The Jesus I Thought I Knew
Day 1:We all need to be aware and acknowledge we view Jesus through some kind of lens (our culture, history, teaching we have received, time and place that we live) and that lens shapes our view of Jesus. I may view Jesus as my “Personal Savior” but not King and Lord of my life. Or maybe its seeing Jesus as the “Impossible Jesus” who had nice thoughts, but no one can actually live that way in the real world. Or “Warrior Jesus” - he’s on our side, we’re the ‘good guys’, and he’s against those other people, the ‘bad guys.’ Doug mentioned three lenses that can affect our view of Jesus - the Sunday School Lens (true but simplistic), Skeptic Lens (natural explanation without room for supernatural), and Sacred Lens (Kingdom world view). To what degree do these lenses affect your view of Jesus? How do you see yourself moving in and out of each of these? Pray about this, journal to process your thoughts, discuss with your group or a group member.
Day 2: Our view of Jesus shapes our own personal actions and decisions, and vice versa, think about that! The apostle John wrote, “But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure” (I John 3:2b-3). Notice that seeing Jesus as he is is transformative.Often we are not honest with ourselves about who Jesus is because we know that to acknowledge who he is will affect something we don’t want to change. Being yielded to Jesus, willing to change is important to be able to see Jesus as he is. Think of anything in your life that you are unwilling to yield to Jesus and change. Why? If Christ-likeness is what it means to be Christian, then what attitudes or behaviors do I find in me that are not like Him? Use these as clues as to areas where you may need to grow in your relational knowledge of Christ and self. Yield these to him, share them with your trusted relationships. Pray to change. Pray to see him as he is in relation to these areas.
Day 3:Faith is an essential ingredient to seeing Jesus as he is and knowing him more deeply. At the end of the passage in Mark 6, Jesus is amazed at the people’s lack of faith. They could not see Jesus for who he is. Paul told the Ephesians, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:16-17). We can grow in ourrelationship and trust of Jesus by following his life and teaching in faith. Work against the “Impossible Jesus” narrative or lens, come to Jesus life and teachings as life itself, even if you see them in contrast to “how things are or work”. As you engage scripture, pray for the Spirit of God to help you more and more to experience and know Jesus as he really is, and empower you to live in your real life his Kingdoms ways.
Day 4:The Bible can help us know Jesus, the kind of things he said, emphasized, how he related; he is amazing! Read and meditate on Colossians 1:15-23“The Son is the image of the invisible God… in him all things hold together… God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.” Jesus told his disciples,“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus is who God is and how God lives when He comes as one of us. When you spend time in scripture, are you reading it through the lens of who and how Jesus is? It is easy to search the Bible for how to fix our lives, or just to gain information and try to be right. But can we look at and meditate on who Jesus is and pray to increasingly live more like him. In your daily time in God’s Word, intentionally look at Christ and pray for the wisdom to see him as he is.
Day 5:Be a testimony to others of what you see. You have a perspective on Jesus that others may not have. Don’t assume that something obvious to you is understood by another and leave it unlived or unsaid.. In the hymn “Amazing Grace” John Newton wrote that he was blind but now he sees. We are all at risk of being blinded by something in us or our past that reshapes Jesus into something or someone he is not. Living his ways makes a difference, for us and those who witness the kind of story we are living. Do you have a faith, a relationship with Jesus that makes you a person others would want to follow?