By John Larkins
One way to determine appropriate Christian behavior today is to ask, “What would Jesus do?” This approach uses the Bible as a source for Jesus’s teaching. This seems like a reliable guide, but we need to have a sound idea of WHAT Jesus actually did and WHY He did those things that were recorded. This column has held that Jesus had an obvious and important mission here on Earth, a mission that had a concrete start and end. It is clear that He was sent by God the Father to reopen the gates of Heaven, which were closed after Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s orders in the Garden of Eden. God promised to send a Redeemer who would enable God’s children to join Him in Paradise.
So, to answer the question of how we should behave, we need to be able to say definitively what Jesus did while on earth, with us, as the Son of Man. Jesus was the Son of God, of course, but in order to accomplish His mission of Redemption, He had to become the Son of Man. So, Jesus was sired by the Holy Spirit and mothered by Mary. In the gospel Mary is clearly identified as the Mother of God, so let us understand the biology God provided for Jesus and all of us.
Just as we must mature after birth, so did Jesus. He grew up as the son of a working man and learned the trade of carpentry. Not much detail can be found in the Bible about Jesus’ childhood, but Jesus did receive circumcision as a faithful Jew. A glimpse of Jesus’ youth is seen in a trip made with His parents that included teaching in the temple. The family became separated when returning home and Jesus’ parents went back to find Him. He commented that He had to be doing His Father’s teaching mission, but Jesus postponed His teaching mission for a few years.
When Jesus formally began that mission, He announced this was the “beginning of God’s Kingdom.” Why was Jesus teaching anything but the Torah, which was the Old Testament revelations to Moses and his successors? Because He was converting God’s Chosen People to a new covenant, a replacement for the 1,000-year-old covenant previously made with the Jews. Jesus told them, “new wine cannot be put in an old wineskin.” Today’s false teachers seem oblivious to the revolutionary doctrine that Jesus taught His apostles and all others to whom Jesus taught!
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the Earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matt 10:34). The symbol of a sword signifies the struggle Jesus knew would happen in Jewish families and communities when fathers, mothers and children would be separated from one another as some converted to Jesus’s Church and others refused to join His new covenant. Just as some today refuse the Catholic faith, as Jesus new and everlasting covenant has been known for 2,000 years. One often hears reference to the “Great Commission” that Jesus gave His apostles at the conclusion of Mark’s and Matthew’s gospels. That command, from Jesus to His Church leaders, was for them to present the opportunity to convert to His Church for the sake of their immortal souls, souls of both the speakers and the hearers. And, He said, “If you love me, you will keep my Commandments.”
As the most profound expression of Jesus’s love for all of us, His Church would dispense, through Christ’s sacraments, the saving grace God gave His Son for the awful death on the cross and His wonderful resurrection! Jesus’ apostles and their valid successors could forgive sins and dispense the Communion of His body and blood. God thought of everything.
“But, whoever disowns Me before men, I will disown him before My Father in heaven” (Matt 10:33). God promised His Church would forever prevail against the gates of Hell (Matt 16:18). Today, about 35,000 man-made churches try to compete for our souls, but His Church still prevails!
For the past 15 years, John Larkins has evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals and in church situations. Contact him at email@example.com.