What Jesus Is Like
WHAT JESUS IS LIKE
It seems that nearly everyday someone is launching another attack on Jesus.
- You may have seen it in the news; recently a new book came out that describes Jesus as a Zealot and a violent radical.
- And the book goes on to say that Jesus never said that He was “the Son of God.”
- Ironically the author of the book is a radical Muslim which seems to explain his reason for attacking Jesus.
In past years people have said that Jesus was gay…that He was sexually immoral…that He was a fake as well as crazy.
What was Jesus really like? And that is an important question for us, not because we might give in to the pressures of those that attack Him, but because Matthew 11:25 says, “It is enough for the disciple that he become as his teacher, and the slave as his master.”
- As His disciples we are to strive to be more like Jesus.
- So, what was He like?
Well, this morning we are going take a look at what Jesus was like….we are going to take a look at the heart of our Savior….the heart of our teacher and master…so that we too might be like our teacher…so that we might learn more about Jesus.
Now we have already learned a lot from and about Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount…but here in chapter 8 Jesus leaves the hillside…and a huge crowd is following Him.
- Some of those who are following Him are coming from many different places because of their diseases, and illnesses, and concerns…
- And lets read again starting in verse 1:
And when He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. 2 And behold, a leper came to Him, and bowed down to Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 3 And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and present the offering that Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.”
Leprosy was a completely debilitating skin disease.
- In its advanced stages your fingers are falling off, appendages are falling off, your contagious, you are an outcast.
- You can’t be with your family, you can’t be at Temple or synagogue or anywhere.
- So you are just living out there with other people who are like you.
- And Jesus cleansed him and he was cleansed immediately and that means he is cleansed of his leprosy and Jesus has restored his flesh 100% to what it was before he was sick.
- And Jesus said to the man, “Go and show yourself to the priest because the priest will inspect you and see that your leprosy is gone and he will pronounce you clean and you can get to come back to Temple and back to synagogue.”
- You see the heart of the Savior is this: He is not just simply interested in fixing your body…instead He is mostly interested in restoring your soul and bringing you back into the fellowship of the Lord your God. That is the heart of our Savior.
Here are some more people that followed Jesus, people that he began to interact with as he came down the hillside. Look starting in vs. 5:
And when He had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, entreating Him, 6 and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering great pain.” 7 And He said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
Now vs.10: Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled, and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.
And now vs. 13 And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; let it be done to you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very hour.
Now think about this just a minute.
- This man is a pagan…a heathen…a Roman Centurion…he is not a Jew…and he comes asking for help…who should Jesus help first…this pagan or one of his fellow Jesus?
But this is the heart of the Savior, recognizing faith in the most unlikely of people.
- How often has it been true that I have prejudged people that I meet or have prejudged people that I know a little bit?
- Or I think to myself, “He would never be interested in God!” “She would never be interested in the Lord!”
- Why? “Pagan, heathen, sinful!”
- Aren’t you glad that Jesus didn’t just decide ahead of time that you or I weren’t worth the effort?
- That is the heart of the Savior is to recognize faith where it is? To reach out all men.
Here is someone else that he interacted with. The sick people; VS. 14:
And when Jesus had come to Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. 15 And He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she arose, and waited on Him. 16 And when evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill 17 in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “He Himself took our infirmities, and carried away our diseases.”
Luke’s account In Luke 4:40 says that Jesus laid his hand on “every one of them” to heal them.
- Now he didn’t have to touch them to heal. So why did He touch them?
- To convey mercy, compassion, and love, understanding and acceptance…to give a personal touch to every one of these people.
Don’t you wish sometimes that Jesus was still here healing people the way he did 2000 years ago?
- Do you know anyone that you would like to take Jesus to visit? Do you know any hospitals that you would like to take Jesus to go with you to visit? Just spend the day healing people?
- And when they are healed it just isn’t that their cancer is in remission, it is that the cancer is completely gone, and their body is as if their cancer and never come.
- That is the heart of the Savior, touching people’s lives and doing what he can to change them.
Then we read about His frightened disciples starting in verse 18:
- It is the end of the day and they get into a boat to go across to the other side of the sea.
- And suddenly a serious storm comes up on the lake and the storm is so bad that the waves come up over the boat and Jesus is sleeping!
- The disciples wake Him up and say, “Lord save us! We are perishing!”
- And he replied, “Why are you timid, you men of little faith?”
Occasionally we see Jesus kind of frustrated with his disciples, disappointed that they don’t have the faith, that they don’t want to believe.
- Have you found like me that faith takes work? I mean you have to apply faith.
- You have to say,” I choose to believe, to not give up” when everything around you says that giving up is the best course of action.
- “I choose to believe anyway! What are the odds? They are overwhelmingly against me. But I choose to believe anyway. I will not give up on God!”
- Jesus wants to see that kind of dig down, deep faith in His disciples.
But sometimes His disciples don’t have it.
- Sometimes when there’s a storm and the boat is full of water and it looks like they are about to drown they are very displeased with Jesus.
- “He is asleep!” “Don’t you care?”
- Jesus might have said, “Haven’t you read in Isaiah that the Messiah is not going to go down in a boating accident?” “Where is your faith!?”
Now here’s what I think is really cool.
- If I would have been in Jesus’ place I would have yelled at them and gone back to sleep.
