Christ the Truthful

Find the truth

Christ is perfectly honest.

Jesus Christ tells us the truth. What a gift that is, especially when we don’t want to hear it, because what we don’t want to hear is what destroys us. Just how bracing that truth is can at times be breathtaking.

For example, read the seven letters Jesus sent to the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2–3. For example, he said to the Ephesians: “I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:3–5). After those letters, the churches knew exactly where they stood.

But thankfully Jesus Christ also speaks the truth that our souls long to hear and that only he can reveal.

He said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30)

Jesus said, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

He said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27–29).

In a world of deception and confusion, Jesus Christ alone tells us perfect truth through his Word. Thank God for the gift of the Bible and the gift of the Holy Spirit who enables us to understand it! Thank God for a great Redeemer who knows and tells us the truth.

Give his truth your full attention. Read it daily. Memorize it. Believe it. Walk in it.

And live!

Christ Is Affectionate

Feel God's love in Christ's affection

You can feel God’s love in Christ, for Christ is affectionate. If you are with him, he is warm in manner. He makes you feel that you are loved.

That is important to say and believe because judging by our standards we might get the wrong impression from what the Bible does not say. The four Gospels never tell us that Jesus smiled or hugged someone or patted someone on the shoulder (he may have, but we’re not  told). At his betrayal, Judas greeted Jesus with a kiss, but we never read anywhere that Jesus greeted anyone with a kiss. We never read that, using our culture’s mores, Jesus ever shook anyone’s hand.

We do find that he physically touched those he healed.

But someone could get the wrong impression that Jesus was cold or standoff-ish.

Examples of affection

We know that Jesus felt deep emotions for his followers, however. At the grave where his friend Lazarus was buried, Scripture says that “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). And he felt that sorrow for his friends and their grief even though Jesus knew he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead. That means he has compassion for us.

We also know that Jesus feels deep emotions for us because Paul wrote, “God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 1:8). Paul said his affection for his readers was the affection of Jesus. Jesus yearns for us.

In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus pictured the father of the returning prodigal as running to his son and embracing him. And Jesus intended that father to be a picture of the heavenly Father. And Jesus said when you see the Son, you see a perfect reflection of the Father.

Jesus doesn’t feel love only for those who are really, really good. When he speak with a rich ruler who loved his wealth too much, “Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me,’” (Mark 10:21). Jesus loved him even in his present condition, even though the ruler would walk away from Jesus when presented with the call to leave all and follow Christ.

You will feel God’s love in Jesus

So you can be sure, Jesus is warm, affectionate, compassionate, caring. He yearns for you and enjoys being with you.

This is what we would expect, knowing that his love is so great it is beyond our ability to comprehend.

The Jesus who brings us together is affectionate, and so he calls us to share affection, men to men, women to women. He tells us to “greet one another with a holy kiss,” (Romans 16:16) to “love one another earnestly” (1 Peter 1:22). God wants his people to feel the affection of Jesus through his people’s affection for each other.

 

Christ Is Generous

Need help?

Do you need help?

Your Savior is a generous giver who never stops giving.

2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

We’re meditating on the glory of Jesus Christ, he who saves us and brings us together as a church. This week we focus on his generosity.

Jesus is a giver. You have never given anything to him that he did not first give to you. He has already given to you everything you have and value in this world—family, church, salvation, a physical body with many amazing abilities, a rational mind, and so on—and he will give you unlimited blessings in the beautiful age to come.

One example of the generosity of Jesus was when he told his disciples that they and he needed to take a break from their exhausting ministry. Nevertheless, when a crowd gathered to receive ministry from him, he gave his time and energy. Mark 6:30-34 says:

30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.

Giving to all who need help

The default disposition of Jesus is to give. He does not give to us reluctantly or grudgingly. He loves to give to us. Giving is his delight. Jesus is not selfish; rather, he is love. Love gives.

Jesus gave himself to be scourged for you.

He gave himself to be crucified for you.

He gave himself to turn away the wrath of God for your sin.

Jesus gave his wisdom and teaching to you.

That giving cost him dearly. But he gladly gave because of his generosity of heart toward you.

Your Savior is a generous giver who never stops giving. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the most generous people you know.

 

Christ Is Loving

find love

Where can I find love?

When you find love in Jesus Christ, it satisfies your soul in a way nothing else can.

To encounter Jesus is to encounter love you have never known. In him you experience a quantity of love you have known before, and a kind of love you have never known.

