Knowing Jesus: About his Father’s business

*Note: This is the first in a series, entitled “Knowing Jesus“. For the next 52 (or more) weeks, we’ll look at an aspect of Jesus and how we can find application to our own lives.

I’d love to say that there was one characteristic of Jesus that was the clear choice to with which to start this series. The reality is that it’s hard to pick one aspect which really defined Jesus’ time on earth. But there is one overarching theme that permeated Jesus’ life, even from his earliest years. And I picked it because I suspect it’s the one Jesus would start with.

Because at every opportunity, Jesus made sure that people understood one thing about him:

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. — John 6:38

Jesus sought God’s will from the beginning

Luke writes that when Jesus was 12 years old, Joseph and Mary journeyed with relatives and fellow pilgrims to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. But on the way back to Nazareth, they learned that their caravan had left Jesus behind. So they went back to the city and found him in the temple, talking to the teachers there about the scriptures. When his parents found him, Jesus seems surprised that they were worried: “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?”

As much as anything else, that sentence defines Jesus’ life. Over and over, we read Jesus expressing a fundamental concern: that everything he did in this life was a means of glorifying God (John 17:4).

He came to the world not of his own accord, but God’s. (John 8:42) And he taught people so that they could be true children of God (Matt. 5:45), and have the same unity with the Father that he enjoyed (John 17:6-10). He taught only what the Father gave him to speak (John 12:49). His continued focus was to reveal the Father to his disciples, so that they could in turn reveal Him to the world. He alone was adequate to that task (Matt. 11:27), and he fulfilled it until his death.

We don’t know a lot about Jesus’ personal life, and outside of three years, we know almost nothing. But in those three years, we see the picture of a person with a singular focus on God. He lived the “disentangled” life that Paul talks about in 2 Timothy 2:4—a life that contrasts sharply to the prediction of the seeds that would grow up among the thorns and weeds and bear no fruit. We see in Jesus a drive that no doubt came from a knowledge that he only had a short time on earth to establish what God had given him to accomplish.:

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, ” Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest ‘? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” − John 4:31-35

He preached that to his disciples, and he lived that in his life. He glorified God in the way that God wishes to be glorified: put Him first.

What does Jesus’ example mean to me?

I’ll never be Jesus. But I can look at Jesus and see God’s plan for mankind modeled before my eyes. We are created in the image of God for one purpose and one purpose only: to glorify God. Every good deed, every work of righteousness or kindness, every act of love—all of it is done “so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

If I am not showing God in my life, if my faith isn’t a defining part of who I am, then I have not accomplished the purpose for which I was put on this earth. If I am not speaking “as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11), but instead teaching my own ideas and opinions, or seeking to elevate my own importance as a teacher, I am denying the example of Christ.

Jesus understood that better than anyone who has ever lived. And he calls us to follow him.

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Categories: Christianity, Contributors

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4 replies

  1. This is a great piece! I’d love to follow the series. Well done, Paul 🙂

    Like

  2. “I’ll never be Jesus.”

    How true. Perhaps we suould remember that the next time we are tempted to lile the well worn epithet “You might be the only Jesus someone else sees.”

    Like

  3. Knowing Jesus, and knowing God’s will, means listening to Jesus tell us which commandment is the most important one. No it ‘s not “love.”

    Poem – What is love?

    Two men came to Jesus
    With different motivations.
    They asked Him the same question
    Relevant to all the nations:

    Which is the Most Important?
    The answer was the same.
    Jesus did not manipulate
    He was not there to play a game.

    “Love the Lord your God” said Jesus
    as He quoted from The Law –
    to fulfill and not abolish
    was His purpose, full of awe.

    Jesus did not make all Scripture
    Into one new great commandment.
    He summarized The Law and Prophets
    “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”

    The Love of God is higher
    Than the love of any man.
    Receive from God, give back to God-
    Then to others, that’s His plan.

    The Love of God involves much more
    Than simply “love your fellow man.”
    Worship, trust, and pray to God,
    and obey Him – that’s His plan

    To worship and pray to neighbors,
    Whoever they may be,
    Or trust and obey our enemies
    Would be idolatry.

    The love of God is first and greatest,
    And the love of man is second.
    “All we need is love” are words
    of dead Beetles on the pavement.

    “The entire law is summed up in a single command”
    are not the words of Jesus our Salvation.
    It’s false teaching of Paul the Pharisee
    an “accuser of our brethren.”

    “Love” without God is Satan’s word through Paul
    in his chapter to the Corinthians.
    “I will show you the most excellent way”
    is the road to eternal perdition.

    Where is God in Paul’s chapter on love?
    Nowhere in view of the eye.
    Paul sings about himself like a Mexican Mariachi
    “I, I, I, I.”

    Jesus is The Most Excellent Way
    Not the words of a Pharisee.
    The words of Jesus are very clear.
    Jesus said, “You must follow ME.”

    Like

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