Jesus Christ: teacher, model, and central figure
Getting to know Jesus better in twenty-eight days—a challenge for preachers, believers, and skeptics. Reflection without Advent, repentance without a day of repentance and prayer. The divine services in February have a lot of potential.
Maybe you have heard of Elon Musk, the 47-year old business magnate and billionaire best known for his role as co-founder of Paypal and SolarCity, and creator of Tesla and SpaceX. He is a competent and highly sought after individual in many subject areas and scientific disciplines. He knows a lot and has high-level discussions with many experts. In a recent interview he revealed his secret. The key to his vast knowledge, his skills, and his success is: he reads. The tech entrepreneur reads a lot: two books a day and that since his childhood. This is how he absorbs sixty times more knowledge than the average person. And Musk is still learning. He applies his newly acquired knowledge and occupies himself with a wide variety of topics.
Now, no one is expected to grapple with solar energy, artificial intelligence, or rocket technology. But the man can certainly serve as a model for Christians.
Knowledge comes from learning
We must learn to know Jesus. If we want to become like Him, we have to get to know Him in and out.
Jesus’ life is described in the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The four gospels take up some 83 pages in our Bible. If we read one page a day and start to understand one special event in the life of Jesus after another, and begin to grasp His nature, we will have learned more about Jesus in several weeks than in all the years before.
Then we will not only be familiar with the popular stories of the prodigal son, the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, or the one disciple’s attempt to walk on water … but we will also know what Jesus said to Nicodemus about the rebirth of water and the Spirit, what Jesus’ thoughts were about the Sabbath, and which topics Jesus argued over with the scribes.
Jesus, more than a teacher
The focus of our Sunday sermons in February 2018 is Jesus, a sermon cycle that could not be more focused on the practical side of faith. This is not a question of scientific theology, of classifying the signs of the times, or cultural specifics. This is about the nature and strength of character of our most important role model.
During his mission on earth, Jesus was not interested in creating a new economic or social system. This hope was disappointed then and would be disappointed today. God deserves our love, our sacrifices, our reverence, and our praise. The governing authorities receive our taxes and dues. These symbolize our financial responsibilities we have toward society. This is the content of the first Sunday service.
An experience for life and for faith
Jesus taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer, a model prayer, which we Christians have prayed in many languages and versions over the course of the centuries. We say it before the absolution is pronounced, when we are on the road, at home, or alone and want to concentrate on the essence. However, we do more than just attribute the authorship of these words to Jesus. In fact, He is a model for us in praying. Jesus taught us how we should pray so that God answers: Jesus taught humility, gratitude, and deep faith in God—all of which must form the basis of every single prayer. Jesus also exhorted that we seek in prayer: the justice of God, the will of God, and peace with our fellow human beings. Praying as Jesus did can be exhausting but at the same time it guarantees that our prayer is heard—the content of the second Sunday service.
Jesus, helper in temptation
Jesus suffered as a human being. He endured physical pain and bore the imperfections of human beings—especially those of His disciples. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He was denied, insulted, and spat on. Jesus knows what temptation means. He also knows our life as well as our afflictions. Jesus shares in our suffering. He grants us grace, His word, and His nearness. He is our example in temptation and right next to us in temptation. This is the content of the third Sunday service.
February 2018: a chance to come closer to Jesus Christ. By reading the gospels, in the divine services, but also in learning about Him and imitating Him. This is all about Jesus—and about us.
Photo: Albert Shakirov / fotolia.de