We are starting a three-week series focusing on the Work of Jesus Christ (His life, His death, and His resurrection) and how that enhances and inspires our WholeLifeWorship of God. This week, I am grateful and excited that Pastor Michael Westfall of GracePoint Church in Tigard, OR, is our guest blogger and kicks off this series. – DL
Often, our focus during the Easter Season is on Jesus’ death and resurrection, what he has done for us on the cross by giving his life as the ultimate and only sacrifice for all of our wrongdoing and sin. And rightly so! But an “aha moment” for me this year has been choosing to also remember the way that Jesus lived among us while he was here on earth. This has been a great way to encounter afresh how we can more fully worship Jesus in the everyday ordinary!
Much of what Jesus did for us was to show us how to live. Yes, it is true that Jesus’ death on the Cross teaches us that we should be willing to sacrifice for one another, even the giving of our very life for someone (John 15:12-13). But here are some of the things that I have learned this season of Lent by reflecting on Jesus’ life example:
1. Jesus chose to see people from a perspective of love rather than a perspective of judgment. In Mark 2:17 Jesus said: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” This makes me realize that if we are not able to put our lenses of judgment aside, seeing only the bad in people and why they don’t deserve grace (as the Pharisees did in this passage), then we will never be able to have the opportunity to see the potential for good in those same people. I have found that one of the main reasons why I judge others (when they rub me the wrong way or I get offended by their actions) is because I struggle with the very same thing! Jesus teaches us to not judge people but, rather, to first look inward at ourselves and see our own flaws (Matthew 7:1-5). That way, we can learn to love people unconditionally, while helping ourselves become better people.
2. Jesus chose to meet and care for people in need, even at great inconvenience. Jesus shares a wonderful story about a Samaritan man who stops what he is doing and helps a Jewish person who was beat up and left for dead (Luke 10:25-37). Even though this dying man’s fellow people, a Jewish Priest and Levite, both passed by and did not help, this Samaritan man (Samaritans were considered enemies of the Jews) rescues him, takes him to an inn and also pays for his stay! And if that was not enough, the Samaritan tells the inn keeper that he will return and pay any difference that is needed! This Samaritan man went above and beyond in loving this man and was a true neighbor to this man who was his enemy (Matthew 5:38-42). And this is the way that Jesus lived: He took the time to care and love people, no matter who they were and no matter how inconvenient it was for Him.
3. Jesus went to people to share the good news of the Kingdom of God, rather than expecting people to come to him. This has been a wake up call for me. As a pastor, things are set up for people to come to me for ministry or advice on spiritual matters. I suppose some of this is necessary as there needs to be a place to come to for those who need pastoral care. But I have been doing some serious reflection and prayer about keeping my eyes open and taking the initiative in ministering to people and sharing the Good News of the Kingdom with them, rather than expecting the people to come to me. After all, this is exactly what Jesus did by going out of his way to encounter a Samaritan woman (John 4:1-26), a tax collector (Luke 19:1-10), a leper (Matthew 8:1-4) and so many more.
So, these are three things that I have learned in following Jesus’ life example. These are ways I can enhance my worship of God in the everyday ordinary, which leads to a transformation of my character as well as impacting the people around me with the life and love of Christ. I encourage you to read the Gospels and observe how Jesus chose to live while he was among us and reflect on how we can follow His example – which leads to the greater, abundant life.
Questions to Ponder:
Who is someone that you are judgmental towards? Prayerfully asking God to reveal to your heart his love for this person and how you too can love them as He does.
What is one way you could help someone in need this Easter season?
How can you begin to go out and intentionally bring the life and love of Jesus to others in your everyday ordinary?
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