader Is a Servant

The most important characteristic of a pastoral leader is to be a servant and meet the needs of others.

This might be a word of encouragement to someone who needs it, it might be a great sermon prepared to cast vision to the congregation, or it might be teaching a practical lesson people can apply in their own lives  

The role of a leader is to make the lives of people better, happier, more fulfilling, and easier.  That’s a pretty tall order for a pastoral leader, but he does that by serving the needs of the people he pastors.

A pastoral leader does the job that few others want to do—not because of what she will gain from it—but because that’s what she is called to do in response to how Jesus was a pastoral leader to us.  One of the first verses in scripture I memorized was Luke 22:26-27 where Jesus is talking with his disciples after dinner the night he is arrested.  Jesus teaches his disciples:

But among you it will be different.  Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.  Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves?  The one who sits at the table, of course.  But not here, for I am among you as the one who serves.[1]

This passage of scripture is even more influential when we research Jewish culture and learn that a large emphasis was placed on status, power, control, and authority.[2]  And just before Jesus exhorts Luke 22:26-27, the disciples were arguing about which disciple would be the greatest and most respected by God.[3] 

Jesus also makes this statement in Luke after James and John had gone to Jesus and asked if they could be seated next to Jesus on his left or right hand side in heaven.[4]  Jesus is telling us that to be a true leader is not to have power and control. 

To be a true leader we need to serve the needs of others because a pastoral leader is responsible for the spiritual and mental health of a group of believers.


[1] Luke 22:26-27 (New Living Translation)

[2] John C. Hutchison, “Servanthood: Jesus’ Countercultural Call to Christian Leaders,” Bibliotheca Sacra 166 (January-March 2009): 60.

[3] Mark 9:33-37

[4] Mark 10:35-39