Jesus is God
John 1:1-18; Colossians 1:15-20
This is the most extraordinary statement of all: Jesus Christ is God. No other founder of a world religion makes such a claim. The Buddha does not. Mohammed of Islam does not. Abraham of the Jews does not. The religious teachers of Hinduism do not claim to be god, even as they speak of many gods.
It was not an easy claim to make. In fact, it was risky to the extreme. The Jewish audience was fiercely monotheistic (believing in one God). For Jesus to claim to be equal to God the Father would be blasphemy, punishable by death. This is why the Jewish leaders wanted Jesus dead. His other claim to be a king is why the Romans killed him.
If Jesus is not God, then the rest of this devotional doesn’t make any difference. It just does not matter (enough). If Jesus is merely a wise teacher or a good person, he is only to be admired. But if Jesus is God, he is to be worshipped.
The Gospel of John opens with the most striking statement about the deity of Christ. Then in Colossians, Paul makes one of the most comprehensive statements of the divinity of Jesus. Read both passages. All of the Gospels reveal Jesus as God. His sinless life, his amazing ministry, his sacrificial death, his triumphant resurrection, his ascension to glory, and his abiding presence with us today – together say – Jesus is God. He must matter most.
Study and Reflect What are the statements, descriptions, and explanations you read in John and Colossians that show Jesus is God?
Reflect How much does Jesus matter to you? How does your daily life indicate how much Jesus matters? For Jesus to matter much more, what are your next steps of faith, trust, love, and commitment?
Pray Pray daily that Jesus would matter much, much more.
Jesus is Lord
Acts 2:36; Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 6:46; Matthew 6:9-13
Once you believe that Jesus is God you begin to ask, what kind of God is Jesus? Jesus is Lord was one of the most common statements about Jesus in the early church. Jesus was King Jesus. One of my favorite books on Jesus is titled The King Jesus Gospel. The good news is there is a king, a Lord, a presence, a power, a norm, a reality, and a rule to which we are accountable. The truly awesome news is that this king is the servant king, the humble king, the king who will sacrifice everything for the sake of the people he loves.
One of the saddest verses in the Bible is found in Judges 21:25. It speaks of a time when there was no king in Israel. Instead, everyone was their own authority and everyone did whatever they thought was right. Can you imagine the chaos and anarchy that results in such a climate? Well, it is not hard, for we have a similar situation today, where everyone wants to be their own authority.
Jesus was the one who came announcing and bringing the Kingdom of God in a new way (Mark 1:14-15). He spoke with authority. He healed with authority. He cast out demons with authority. He challenged the religious traditions of his day with authority. (See Mark 1:21-34 to see King Jesus in action!)
With authority, he called others to follow him, have faith in him, and believe in him. He gave his authority to his followers and sent them out to do his work in the world (Matthew 28:18-20). This included empowering people to obey all the instructions and teachings of King Jesus, for his way is truth and life.
Study Read the biblical texts. What speaks to you in those verses?
Reflect So, whose way is dominant in your life? Is it your way or the way of Jesus? Are you your own highest authority or is Christ your leader-teacher? Whose will is most important to you – your own or that of Christ?
Pray Pray the Lord’s Prayer today with great devotion and meaning, especially “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done.”
Jesus as Savior
Acts 2:22-41; Luke 2:11; Isaiah 9:6-7
Jesus the Lord is Jesus the Messiah. Jesus the King is the King who saves. The good news is there is a King whose love, mercy, and grace are daily directed for your well-being.
Humanity needed to be saved - saved from death, saved from sin, saved from Satan, saved from slavery, saved from itself, saved from oppressors, saved from fear, saved from everything that hurt us. Jesus is the Savior who does all that. What a Savior!
What kind of Savior could do this? It would be a Savior with the authority and strength to do it. It would be a Savior who must be a King. It would be a King who must be a God.
He is not just Savior of the Jews, although he would start there. Jesus would be the Savior of the world, of all who would repent and believe. No restrictions. No exclusions. No one would be off limits or beyond reach. Everyone is loved by Jesus the God-King-Savior. That is why Mission is so important. Christianity is good news of a great joy for ALL the people (Luke 2:10-11, 14). A Savior-Lord has been born.
