Summary: Jesus is the life changer of all times. He’s the theme of the entire Bible and he came here to change you and me forever.
Who Will Follow Jesus?
When we read the gospels, it’s obvious that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each have a unique perspective on Jesus’ life. All four of these men were followers of Jesus; Matthew and John were apostles who actually lived with and walked with Jesus. They were there from his early ministry through his travels, seeing him teach and do his miracles. They felt the tension between Jesus and the Jewish leaders and witnessed his betrayal and arrest. John even went with Jesus through his trial and crucifixion. John was there when Jesus died. Jesus, while he was dying, gave John the responsibility of caring for his mother, Mary, who was also there with John at the very foot of the cross. Matthew and John saw Jesus after the resurrection and were commissioned by Jesus to go to all nations and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They saw Jesus ascend into heaven. Forty days later, they were in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost and were baptized by the Holy Spirit after Jesus’ ascension.
As the years passed and the church grew and spread over the Roman empire, it became obvious that there was a need to write down the gospel history. Many of the things Jesus said and did were memorized and passed on in the preaching of the apostles and those that heard them. But as the gospel spread, fewer and fewer people hearing the message had any direct connection with the places and events of Jesus life, and eye witnesses were not available for them to question. Most of what was taught about Jesus came from the Old Testament proving his identity as the true Messiah of God for all nations. This is what was preached over and over in the early days, as we see in Luke’s book of Acts. It was some time before Matthew, Mark, Luke and John sat down to record the accounts of these events in Jesus’ life. The Holy Spirit guided them as they recorded these for us. And their accounts became the standard of measure for truth about what Jesus actually did say and do. Luke says in the beginning of his gospel, Luke 1:1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Did you know that there are several stories about Jesus that are not in the Bible? That’s partly because not everything written about Jesus during those days was true. Most of them didn’t make it into the New Testament as we have it today. God preserved his word for us just as he wanted us to have it. Matthew, Mark and Luke all record these words of Jesus: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matt. 24:35, Mk 13:31, Lk 21:33). If you come to class on Wednesday night and you’ll learn a lot more about this.
Do you see this Bible? This book is a precious blessing from God for you and me today. It has a rich history and an amazing message that speaks to us with the very voice of God. From beginning to end the same Holy Spirit speaks to us. Even though it was written by about 40 different men in many different places, over a period of about 1500 years, it is just one long story that tells us about Jesus. The Old Testament is background leading up to his life, the gospels are the story of his life, and the rest of the New Testament points back to his life. Who is this incredible person named Jesus? What did he say and do? Why did he come here? Where is he now? When will he come again? How can I be ready for his return?
I’m glad you asked! All these questions and more are answered here in this one book, the Bible, God’s word for you and me. Now lets turn our attention to who will follow Jesus.
Have you ever heard someone talk about a book they read or an event they experienced and say, “That changed my life!” Or, “I’ll never be the same again.”
Now, I know some people say things like that about the orange juice they had for breakfast, but those people really don’t show much change. I’m talking about real life changes.