Writing to one church, the apostle Paul prayed “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17–19)

Notice what this teaches about the love of Jesus:

  • When Christ dwells in your heart, when you are truly welcoming his leadership in your thoughts and desires, you will be rooted and grounded in love. Love is what he brings. Love is what he teaches. And love is what he inspires.
  • His love within enables your soul to comprehend love in a scope and dimension you have never known. You will experience the breadth, length, height, and depth of divine love. You will experience unselfish love, servant love, generous love, true sympathy and compassion, honest love that speaks necessary truth, covenant love that stays with you, healing love that restores your soul, jealous love that requires your all, gentle love that does not break the bruised reed, fierce love that is wholehearted and strong.
  • The love of Christ is so rich and full that it surpasses knowledge. You cannot exhaust it. You can never fully understand it.
  • But all love you experience in Christ brings to you the fullness of God. This is the ultimate. Knowing Christ’s love causes your soul to be like a glass of water filled to the brim that cannot hold another drop. You have perfect satisfaction and happiness.

When people find love

Those who encountered the love of Jesus during his ministry left their families, homes, possessions, and jobs to follow him. They wept on his feet and dried his feet with their hair. Some risked their lives and put up with the hardships of homelessness and travel. They sat at his feet to hear his teaching.

Jesus’ love brought people together then and brings us together now. We forget ourselves and poor out his love to one another and to our broken world.

Christ the Compassionate One

does God care? Christ is compassionate.

Does God care?

Once after Jesus had been healing and teaching a great crowd, he called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” (Matthew 15:32)

This is just one example of the Bible describing the compassion of Jesus. He didn’t want these people to be hungry. He didn’t want them fainting and getting hurt.

Dictionary.com defines compassion as “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”

We see in Jesus a feeling of sympathy and a desire to help.

Jesus is compassionate and caring, not cold-hearted, disinterested, unfeeling, aloof, pitiless.

When Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus and witnessed the sorrow of the family and friends, he wept, even though he knew the miracle he was about to perform. Then he took action to raise Lazarus from the dead. Human sorrow and suffering affects Christ deeply.

When Jesus hung on the cross, overwhelmed by his own pain and suffering and bearing the sins of the world, he looked upon his mother and his heart went out to her. John 19:26–27 says, “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”

Christ has compassion for you

1 Peter 5:7 says, “He cares for you.” What happens to you matters to Jesus. So much that he feels sympathy. So much that he wants to do something about it.

Do you feel as though people in this world don’t want to hear about your problems? As though no one takes your pain seriously? Do you feel that those who do care simply don’t have the resources to help you?

Pour out your heart to Jesus. Trust in him to help you in his wise time and way. He has great compassion for you.

 

Christ the Patient One

Can't stop sinning? Christ is patient.

Do you feel as though you can’t stop sinning? If you will continue the fight for faith and purity, Jesus has unlimited patience and will not give up on you.

Think about the patience of this great Messiah whom we follow together, who is at the center of our life as a spiritual community.

He has divine patience. The apostle Paul describes Jesus’ patience as perfect.

Paul had experienced that firsthand. He writes:

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” —1 Timothy 1:12–16

Jesus was patient with Paul before Paul became a Christian, while he was a blasphemer and persecutor of Christians and insolent enemy of Christ.

And Jesus was patient with him after he became a Christian, when he was less than perfect, for he admits, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect” (Philippians 3:12).

While we must never presume on the Lord’s patience or take it for granted or abuse it, we must trust in his patience in our times of failure and discouragement. When we sin, especially when we are defeated again by a chronic sin over which we have repented and grieved many times, we must not despair. If we sincerely keep fighting that sin, Christ will keep being patient.

The difference between this and hypocrisy is, the hypocrite is not fighting the sin and is not sincerely grieving in its aftermath.

Can’t stop sinning?

Jesus loves you. He is slow to anger. Jesus will not give up on you. He is with you for a lifetime. He is patience personified.

Christ the Lowly

Christ the lowly, for those who feel worthless

Jesus will come as low as needed to help you.

Let’s think further about the one who brings us together and makes us a church.

Jesus said, “I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). Think about that; Jesus is the perfect reflection of the Father, and Jesus says he is lowly, or humble, in heart. This is his glory, his greatness, that not only is he high and lifted up, but also lowly and humble.

Because Jesus was lowly in heart, he associated with the lowly and humble without reservation. He sought out the lowly, downtrodden, broken, poor, hungry, sick, rejected, demon-possessed, and outcasts. Jesus did not make these people feel small; he made them feel important. He was not too great for them, not too important for them.

This doesn’t mean he thought little of himself or denied the truth about his own greatness and exalted position. It means rather that he was perfectly willing to lower himself to relate to those lower than he was.

If you feel worthless

Jesus wasn’t too important to be interrupted to hear the request of blind Bartimaeus.

He wasn’t too important to walk around Palestine not knowing where he would sleep at night or where he would get his next meal.

He wasn’t too important to hold and bless children.

Jesus wasn’t too important to talk to Samaritans and women.

He wasn’t too important to eat with those regarded as the lowlifes of society: the tax-collectors and prostitutes.

Jesus was exalted in being and calling, nature and identity, but lowly in heart.

When Jesus is with you, he doesn’t make you feel small and insignificant. He makes you feel important to him and to God. “He cares for you,” (1 Peter 5:7). Jesus gives rest to your soul. Your soul finds rest when you know you are valued by God, loved by him. All the striving of your soul ceases when you experience that.