Study and Reflect Read the texts. Remember and rejoice about how great a salvation you have received. For more Great News of how you are blessed, read Ephesians 1:3-14 and be glad.
For Salvation If you have never received or accepted Jesus asSavior, you can do that now. Here is a simple prayer: “Jesus, I accept and receive you as Savior and Lord. Forgive me for all my sins and heal me in all my brokenness. Change my life. I now belong to you. Amen.”
Next Steps If you want to know more about being a Christian and what it means for Christ to be your Savior, sign up for Alpha. It is a safe and fun 8-week community of food, friendship, study, and conversation about Jesus.
Jesus Our Teacher
Luke 4:14-30; Colossians 1:24-2:7
Good and evil. Right and wrong. Truth and error. Two roads, two ways, two destinations. “What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus. “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” said Jesus in another context.
Jesus taught as a rabbi, gathering followers, disciples, learners, and partners around him. They were with him to learn from him, become like him, and work with him. Much of the story of Jesus in the Gospels focuses on what Jesus taught his disciples.
Jesus also taught the crowds. He began his teaching ministry in Luke 4:14-30.They were amazed at his teaching, until he began to speak truths they did not want to hear. Their amazement turned to anger, and they drove him out of the synagogue and the town. The lesson to be learned: Truth is not always welcome (for more on this, skim through John 3:10-21).
The Sermon on the Mount is the most well-known teaching of Jesus. If you have not read it recently, read it tonight before going to sleep. It will only take you 15-20 minutes (unless you find yourself thinking about the amazing and beautiful things Jesus teaches, then it may take much longer!)
Jesus is not the only teacher. The world is teaching you every single day. There are philosophies, ideologies, and ways that are in opposition to the way of Christ. There is a battle for your mind that goes on every day. Christ and the world both want to shape your way of understanding life. To live in the world is to be formed by the world, which makes it even more important for you to be intentional and strategic about learning from Christ your teacher. These daily resources are to help you be a follower-learner of Jesus the God-King-Savior.
Pay Attention Practice the art of self-awareness. Regularly stop and consider if your thinking on any particular issue is shaped more by Jesus or more by some other way.
Be Intentional Take advantage of the opportunities provided by Living Word to be a lifelong learner with Jesus in his school of discipleship.In addition to Sunday messages and daily devotionals, be sure to check out small groups or mid-size communities as a way to learn from Jesus.
Pray Many times throughout the day, pray for Jesus to be your teacher.
Jesus Our Friend
This is the famous passage of the vine and the branches. It is also the passage famous for telling us about friendship with Jesus. Jesus is not only God, not only King, not only Savior, and not only Teacher, but he wants to be your friend.
Friendship is always quite the gift. When someone offers you friendship, it means they care about you, they like you, they enjoy you, and they want to have the mutuality of life together with you. The greater the person who wants friendship with us, the more honored, grateful, and blessed we feel.
It is JESUS who wants to be friends with you. Yes, you are still a servant.You never stop serving his purposes in the world. But you now serve them as a full partner, a devoted companion, and a beloved friend who has been entrusted with a glorious opportunity. You are friends who work together in the greatest cause the world has ever known and you enjoy one another as you do this.
Friendship matters a great deal to us at Living Word. One of my (Pastor Brian’s) core beliefs and practices is Friendship First, Partnership Second.It is in the context of caring, kind, generous relationships, where we flourish, where we become fully alive, and where we are able to make our best difference in the world.
Take Action All day long, say to yourself, “I am a friend of Jesus.” Smile every time you think of this. Say it out loud to feel even better.
Reflect What do friends do for one another? Think about what your friend Jesus wants to do for you. What do you want to do for your friend Jesus?
Next Steps Be sure to notice that the disciples are the missional friend(s) of Jesus. It is plural. Not just a friend, but several friends. Jesus wants his friends to enjoy and love one another. Jesus wants his friends to do life together with one another. Everything about Christianity is designed to be even better with friends. Pursue friendship at Living Word. Get in a small group. Find ways to serve. You will meet new friends as you serve alongside others.
- Songs We Sing
Other Messages in Series