- What did Jesus do? “Then he got up and rebuked the wind and the waves and it was completely calm.”
- The difference between the heart of the Savior and just a human preacher is that Jesus was disappointed, dissatisfied by the lack of their faith but he understood fear.
- And so He calmed the storm anyway just for them.
- How many times has Jesus done things for me, not because I had the faith of all men everywhere, but because the heart of the Savior understands the hearts of his people.
Then you come to the herd of pigs. There was 300 of them and here is the story.
28 And when He had come to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs; they were so exceedingly violent that no one could pass by that road. 29 And behold, they cried out, saying, “What do we have to do with You, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now there was at a distance from them a herd of many swine feeding. 31 And the demons began to entreat Him, saying, “If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32 And He said to them, “Begone!” And they came out, and went into the swine, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters.
- Who does Jesus care about here?
- These two demon possessed men living in the tombs.
- They were violent, demon possessed, attacking people! Other text say that they cut themselves with stones and ran around in chains, and made a mess of everyone and everything.
Are these the kind of people you want to be around?
You know I find myself asking the question, “Why is Jesus even there?”
- This is not Judea. This is not Galilee. It is not the land of the Hebrews.
- This is Gadara, the land of the Garasenes…this is the Decapolis, the land of the ten Greek Roman cities.
- This is a place of paganism and heathenism.
I think it is interesting that if you pay attention to Jesus’s ministry you find that He very intentionally went into places like Samaria a place where the average Jew said these people are worse than animals.
- In fact the rabbis said of the Samarians that they had forfeited the right to be children of God or they had forfeited the right to be created in the image of God…they were not even human.
- But Jesus went to Samaria to minister to them.
- And He went to the North were no self respecting Jew would ever be within 20 miles of.
- He went up to the region of Caesarea Philippi to a place of glorification of the fertility god and the goat god that comes up from the hadean world and copulates with the women and blesses the goat herds and the land.
- It was a place of deep paganism, heathenism, and immorality, and idolatry.
- And Jesus takes his disciples and goes close up there.
To tell His disciples that this region is a target for his kingdom too. .
- He will go to the places I won’t go. He will minister to the people I won’t minister to.
- Because He has the heart of the Savior.
Then we come to the paralytic. Look at Matthew 9:1.
And getting into a boat, He crossed over, and came to His own city. 2 And behold, they were bringing to Him a paralytic, lying on a bed; and Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Take courage, My son, your sins are forgiven.” 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.”
- Why do they say that He is a blasphemer? Because He is making Himself even with God because only God can forgive sins!
4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? 5 “For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, and walk’? 6 “But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”– then He said to the paralytic– “Rise, take up your bed, and go home.” 7 And he rose, and went home. 8 But when the multitudes saw this, they were filled with awe, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
- Jesus doesn’t just correct the physical problems of this man’s body…it is just as though the man had never been paralyzed.
- His muscles, his joints, his entire body was instantly able to walk…possibly never having walked before.
- This is the heart of the Savior. What do some people worry about?” “He can’t walk!”
- What is the greater concern for Jesus? Restoring their souls to God.” Your sins are forgiven.
And now, Matt 9:9-13
9 And as Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man, called Matthew, sitting in the tax office; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he rose, and followed Him.
10 And it happened that as He was reclining at the table in the house, behold many tax-gatherers and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax-gatherers and sinners?”12 But when He heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13 “But go and learn what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice, ‘for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
What does Jesus mean when He says, “I desire compassion, and not sacrifice”?
- Well, you can read about it in Hosea 6:6.
- These Pharisees considered themselves to be “holier than anyone else…they were separated.”
- And as far as they were concerned you don’t eat with sinners.
- Sinners are unholy, they are castaways, unclean, unrighteous, you don’t touch them, you don’t talk to them and you sure don’t eat with them.
But where is Jesus? Right smack dab in the middle of their living room eating whatever they eat.
- You see, as far as the Pharisees were concerned, there is no love, there is no compassion, and there is no forgiveness of sin.
- All there is, is condemnation, and judgment, and prejudice, and hatred, and envy.
- And yet, every Sabbath Day they offered up their sacrifices…and every time they went to Synagogue they offered up their praise, their songs, the reading of the scriptures.
- And Jesus says, “Your sacrifices are of no value…they have no meaning if there is no compassion, no love, no mercy, no humility, no gentleness and kindness for the people.”
- That is the heart of the Savior.
- A heart of compassion, and love, and mercy…a heart that is humble in its efforts to bring people back to God.
- And, it is also a heart that is courageous enough to stand up to evil.
So, this is what Jesus is really like:
- He is mostly interested in restoring souls and bringing people back into fellowship with God.
- He recognizes faith where it is and is willing to reach out to all men.
- He is full of mercy, compassion, love, understanding and acceptance…
- He desires to touch people’s lives and doing what He can to change them.
- He understands the hearts of his people.
- He will go to the places I won’t go. He will minister to the people I won’t minister to.
- He is willing and can forgive sins.
- He desires compassion and not sacrifice.
- And, He also has a heart that is courageous enough to stand up to evil.
In the last few weeks a man who is a professed radical Muslim attacked Jesus. I wonder, if he compared his prophet to the real Christ, which would he rather have?
- And for us we need to strive to be more like Jesus because “it is enough for a disciple to be like His teacher.”
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023