Since the middle of April, in church, we have been part of the wider #DoYouKnowHimTelford mission. At the heart of this is the desire to introduce people who do not Him to the Lord Jesus. He really is well worth getting to know.
I have taken a break for a while from writing any blog articles. Two reasons: 1. I needed the break from writing them; 2. Time – other things took the priority for a while. In order to start back, I thought I would revisit some of the blogs from previous years, work further on them, and repost in a revised and updated form. This week’s is originally from a September 2017 post of the same name:
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go back and spend every day in the company of the Lord Jesus during His Incarnation and earthly ministry! I guess there are many Christians who envy those early disciples who got to spend each day with Him. They had an opportunity to listen to Him, follow Him closely, see how He ministered to people, and really get to know the man Himself.
If you want to get to really know someone, it is helpful to understand their background. From reading the Gospels it is obvious that Jesus carried an incredible authority, most people were in awe of Him.
Even in the early scenes with Jesus’ mother and father, there is a recognition that this boy, although very human, Mary said to Him, ‘son, why have you done this to us? Look, your father and I have sought You anxiously’ (Luke 2:48), was also unique, Jesus’ replied, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ (2:49).
If we had have been His parents, I think we would have thought and said the exact same things they did. They were anxious about the safety of their 12 year old son – the boy Jesus nevertheless was amazed at their lack of discernment and understanding, failing to recognise that He already knew He had a higher calling.
Yet, He was a good son and it says He went back with them and was obedient to them – Jesus loved and honoured His father and mother. It also says that He ‘grew in wisdom, in stature and in favour with God and all the people.’ He was a young man to be remembered and respected.
The Beginnings of His Public Ministry
When we come to the introduction of Jesus’ Messianic ministry – essentially His baptism and filling with the Spirit, each of the Gospel writers do so in a slightly different manner.
Matthew presents the effect of His birth and Incarnation on those who witnessed it or heard about it before later narrating the ministry stories. His father Joseph initially thought his betrothed Mary was unfaithful, and in this account Matthew presents four great things about Jesus’ dad, Joseph:
- He was an honourable man – he did not want to make a public spectacle of Mary whom he thought had been unfaithful to him. He loved her and didn’t want others to think unkindly of her.
- A contemplative man – not hot-headed nor impetus, ‘while he thought about these things.’ He took his time, pondered and weighed everything up before making a decision about how to act – very wise!
- A disciplined man – while pondering what to do – God intervened and told Joseph exactly what to do, Joseph. by his contemplation, had made room for God to speak. Joseph was then able to wait to have sex with his new wife until after Jesus’ birth.
- An obedient man – he acted as instructed by the angel, also calling his new son, Jesus.
Mark launches straight into Jesus’ ministry bypassing His childhood, Mark 1:1, with the wonderful, ‘The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.’ Thus the content of Jesus’ message is foremost in His mind culminating in the cross. Mark 10:45 is the defining verse in his Gospel, ‘for the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’
Luke sets a detailed prophetic base for the rest of Jesus’ life and ministry, nearly everyone involved prophesies at some point. Luke also introduces the godly characters who become the extended family of Jesus. He presents both John the Baptist’s miraculous birth, and Jesus’, and how both boys grew up with the favour of God on their lives.
Whereas, John’s Gospel begins with his magisterial opening prologue, 1:1-18, which is still one of the greatest and most profound pieces of writing in literature, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…’
Each writer had a different purpose and a different audience in mind as they wrote their Gospel, but all four Gospels taken together reveal a wonderfully complete and complex presentation of Jesus’ origins, His ordinary and yet supernatural beginnings, His early life, and His stepping onto the public stage anointed and already prepared to do so in the will of His Father.
Jesus and His Father
Setting aside the effect Jesus had on His disciples, and the people He encountered on His itinerant ministry tours – it is impossible to read the four Gospels without being drawn to the intimacy of Jesus’ relationship with Father God. His relationship with Father was completely open, transparent and loving. His complete desire and will was to please, commune with, and fulfil His Father’s will.
If we are truly to walk with Jesus – then these will be the things He will draw us to do as we develop our relationship with Him. Developing an open, transparent and loving relationship with Father through Jesus made possible by the Spirit’s presence with us – will mean that we become increasingly committed to worship, live and minister in full submission to the Father’s will.
Jesus and the Spirit
When you look at the life of His disciples after the day of Pentecost and the coming of the Spirit in power upon them, even though they had spent quality time with Jesus during His earthly ministry, in essence, their relationship deepened and matured after the Spirit’s arrival.
There is a lesson in this for us – if we want to also mature in faith, deepen our spirituality, and strengthen our whole-hearted devotion to His cause, His will and His glory – then being Spirit-filled and walking in the Spirit is essential.
We can learn a lot by the way the Gospel writers present Jesus’ relationship with the Spirit – completely united and indivisible – that inspires us to desire a similar relationship. The Spirit came down upon Him in bodily form as a Dove at Jesus’ baptism, remained upon Him and associated Himself completely with Jesus’ life and ministry.
The closer we walk with Jesus, the more open, transparent and loving will our relationship with Father God will be. We will experience and understand more and more the true nature of the Father heart of God.
In order for that intimacy to develop – we also need the filling and tangible presence of the Spirit with us. We need His godly presence, power for worship, ministry and life, and His character, nature and truth to develop our personalities, characters and spirituality in Christ-honouring ways.
As we walk with Jesus then intimacy with Father develops, the fullness of the Spirit enables this, His word becomes more open and alive to us, we can honour the Father more and more doing His will, communing more transparently with Him. Most of all, we will get to walk with Jesus. There is no greater thing in this life…