Lesson 3 - Jesus-Prophet and King
Papyrus. Papyrus is a plant that grew along the Nile during the biblical period. The stem was removed and the inner fibres were cut into thin strips. Some were laid horizontally, and others were soaked and placed vertically, forming a common writing material. Much of the New Testament was written on papyrus.
Years of Preparation
Joshua. The name Jesus was the Greek equivalent of the Old Testament name Joshua, meaning, "The Lord saves." Jesus was the "everyman" in every sense. He was born in small, insignificant town, he held the most common of jobs and he even bore a common name. His life and purpose, however, was anything but common.
Synoptics. Matthew, Mark and Luke are known as "synoptic gospels" (from a Greek word meaning to see together) because of their similiar language and content. The book of John is very different, providing much additional insight
into Jesus's life.
Prayer. Prayer is a spiritual response to God and covers a wide spectrum including addressing God, contemplating, reflecting and petitioning. Jesus provided the best example of prayer in what is called "The Lord's Prayer." It is found in Matthew 6:9-13 and is probably the best-known prayer in all of Christianity.
A Prophet Like Moses
Moses was a great prophet and leader. He led his people out of slavery and gave them the laws of God. God showed Moses that the Messiah would also be a prophet to give God's message to the people. He would lead people out of the slavery of sin. He would be King of their lives and give them new rules to live by.
I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them whatever I command. I will personally hold responsible anyone who then pays no attention to the words that prophet speaks in my name. (Deuteronomy 18:18-19)
For years the people were judged by the law that God gave Moses. Moses wrote that this would be changed when the Messiah came. Everyone would be judged by what the Messiah said. And so today when we want to know how God wants us to live, we read Jesus' teachings.
Rules of Jesus' Kingdom
Who Will Be Happy?
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely on account of me. Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way. (Matthew 5:3-12)
What the Members of the Kingdom Are
God gave the basic principles of right and wrong through Moses. They have not changed. But Jesus' law goes far beyond Moses' law. Moses taught the people what to do. Jesus teaches us what to be. We are to be like salt, giving a good flavor to life, and like light, showing people the way to God.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)
Rules for Thoughts and Feelings
The laws of Moses are a standard by which we can judge our actions. Jesus gives us a standard by which each person must judge his or her own attitudes. A person may be very careful not to break the law, but still be full of sin inside. Sinful thoughts, feelings and desires cause sinful acts. Jesus teaches us to clean up inside so that we can live a clean life.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)
You have heard that it was said to an older generation,‘Do not murder,’ and ‘whoever murders will be subjected to judgment.’ But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subjected to judgment. And whoever insults a brother will be brought before the council, and whoever says ‘Fool’ will be sent to fiery hell. (Matthew 5:21-22)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)
The Law of Love
The main law in Jesus' Kingdom is the law of love: love for God and for one another.
And one of them, an expert in religious law, asked him a question to test him: “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:35-40)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:43-45)
Keeping Jesus' Rules
Jesus says that your life depends on keeping His rules. They are the secret of a happy life, both now and after death.
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do what I tell you?
“Everyone who comes to me and listens to my words and puts them into practice– I will show you what he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep, and laid the foundation on bedrock. When a flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the person who hears and does not put my words into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against that house, it collapsed immediately, and was utterly destroyed! (Luke 6:46-49)
The only trouble with trying to keep Jesus' rules is this: no one can do it on our own. We just aren't made that way. We have sin in our hearts: selfishness and rebellion that keep us from living up to the standard. What can we do?
Jesus told us the secret in a conversation with Nicodemus, a religious leader. God will change us so that we will want to do what Jesus shows us to do. And His Holy Spirit will help us do it. Jesus called this being born again. When we are saved we become children of God and have a new nature.
Millions of people have had this experience. They have found a wonderful new life following Jesus here on earth. And they are looking forward to sharing His beautiful, eternal home in heaven.
God, I don't want my life to crash in ruins. Please take away the bad things in my nature. Make me over again and put Your love in me. Help me to build my life on Jesus' teachings. Please make me Your child. Amen.
Did you pray this prayer?