About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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As Christians in the western world I think we're being overly influenced by a self-centeredness that is invading us from all sides.   Our consumer, debt driven economy, entices us to spend our way into a blessed life.  Our motivational self help gurus preach personal happiness begins with self gratification.  Of course, the Bible says otherwise.     


As Jesus broke bread at the Last Supper He said; "This is my body which is given for you" (Luke 22:19).  The Apostle Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 11:24.  "This is my body which is broken for you."  Despite the difference in the words "given" and "broken", they're both Greek present passive participles.  That means Jesus didn't say his body would be broken at some future point.  He said that His body was being broken by one to whom He submitted as He spoke these words.  I suggest that Jesus felt this brokenness as He left the glorious world of His Father to enter humanity which culminated in the decimation of His body on the cross.  Isaiah 52:14 states that He was so disfigured that he was unrecognizable. Although Jesus agonized over this brokenness at times, He endured the cross for the joy His loss would eventually produce (Hebrews 12:2). 


On another occasion Jesus said that whoever will save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for His sake will save it (Mathew 10:39, 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24).  John 12:25 puts it in even stronger language when it says that whoever loves his life will lose it, but whoever hates his life will save it. 


When reviewing these passages we understand Jesus to say that He lost His life for our sakes and we are now to lose our lives for His sake, which would end in an ultimate blessed life for us all.   


Paul is a prime example of this loss of life.  He died daily (1 Corinthians 15:31).  He denied himself and took up his cross as Jesus commanded in Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, and Luke 9:23.  He then instructed his readers to do the same in Philippians 2:5.  The martyred saints during the Great Tribulation will take up Paul's challenge by willingly dying for the sake of Jesus as seen in Revelation 12:11.   


Paul summed this all up in 2 Corinthians 4:10 when he said that those who are in Christ are always given over to death so that the life of Jesus might be revealed in their bodies.  The Biblical fact is that humans are addicted to self, and, self is sinful.  In short, our addiction is the addiction to sin.  For this reason we are to die to self and live for Jesus, which by the way, is seldom taught in church as it once was.  Much of western style Christendom seeks to save its life, not lose it.  We seek Jesus for what we can get from Him, not for what we can give to Him, and, what He wants from us is all of who we are. 


Handing our lives over to the control of Jesus isn't easy.  It goes against the very fabric of who we are.  It's a daily battle that the Bible calls the battle between flesh and Spirit (Galatians 5:17).  It's the mother of all battles.  If we're not fighting this battle, we've surrendered to self and there's no battle to be fought.  If we're in this battle, each and every victory is a step down into brokenness and a step up into a blessed life.  


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