Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
Back to the Son
by Erik Momsen
Jesus is the most popular figure to have walked the earth. It is noteworthy that just after the Beatles pronounced themselves to be more popular than Jesus they disbanded and the "Jesus Movement" broke out. Characteristic of the "Jesus Movement" was the desire of millions of young people, around the world, to renounce the values and practices of their parents and model themselves on what they believed to be the character and principles of Jesus.
We must also note the difference in spirituality between churches which openly and consistently focus on the name, person and character of Jesus and those who don’t. Vibrant Christianity must hold high the "name which is above every name" (Philippians 2:9) or degenerate into religiousity. Our faith is only true if it remain sharply focused on one man, Jesus Christ, Son of Man and Son of God. Churches and religious people can present a form of religion where Jesus is seldom mentioned. His name easily becomes a stumbling block.
"Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: ..." (1 Peter 2:6-8)
However there is a promise to those who love and confess His name.
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 10:32)
WHY DIFFERENT FROM OTHER MEN
A fitting place to start looking at the details of the earthly life of Jesus is in the first recorded gospel. Mark notes this is the "beginning of the gospel" or the "good news" about Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. He indicates this is a great enduring story about the Messianic King who came from heaven.
Mark then emphasizes that the prophets foretold his coming and he uses Isaiah’s words about God to describe Jesus.
According to Mark, John’s ministry draws much attention while he preaches repentance and baptism even for Jews. This is a new teaching. John’s work focuses on the "one more powerful than I" and he makes the distinction by contrasting their respective baptisms. John baptizes in water while Jesus will baptize "with the Holy Spirit".
Here we have the classical situation of a man and his ministry compared to the Son of God and His. Man can call fellow men to repentance and even enact a sign to give it religious significance. Jesus, however, has the power to impart the very Spirit of God to those he ministers to.
The start of Jesus' ministry is sealed with his baptism by John at which the whole Trinity is present. Jesus a man, yes, but so much more!
Mark summarizes the message of Jesus in His opening words. "The time has come. The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news." (1:15)
As with the contrast between John’s and Jesus baptism so here we see a new thing. Jesus says a new era has arrived. The universe as we know it is different from this moment on. It is now possible for God to break into the human struggle and start changing it. Jesus says turn around, change your mind and believe that with God now among you things can be different.
Whether we like it or not the sum of our whole lives' effort and struggle will depend on what we did with the name Jesus. This name will make or break us. Belief in His name and His Kingdom gives us a completely new way of thinking and acting. His name is the entry into the new victory of the Father.
Date Added: 2010-10-05
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