Note: This Sunday was the last week of our series entitled, ‘The EveryDAY Jesus’. We looked at the four ways Jesus took authority ‘in the moment’ of his earthly life to live out the Will of the Father for eternity. The following is the outline for today’s sermon on the ‘Character of Jesus’.
As we have learned the past few weeks, Jesus took authority for the moment in four ways:
1) He Consistently used the tools of prayer and devotion to draw close to the Father.
2) He Committed himself to giving up his life in order to live out the Will of the Father—no matter how irrational or disorderly that Will seemed.
3) He shared Communion with his disciples and followers in order to set a foundation of covenant relationship that the struggles of this world could not overcome.
Today, we learn the fourth way Jesus took authority for the moment. Jesus focused on ‘Character’ modeled from his relationship with the Father to offer the disciples keys for becoming all that God had in store for them.
Biblical character is the set of values at the core of a person that no one else may see but that ultimately defines our actions and intentions. The Character of Jesus is found woven within the teachings and stories of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Oftentimes pushed aside as illustrations for deeper points, Jesus’ interactions with his disciples define the deeper intentions plans for his fragile followers.
What were the CHARACTERisitics employed every day by Jesus.
I. Jesus was Faithful and Obedient
John 7:18-- 18 Those who speak on their own seek glory for themselves. Those who seek the glory of him who sent me are people of truth; there’s no falsehood in them.
John 4:34--34 Jesus said to them, “I am fed by doing the will of the one who sent me and by completing his work.
John 8:29-- 29 He who sent me is with me. He doesn’t leave me by myself, because I always do what makes him happy.”
John 15:13-- 13 If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
At the core of Jesus’ life was a commitment and connection to the Father that dominated every other aspect of Jesus’ life. It established Jesus’ mission, how he loved others, how we faced the world and its issues. The faithfulness and obedient life of Jesus served as the ‘model’ for how others could see God.
No matter your gifts or abilities, our faithfulness and obedience to God is the defining factor of our fruitfulness for God.
II. Jesus was Truthful
John 8:46--46 Who among you can show I’m guilty of sin? Since I speak the truth, why don’t you believe me?
Luke 22: 42-- 42 He said, “Father, if it’s your will, take this cup of suffering away from me. However, not my will but your will must be done.”
At the core of Jesus was the presence and power of truth, which he embodied-- not simply represented or taught. Therefore, everything Jesus said AND did spoke to a greater purpose—that is truth—that focuses us on a greater meaning behind what we may first see or experience.
No matter what we might accomplish or what accolades the world would offer us, we must always embody God’s truth not the standards of the world.
III. Jesus was Compassionate
John 15:13-- 3 No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends.
John 13:1--13 Before the Festival of Passover, Jesus knew that his time had come to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them fully.
Luke 19:41-- 41 As Jesus came to the city and observed it, he wept over it.
Luke 23:34--34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” They drew lots as a way of dividing up his clothing.
At the core of Jesus was compassion—for his disciples, followers, those in need, the world, etc. Side by side with Jesus’ great work of redemption, sacrifice and salvation was this abiding love for those in need and for those who are broken--- which is all of us. In fact, Jesus’ compassion, as you look at these Scriptures above, frame the beautiful response of JESUS’ DIVINITY when OUR HUMANITY lets us down.
God has a special dispensation for the poor and for the broken. God’s plan of redemption begins with compassion for our condition that propels us to care about the condition of our brothers and sisters.
IV. Jesus was Selfless
Luke 22:27--27 So which one is greater, the one who is seated at the table or the one who serves at the table? Isn’t it the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
Mt 20:28: 28 just as the Human One[a] didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people.”
At the core of Jesus was a selfless view of himself and the world. Even with every right to hold power and sway over every situation (Phil. 2), Jesus served and developed a life of serving that defined everything for his and his followers’ future journey.
But, even pride can take over our ‘good deeds’ and our compassion can become a testament to our own accomplishments—to truly experience God’s presence and power, one must exist for a greater purpose than self and then we must live like it by serving others.
I pray this outline will be a source of strength, confidence, and comfort in your daily walk with Christ. And, yes, make ‘today’—right now- all that it is supposed to be. Give Christ your full attention in this moment—and that will change everything to come.
Shane Stanford is a pastor, teacher and author committed to sharing the hope of Jesus Christ with the world.