Do you know who Jesus really is? I had no idea, living on lighthouses where Sunday schools didn’t exist and parents who rarely opened a Bible. My mother at least taught me to pray to a gentle Jesus meek and mild. Now a City lad, I saw a large picture of a man on a cross in some classroom. I imagined it was Jesus, so I asked a lady, “when did this happen?” “Two thousand years ago” she said. I immediately responded in ignorance, “Why don’t they forget about him then?” I think the poor lady was too shocked to reply. Years later I accepted a six-week Bible study. On lesson one, my teacher nearly fell off his chair when I asked, “Why six weeks of study? I just want to know what to do to become a Christian” he recovered and said, “read Acts 2:38”. My simplistic approach was born from having no previous religion to un-learn or cloud my thinking. It was simply an open Bible about Jesus who died to save me making me ashamed of once saying why don’t they forget Him, to become amazed why more people don’t remember Jesus and follow Him. Most people only see what they want to see, a meek and mild Jesus while closing their ears to His lessons on righteousness justice and judgement. They never get a full 360-degree summary of the Savior. I discovered that Jesus Christ changes what you think about everything else – how you view God, the world, yourself, every decision you make, how you prioritize values, know right from wrong, determine your unique place in the universe, and how you act. Jesus turned my world right
side up because I wanted to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6). The gospel of John gives us plenty of glimpses of the Master at work, for example John 5:1-9 is a story about a man who had been disabled for 38 years, a classic case of neglect or self-pity. Plenty of time to dream up excuses and see the world as enemy number one. John said in verse 3 “a great number of disabled people used to lie there”. It must have been some sight, a scrap heap of broken
people beside the Pool of Bethesda. But look who was there, Jesus of Nazareth right there where people were hurting and He was available even to a practicing pity party parasite. Who wants to go to such a one and receive an ear full of his problems, especially with a history like his, and risk another draining dependent? – We usually don’t, but Jesus does – that’s who! Jesus didn’t avoid the down and out but then he didn’t encourage undue dependence on others either. He said, “Do you want to get well?” (v 6) implying, you have a good thing going here, enough food a day and plenty of attention, if I heal you, it’s the employment office you know. Jesus healed him. Jesus’ challenge is intended for us all, play with self-pity and you will dig your own pit, each shovel full further away from God. For believers the first step is to bury the old self in baptism. Paul said in Romans 6:6 “For we know that the old self was crucified with Jesus so the body of sin might be done away with.” We cannot feel sorry for ourselves if there is no “self” to feel sorry for. Who else teaches and heals like Jesus and conquered death to offer believers eternal life? There is so much more to Jesus than we often hear from those who don’t know Him. See for yourself the Master at work and follow Him, you will be a new person – just like Jesus.

Author: John Shepherd