“The Many Faces of Jesus”
How do you even begin to answer this question? There are so many ways to describe Jesus. Have you seen “The Dress” this week? Is it white and gold or black and blue? We’re looking at the same thing, but we’re describing two different dresses. Sometimes I hear people talk about Jesus in a way that makes me think, “They must be talking about a different Jesus!” For the next few weeks we’ll be looking at the “Many faces of Jesus,” to encounter Jesus as Friend, Miracle Worker, Servant, and Shepherd. These four “faces” give us a good picture who Jesus is, why he came, and why we talk about him so often.
When I was on the football team in high school one the leaders on the team took up a collection for some new carpets in the locker room. I gave him $5 and never heard of the carpets again. Later on I found out he used the money he collected to buy beer for the big weekend party. Trusting someone who’s not trustworthy makes you feel pretty foolish.
Who hasn’t been there before? Some of us trust people way too easily and we find ourselves being taken advantage of. But other people seem to never trust others and are so skeptical they refuse to trust people who are actually trustworthy.
“Can we trust God?”
This might sound like a weird question to ask, but it’s absolutely honest and worth asking. How do we know he’s trustworthy? How do we know if he even likes us?
John 3:17 says, “God sent his Son into the world to judge the world but to save the world through him.” Jesus is not God’s warrior sent to slaughter sinners for their rebellion. Instead, He is God-in-flesh, the Son of God who came to RESTORE our relationship with God. Our sin made us enemies of God. Through Jesus, our sins are forgiven and we are made FRIENDS of God.
John 15:13-14 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” This is how Jesus loved us. Sometimes we talk about the Christianity in a way that makes forgiveness sound free. But it wasn’t free. It was actually really expensive… it cost Jesus his life.
For those of us who consider ourselves Christians, Jesus tells us that we’re supposed to do what he did: honor God and love others. He’s obviously not saying that you need to die for your friends and you’re not able to forgive them of their sins, but do you love them enough to put them first? Do you love them enough to sacrifice for them? Do you love Jesus enough to love others the way he has loved you?
If you aren’t a Christian, I want to kindly tell you that you’re missing out. You’re missing out on the amazing love of God who loves you so much he became a man who suffered and died in order to rescue you from sin and death and judgment. I want to make sure you hear from Jesus the reason he came: to lay down his life for his friends.
If you aren’t a Christian, I want you to know that you can trust Jesus. If you ever doubt that, you only need to look at the cross to see how much he loves you. Jesus not only tells us, but he shows us what godly friends do – they lay their lives down for each other. Jesus is so much more than just a friend, but that’s not a bad starting point to describe who he is!
What would it look like if we all lived as friends of Jesus?
What would your family look like? What would your school look like? What would our youth group look like?
- I think we’d spend more time with people who are outcasts and left out of groups, and less time so focused on our friend-groups that we end up leaving people on the outside.
- I think we’d spend more time praying for people and less time talking about them.
- I think we’d be less materialistic and far more sacrificial.
- We’d be more willing to risk doing or saying the right thing, even if it would mean some sort of backlash might come our way.
- And when others hurt us, we’d be quicker to forgive them, because we know that Jesus forgave us.
- All in all, We’d be way less worried about ourselves and more active about putting others first.
There are times when it’s really hard to trust God. It’s hard to trust him when you’re being picked on and bullied at school. It’s hard to trust him when you feel so overwhelmed by everyone else’s expectations, and you’re stressed out because you don’t want to let people down. It’s hard to trust him when life is really tough and your prayers don’t seem to be answered.
When we consider the many faces of Jesus, I think it’s helpful to remember that Jesus came in order to rescue us from our sin so that we could be friends of God. And whenever we question if we can trust God, let us look to the cross to remember the fullness of his love.