‘His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God”’ – John 16:29-30.
Part 1 is about questions people asked trying to discover who Jesus really is. Christianity is about a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote in his epistle to the Philippian Christians, ‘That I may know Him’. He counted the knowledge of everything else inferior compared to the excellence of the knowledge of Christ’ – Philippians 3:8-10.
When people, including His own disciples asked questions, Jesus showed them what is expected of anyone who follows Him. It is both demanding but doable! Part 2 helps us to understand what is required once we have believed in Jesus as our personal Saviour.
- Who is my neighbour? – Luke 10:29
A man came to Jesus with the question, ‘What shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus invited him to answer his own question and he replied, ‘Love God and love your neighbour as yourself’. Jesus commended his answer. Then, wanting to justify himself, the man asked, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ In response, Jesus taught the parable of the Good Samaritan – Luke 10:30-37. This parable makes it very clear that our neighbour is the person next to us wherever we are. The priest saw the victim but ignored him. The Levite showed an interest but did nothing. It was only the Samaritan who was willing to get involved, even if it meant helping a Jew, someone regarded as his enemy.
John’s epistle states, ‘If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also’ – 1 John 4:20-21. Christianity is receiving God’s love and then releasing it to bless others. James’ epistle states clearly, ‘Faith without works is dead’ – James 2:14-17.
- Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven? – Matthew 18:1
The obvious answer to this question is, the King! The disciples certainly knew that, but were now jostling for position. Where were they in the pecking order? They had been discussing this along the road, but when Jesus asked, “What were you arguing about?” no one was willing to give Him an answer. So Jesus gave them a vivid object lesson by saying, ‘If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all’ – Mark 9:35. Then placing a child in the midst of them He added, ‘Who-ever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven’ – Matthew 18:4.
God’s way is always down first. ‘Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time’ – 1 Peter 5:6. Peter was the writer of these words. He had learned this lesson the hard way! If you are going to compare yourself with anyone, compare yourself to Jesus. That really will be a reality check!
- How often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? – Matthew 18:21
When Peter asked Jesus this question perhaps he was alluding to his brother Andrew, the one who had first told him about the Messiah. It’s amazing how quickly we can forget those who were responsible for us coming to faith and treat them harshly. Peter asked, “Shall I forgive him up to seven times?” Jesus’ reply came as a shock, “Not seven times but seventy times seven!” In other words, have no limit when it comes to forgiving someone. Be like God!
Why at times do we find it so hard to forgive? Usually when we have forgotten how much God has forgiven us. Sins against us are nothing compared to how we have sinned against God. God has totally forgiven us by laying all of our sin on Jesus, now we must do likewise. If we do not, then we will cut ourselves off from the forgiveness of heaven. Unforgiveness can end up devastating the one refusing to forgive. If, as you are reading this teaching, you are holding unforgiveness against someone, resolve to forgive them right now, then let God’s forgiveness flood into you!
- Lord, what about this man? – John 21:21
Peter was in the spotlight once again, as Jesus had asked him three times, “Do you love Me?” It’s when we feel uncomfortable that we try to put the attention on someone else. Looking over at John, Peter said, ‘Lord, what about this man?” In other words, “What is he going to do?” Jesus replied, “Mind your own business!”
Martha complained to Jesus, ‘Lord do you not care my sister has left me to serve alone’ – Luke 10:40. She was seething because Mary was listening to Jesus instead of helping. Jesus replied, ‘Martha, dear friend, you are so upset over all these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it—and I won’t take it away from her!’ – Luke 10:41-42 TLB.
The following is good advice, ‘This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life, minding your own business and doing your own work, just as we told you before. As a result, people who are not Christians will trust and respect you’ – 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 TLB.