Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Jesus is the Grounded Guru of Grace

Jesus the Guru October 14, 15 & 18

Jesus Who?

In the vein of talking about what the crowds are saying about Jesus, Some people would like to paint Jesus as a guru, or a spiritual guide. I feel like I need to start by saying that the word Guru would have been more than just foreign to Jesus and his followers, it would have never been heard.

Jesus was thoroughly Jewish, only leaving his home country to go as a refugee to Egypt as an infant. Some would like to say that he learned eastern ways while in Egypt, but that is to forget that refugees hold on to their culture and religion stronger than anyone else. (the Irish in Canada are more Irish than those in Ireland). Jesus Mary and Joseph were poor in Palestine; they would have been outcastes in Egypt not only would they have not gone near the Egyptian religions, those religious teacher would have not gone anywhere near them!

That said, Guru is a word that we use, and some would use it to describe Jesus now. To say “Jesus is my Guru” is similar to saying “Jesus is my Co-pilot.” These are not words that Jesus would have used, but they can be used to describe our relationship with him. Does it fit?

What is a guru?

Spiritual guide – imagine some wise man living on a mountain that you climb up to find the meaning of life. They usually answer our questions with a question, or with some deep sounding thing that we don’t understand like a direction to contemplate the sound of one hand clapping, or how the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in china can cause a hurricane in the Caribbean. And there is always a sitar playing in the background.

There are many stories about people coming to Jesus privately to ask questions about life, God and everything. Here is one of those stories, found in John 3

This is the way I would have filmed it: Jesus would have looked like Aragorn in the first Lord of the Rings movie when Frodo and his friends meet him for the first time in the Prancing Pony Pub. Nicodemus would have come hooded, not wanting anyone to recognize him, and they would have sat in the back corner speaking in whispered tones

John 3

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."

3In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.[a]"

4"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!"

5Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ’You[c] must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

9"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.

10"You are Israel’s teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? 11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[d] 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.[e]

16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[f] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.[g] 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

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