Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Confessing Jesus Before Men: The Way, The Truth, and The Life

"And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. (Luke 12:8-9 NASB)

Confess before men" is a phrase that, in Greek, means to say the same the same things about Jesus that He says about Himself. In this series, we have reviewed the I AM's, including I AM the Bread of Life, I AM the Light of the WorldI AM the DoorI AM the Good Shepherd (pasture), I AM the Good Shepherd, and I AM the Resurrection and the Life.

It was the night before Jesus' crucifixion. He spent those last few hours celebrating the Passover and talking with His disciples. In the limited time He had left, He poured truth into the men who would carry on after His return to heaven. 

"I'm going away," He told them. "Where?" Thomas wanted to know. "Don't worry. I'm going to prepare a place for you and You already know the way to join me." (Leanna Paraphrase) 

I love Thomas. He was full of questions and uncertainly, and not afraid to ask what he wanted to know. We should be so bold. "Jesus, we don't even know where You're going. How do we know the way?" Thomas asked. (LP) Jesus replied with words that we would do well to remember.

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; 
no one comes to the Father but through Me." John 14:6 NASB

(The passages in the Gospel of John are incredibly rich and worth reading. I encourage you to take the time to review John 13-15.)

How do we know "the way"? We know it because we know Jesus, and He is the way. The word translated as "way" is hodos and indicates the road one would take on a journey. In this instance, hodos is used to indicate that Jesus is the path we must take to a relationship with God. 

This word has also been used to describe the Christian faith, as "the way". It is used to indicate that living according to the teaching of Christ is a different "way" of living than we would choose otherwise. 

When we stand at a crossroads of decision, those of us who follow Christ must follow the path He trod. We must remember that Jesus denied Himself, left heaven, suffered incredible loss and pain, paid for our sin, and conquered death. He taught us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. 

We cannot merely choose the easiest or most profitable path. We must choose the way of Christ. The way of righteousness.

Are you struggling to make a decision? Turn to the words in red. In some versions of the Bible, the words Jesus spoke are printed in red. There's enough truth in those words to carry us through a lifetime. His is always the way we should go.

Of course, the problem with following the way of Jesus is that He demands forgiveness for enemies and prayers for persecutors. Who wants to do that? In our natural self, none of us. They are, however, the way of Christ. If we are to follow Him, we must follow His way. 

The way can be summed up in two short sentences. 

"Jesus said unto him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
 and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 
This is the great and foremost commandment. 
The second is like it,' You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"
Matthew 22:37-39 NASB

If we are wondering how we should live, these few verses will give us a nice summary. Love God and love your fellow man. If we get those priorities straight, we have a nice start on the way of Christ.

Understanding the "I AM's" does more than help us know Jesus. To confess Jesus before men, we must "say" with our lives the same things Jesus said about Himself. If we are to be a living demonstration of Jesus as the way, we must live in obedience to His commands. We must love as He loved, give as He gave, serve as He served, forgive as He forgave. He is the way, and He's made the path clear. It's our job to follow close behind.

For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, 
and those who find it are few. 
Matthew 7:14 NASB
Our Father, Thank you for making the way clear by sending Jesus to show us the way to live and the way to You. Help me to choose Your path rather than my own. Help me to follow faithfully until the day I see you face to face in eternity. In Jesus' name, Amen.