Summary: This is the first of a series of sermons on the life of Christ. Today we look at the world’s perceptionof Jesus.
Intro.: In the summer of 1997 I was introduced to eight pictures of Jesus Christ.
1. It was part of the journey that brought me here – I was spending the biggest part of my summer serving as a chaplain at the Cherokee Mental Health Institute – a state mental hospital.
2. Mornings were spent on the floors with the patients. Afternoons were spent in instruction with the hospital chaplain. Evenings were free
3. It was at those times that we saw films such as “The Cotton-Patch Gospel” or the plays such as “Jesus Chrsit Superstar”
4. During those three months, it was an interesting to see how others thought of the life of Jesus Christ. And there were lessons to be learned.
5. Yet it is in scripture that we find Jesus – not films.
6. Today we begin a journey that will take us through Easter – we will explore the life of this person known as Jesus Christ. Let us start at the beginning
7. To read the story of another man who had a similar experience, read "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Philip Yancey.
Read: John 1:1-14
1. During the next six weeks we will examine the life of Christ
2. We will look at his teaching, his miracles, his parables, and his death and resurrection
3. But today I want to paint with some broad strokes. – I want to look at how the world sees Jesus, how the church sees Jesus, and how you see Jesus
4. This will set the stage for the remainder of the lent as we look at the life of Jesus Christ.
I. Jesus as the world sees Him John 1:6-11
A. I might be quick to suggest that the world doesn’t see Him. In some ways it seems like it. He doesn’t figure into their decisions. He isn’t addressed or acknowledged as being present in most public meetings.
B. Yet we do see evidence of his presence – we name our children “Jesus” or “Joshua”, His Jewish name - Sometimes too often, as those around us use His name some very disrespectful ways.
C. Scholars in our seminaries continue to seek what they call “the historical Jesus” as if he were different from the Jesus presented in the scriptures
D. And there are times we find ourselves surprised – we find a believer at work or a neighbor – one with whom we can pray and share. One who shares and rejoices in our love for the savior.
E. But all too often our world is not much different than that of Jesus’ world – “There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not.”
II. Jesus as the church sees him John 1:1, 14
(Ill.) Philip Yancey has written a book entitled “The Jesus I Never Knew.” Yancy claims that as he wrote that book, he learned several important lessons:
a. Jesus is not the church
b. Jesus saved his faith – at this point in his life, Yancey was frustrated with the church. But when he looked at Jesus he found someone he could trust and believe in. Where the church drove him away (for a variety of reasons), Jesus continued to draw him to a point of faith.
A. The church presents what somehow seems like a dry answer – the theological answer – the answer I might receive from my seminary prof
B. But yet it is also the truth
C. And there is nothing new here
1. Jesus is God
2. Jesus is Human
D. The problem for me is that I can easily get caught believing one and forgetting the other or believing the other and forgetting the first
(Ill.) Defining the person of Jesus Christ is not the only enigma known to the church. There are others: certainly many of you would agree that the doctrine of the Trinity falls in this category.
E. I don’t understand all there is to know about God. I am still learning and growing – Amazingly, we do not need to understand it all. We need to be growing and stretching – not standing still.
III. Jesus as you see Him John 1:12-13
A. Far more important than how the church sees Him is how you see Him
B. “As many as believe …” there are no limits. The church will never be full.
C. And when we do believe we find that we are children of God
D. As children we rely on our parents
E. As children we need to grow
F. And then we are faced with another enigma – we will always remain children of God, but we are also expected to become mature members of the church