Have you ever had one of those moments where you’ve been blown away by someone’s relationship with God? They’re oozing the love of God, and the room just seems to settle with this tangible joy and peace which are totally unexplainable by the world’s standards?I’ve met a few such people and the Bible is full of them too: Joseph and his unaccountable hope when enslaved in a foreign land; King David and his mighty worship in the face of death threats; and Paul ministering to the helpless prison guard after an earthquake set him free. The ultimate, of course, is Jesus Himself – the very radiance of the Father’s love, healing and teaching right to His death and resurrection with an outstretched arm inviting us in by the grace of God.
Often we pour our efforts into realising a single facet of the kingdom of God in our own lives, for example the pursuit of social justice, or seeking to become a messenger of good news, and we totally fail! But the Gospel Jesus preached wasn’t a bound set of life-goals, nor is the abundant life Jesus offers modular: these things are the intrinsic out-growth of a radical life transformation. So the question really is, how do we shape our lives to exude that kind of love and invite others to become a part of it too? How do we become more like Jesus? Here are three aspects of Jesus’ character that have blown my mind:
Humility Community Availability
‘Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged.’ Matthew 7:1
Humility is one of those qualities we love until it comes to living it – we’re fine with the concept of being humble, until we think someone might consider us wrong! Humility isn’t just a New Testament principle. For example, Isaiah 40:13 says: ‘Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord or what man shows Him his counsel?’ Not to mention Job, where humility is a massive overriding theme. What gets me is that throughout Jesus’ ministry, He didn’t speak directly into the political whirlwind of His age; He didn’t even seek out the religious elite to challenge them to an intellectual duel of eloquent, morally charged sabres – the Pharisees came to Him! Jesus came with a humility like no other, serving the needs of the people – He actually cared about the individual. Just like in Mark 5:30, where despite the crowed pressing against Him, He finds the one who, in faith, touched His garments and says ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well, go in peace and be healed of your disease’.
‘Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members of one another.’ Ephesians 4:25
Community – the condition of sharing – is something totally counter cultural even though almost all of us live surrounded by other people all the time. The very first chapter of Mark’s Gospel introduces us to the community of Jesus: after finding out that Simon and Andrew’s mother was unwell with fever, in verse 31 Jesus ‘came and took her hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she immediately began to serve them’. In fact, the community of Jesus stretches far beyond the pages of the Gospels, as we read in Ephesians 2:8 ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith’. Our relationship with God is not one we can do alone – because it’s not our doing! This grace is the mountain peak of Jesus’ selflessness, giving His all for us so undeserving, and because of it we can continue to build this community.
‘Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, count others more significant than yourselves.’ Philippians 2:3
Availability is a clear virtue of the Gospel of Jesus before the New Testament even begins: ‘How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation’ (Isaiah 52:1). Here, God is making Himself available to us through His only son. The acts of Jesus throughout His life affirm this over and over again. For example, in the sentence immediately after the healing of Simon and Andrew’s mother which we read above in Mark 1:31, we read: ‘That evening at sundown they brought to Him all who were sick and oppressed by demons.’ Jesus made Himself available to everyone in need as He put them above Himself out of love.
Humility, community, and availability. Three small glimmers of Jesus. I hope that He blesses you generously with them, and through you blesses others in them.
Words by Tim Ness