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Follow Jesus in Redding

February 26 2018
February 26 2018

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At Vineyard City Church of Redding we desire to be “A community devoted to the person and purposes of Jesus.” My previous blog spot was dedicated to the idea of community. What does it mean to be community, how do we achieve it, and how do we sustain it? This blog is about the person of Jesus, ‘cuz in the end, he’s the one we’re following!

Our church in Redding exists because Jesus exists. He isn’t a fantasy, myth, a good idea, an ideal, or the result of some wish dream. One of the cool things about Jesus is that he actually existed. One nerdy way of describing this is: Jesus has historicity. He is a historical person. Now someone might say, “Of course you Christians believe he existed, but your opinion and the Bible are biased.” The Bible has the most information about Jesus’ life, but it’s not the only source that Jesus actually existed. You might think there are several since he’s the center of the largest faith in the world, however Jesus died as a criminal in Rome of which there were many. Too, Jesus wouldn’t have been the only Jew claiming to be the Messiah, although there would be less of these than criminals in Rome, it wasn’t totally uncommon for this to occur. One source, which almost all historians (believers and non-believers) agree upon is Josephus, who was a respected Jewish historian from that period. Here’s a cool article about Jospehus’ text: https://www.namb.net/apologetics/josephus-and-jesus. Although as Christians we think there should be more, this has demonstrated to all but a few, that the Jesus of the Bible actually lived.

So why is it important that we follow the person of Jesus? I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying: What would Jesus do? It’s become cliche at this point in time, but in many ways it still holds true. For many Christians Jesus could have been born, raised in a barn never to see the light of day, and then brought out at the time of his crucifixion to die for our sins, which is no doubt a very important part of history! That said, he decided to live amongst us for a period of time. Why? Because he wanted to show us how to live. What, from God’s perspective, did being a human look like? Jesus. Thankfully, we get to see what he would do in our shoes.

When Jesus walked the earth he only did what he saw the Father doing. John 5:19 says, “Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” WDidJD? Only what he saw the Father doing. How does that reflect in the way we live our lives? How often do we consider what Jesus would do in our shoes and then do it? Obviously we aren’t “God in the flesh” and if you’re like me it’s easy to get confused. However, we want to follow Him. If Jesus would do it, then game on!

When Jesus walked the earth he wasn’t looking for Christians, he was looking for disciples. In Jesus’ day a disciple was as student. The teachers within Judaism were and are still called Rabbis. Each Rabbi would have a group of students and these were call disciples. When we read the Great Commission Jesus uses this word because that’s what he’s wanting from us, to be his students. Aren’t all Christians, disciples? In short, no. Are all disciples, Christians, yes. We follow Jesus. We don’t follow Christianity, a religion, a set of rules, or anything else. Jesus is our teacher and we are his students.

In our church we often speak of the Relational Triangle. It’s three points represent key relationships within the Kingdom of God. Up-our devotional life; In-our communal life; Out-our missional life. When we speak about being devoted to the person of Christ, we’re speaking about our Up relationship. Are we following him? How? What exercises help us to follow him? How’s that going for us? Because in many, if not all ways, our Up relationship defines our In and our Out relationships.

So, as a church we seek to follow the person of Jesus. When we do, we get to understand who he is, who we are, what church is and what how our lives fit into his grand plan, whether here in Redding or around the world.


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