Jesus went as low as he had to for us

Philippians 2:4–8 says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Jesus expressed the lowliness of his heart by being willing to make himself nothing.

Jesus expressed the lowliness of his heart by being willing to take the form of a servant.

He expressed the lowliness of his heart by being willing to become a human.

Jesus expressed the lowliness of his heart by being willing to die, and not just to die, but to be tortured to death on a cross.

Jesus will come as low as needed to help you.

And he brings us together, whatever our station in life, to help each other.

Jesus the Gentle

Christ Gentle

Jesus is the perfect, balanced combination of firm and gentle.

A few weeks ago I went to my regular appointment with the dental hygienist. As usual she used a high-tech, zapping tool to remove plaque, a tool that causes pain. But she does it with precision and gentleness, and my gums are better for it.

I’ve had other dental hygienists who seemed to be oblivious to the pain they were causing.

Why does God let me suffer?

Doctors, coaches, parents, teachers, leaders, and military commanders often have to say and do things that cause pain. They have to give tough love.

Jesus as Lord is in the role that requires the most of this sort of tough love. But Jesus wants to reassure us that when he brings tough love he will be as gentle as possible.

He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).

Jesus is gentle.

He is not oblivious to our pain.

Jesus is not rough like a careless or clueless or insensitive or cruel person.

Jesus will be as strong and firm as he needs to be in our lives, unlike misguided leaders who are too gentle and unwilling to cause pain even if that is what is needed to bring good. When necessary, Jesus will rebuke and discipline us. He will tell us the truth straight up. He will call sin sin.

But he will do it with love. He will cause no more pain than necessary, for no longer than necessary. He has suffered more than any human, and he is keenly aware of any pain we experience.

And he will comfort, console, and restore us. For his purpose is our good.

Jesus is the perfect, balanced combination of firm and gentle. Even when it hurts, we can trust in him without fear.

That’s because he is love. He is always seeking our good.

Christ the Faithful Witness

Christ faithful witness

We desperately need the truth, but we cannot find it on our own.

The Blinding Fog

Think about the thick fog of lies that obscures human existence. So thick that many cannot see their hands in front of their faces.

Satan is the father of lies, half-truths, shaded truths. He has released every imaginable deception in the world about the nature and character of God, the origin of life and the universe, what is right and wrong, how we can have a relationship with God.

In such a world, how can anyone figure out whom to believe and what to live for? Everyone has an opinion. Intelligent, educated people of goodwill disagree. People we trust stumble and fall. People with faults aplenty succeed.

Smart philosophers have written for millennia trying to understand what is real, but their opinions keep changing, and one philosopher replaces another as the current darling of educated people, until he or she too is replaced by a new smart person with a new idea.

Witness to the Truth

Into this impossible, unsolvable confusion, God determined to bring truth.

He did it by giving mankind his divinely inspired, inerrant truth: his Word.

He did it by sending his Son, the Logos, the Word, The Truth.

God sent his Son to earth to tell the truth and be the truth.

Jesus said, “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37).

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth….” (John 14:6).

The apostle John wrote of God’s Son that he is “Jesus Christ the faithful witness” (Revelation 1:5). That was a key part of the Son’s mission: to be a witness to the truth like a witness in court is duty bound to be a witness about what he or she knows to be true.

A witness has a sacred, solemn responsibility: to tell the truth even when it is costly, for justice depends on it.

Jesus was and is the faithful witness. He was faithful to the mission his Father had given him, and the truth got him disciples and enemies.

Jesus Christ, the faithful witness. He is worthy of our praise. He is the One who brings us together to speak the truth of God’s Word to each other—and to be faithful, courageous witnesses ourselves.

Thank God for sending us the gift of infinite worth, his inerrant truth, through his eternal, divine Son. He is the One who brings us together to be the church, the “pillar and buttress of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).

Christ the Kind

Christ is kind

Jesus is the ultimate expression of God’s kindness to humanity.

Jesus is kind.

He gave to those who came to him. He did good to people. Jesus helped them. He healed, delivered from demons, fed, clothed, and taught life-giving truths.

Dictionaries define kind in these ways:

“having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature”

“of a sympathetic or helpful nature”

“of a forbearing nature”

Jesus described his mission by quoting an Old Testament prophecy: “18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18–19).

One measure of our kindness is how we treat people who can’t do anything for us, especially those who will cost us something. Jesus helped and healed people who could do nothing for him: lepers, the poor, those possessed by demons, children, the powerless.

He fulfills the description of God in the Old Testament: “2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed” (Psalm 103:2–6).

Ultimate kindness

Jesus is the ultimate expression of God’s kindness to humanity. Ephesians 2:7 says, “so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

When we come to Jesus with a humble heart, we can be sure that as David wrote, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Psalm 23:5–6, NAU).

We gather together as a church to follow a Savior who is infinitely kind.