Lecture 17: The Example of Jesus
Course: Leading Healthy Church Culture
Lecture 17: The Example of Jesus
A. How did Jesus deal with These Handles?
We have talked about these five handles as being descriptive. Whatever you do about these five will determine the value of the organization in the church. So, how did Jesus deal with these handles? Jesus was preparing the twelve to establish the church. That was one of his primary roles; besides giving his life for our sins, it was also to build his church; for he said, ‘I will build my church.’ So, for the twelve, his focus was to prepare them for the start of the church shortly after his resurrection and ascension. If these disciples were watching his every move and listening to his teaching, then what values was he incorporating and instilling in their lives during those years that would prepare them to perpetuate that kind of culture in the church. It seems so obvious if you look at the Gospel, that the twelve went on to be the fathers of the church that we are part of today. So, whatever Jesus did in preparing them and laying the ground work, establishing the values that would become part of the early church was incredibly powerful. Let us look at some examples.
B. The Demon Processed Man
Remember the story of the demon processed man, the person that was running around among the tombs. They would chain him up and he would break those chains and run through the village like a wild man. He was a wild man because he was processed and then Jesus showed up. Jesus, of course, delivered the man. The reaction of the people of the town, Luke says that they were fills with fear. That was the first statement. They should have been afraid of the man in the tombs. We are sometimes less afraid of such things than we are of the power and wonder of God. They ask Jesus to leave. After the demons left the man, they went into the pigs. So, what did Jesus model and teach to his disciples here? Audience: people are more important than pigs. Speaker: The man wanted to follow Jesus, but Jesus told him to go back to his own people. The man obeyed him and returned to his people. It wasn’t about amassing a following of people; it was about empowering people to go forward. Imagine the disciples watching this; this was over among the gentiles, among a Godless people and also a demon processed man. Can you imagine the value Jesus placed on one person within that context? This man was a total outcast. Audience: we sometimes want to control everything that seems somewhat out of control.
C. Clearing the Temple
What about Jesus in clearing the temple? There were money exchangers so that people could buy animals for sacrifice and they were cheating people in exchanging their money. This was all being done within the temple area. So, Jesus overturned tables and threw their money about and disrupted the whole scene. What would the disciples think about this situation? Audience: I would wonder why Jesus didn’t talk to someone in charge, rather than react the way he did in demonstrating anger. Speaker: Rather than take a political approach, he actually took a prophetic approach. In taking a political approach, it could have taken time in regards to debates and questions and convincing the right people what they should do. But Jesus had the insight to see things that we couldn’t see or understand. There was a strong value on what belonged to God. This wasn’t political, but instead, it was a demonstration of God’s heart for that which belonged to him. He was protesting the fact that it changed the temple from being a house of prayer to being a marketplace. He was really jealous for God’s property, not the building but instead, the temple concept.
D. Washing Jesus’ Feet with Perfume
As we look at how we allocate scarce resources, we talked about how Jesus gave his time because that was a precious commodity that he had. When Jesus’ feet was anointed with perfume and there was a response to that text in Luke; what was Jesus teaching about a scarce use of resources? This was the story of a sinful woman who came and washed his feet with her hair and anointed his feet with costly perfume. We saw a backlash from religious leaders. One of the things was perhaps she could see him as the Son of God because she recognized the sin within her. They could not see him as the Son of God because they didn’t recognize their own sin within them. So, the cost was irrelevant; what she did was an expression of her love and feelings of forgiveness from the Son of God. Perhaps, Jesus paid this compliment in terms of rewarding someone who values him. The people about him didn’t value him, but this woman did. His focus is on her heart and her faith with her actions which were contrasted with those around him. Her heart was more focused on Jesus, perhaps as her Savior. It was a lavish giving out of extreme gratitude. Paul taught this in Corinthians.
In behaviors we reward; we could spend a lot of time here. We could go through the Scriptures to see what was Jesus teaching; what values was he instilling within these disciples? What are the behaviors that Jesus wants to highlight for the peacemakers, the poor in Spirit and the meek? And those who are persecuted for righteousness sake; these kinds of things clearly are the things that Jesus wanted to champion. How did this impact the early church? Interestingly, with Jesus and the parable of the sower didn’t demonstrate proper farming methods; the seed landed in places where it can’t possible grow but some of it landed in places that it did. This is about God bringing about the fruit. We could go through these kingdom parables; if the farmer didn’t know about sowing seed or weeding, it was no way of farming.
E. The Parable of the Mina
The parable of the mina in Luke chapter 19 was dealing with a very clear scenario; when the king went away to receive the kingdom, he left these servants, each with a mina to put it into a business and make a profit and when the king returned, he rewarded people according to what they had done with what they had been given. Each was given the same amount. It isn’t about how much you have, but it is about what you do with what you have. There is a measurement that is clear, but the emphasis is on responsibility with what I have been entrusted. This is the key point within the text. As we think about these handles, think about how Jesus in cooperated these handles to teach and train and prepare his disciples for the church that they would be responsible for. One fascinating study is on how Jesus responded to crisis. One of my favorite stories is John chapter 6 when it was presumed that Jesus would be king. He feed the thousands with the fish and the bread and then they followed him to the other side of the lake because they wanted free food forever, thus they wanted him to be king. They wanted Jesus to provide them with food forever. But, Jesus offended them in describing what it was going to cost them to follow him of which then they soon left him. In a crisis moment when Jesus could have become the political leader, he chose to follow the Father’s way and to reduce his influence over the masses. That response in crisis is critical for us to see what he valued. As we place that against the ‘bigger is better motif’ that we have discussed, it can be very instructive to our lives and our leadership.
F. The Woman Caught in Adultery
Of course, the woman caught in adultery; let’s talk about that. We know the story, Jesus writes on the ground, let him who is without sin cast the first stone. In that moment of crises, what is Jesus teaching? What value is he instilling within those who are watching this? Perhaps a huge amount of mercy and forgiveness; they need to take a personal inventory of their own lives. Was this a critical moment? Yes, it was life and death. It was for the woman and for Jesus; what is he going to do and how was he to respond to this?