The same person who had asked me to answer the question “Who Is Jesus?” had also asked this question, “How Do I Follow Him?”
As I mulled over that simple yet foundational question, I wrote down a series of verses that provided an answer: Continue reading
I was reading through my last journal and found an entry from February 2017 dedicated to this question of “Who Is Jesus?” Someone had asked it of me, as a sort of “homework assignment,” and I had written my thoughts down at the time. Now I’d like to share them with you:
Who is Jesus?
How would I answer this to someone who doesn’t have a clear understanding of who Jesus is? Continue reading
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
(Matt. 5:43-48, NKJV)
Jesus has just told the crowds to turn the other cheek, to show kindness even when it’s not natural to do so. But just in case you didn’t quite get it the first time, He expounds on this tough idea.
The common saying of the day was to love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But only half of that was actually based in Scripture: Continue reading
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
Matt. 5:38-42, NKJV
Human nature cries out for justice from even the earliest age. One child slaps another, and receives a slap in return. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a strike for a strike. If you don’t do this for me, then I won’t do it for you.
But our sinful human nature often isn’t content with justice. The child doesn’t return an equal slap; he tries to one-up it and strike harder. It becomes eyes for an eye, teeth for a tooth, blows for a slap. And true justice doesn’t end up happening. Continue reading
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
Matt. 5:33-37, NKJV
The phrase Jesus is examining more closely is actually likely a combination of two Old Testament verses: Continue reading