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Thursday: What Matters to Jesus — 27 Comments

  1. I have purposely avoided the meta-discussion about Jesus' interaction with other people to concentrate on actual recorded events. There are so many examples and so much we can learn from them.

    One of the most poignant vignettes recorded in the Gospel is The final interaction Jesus had with his mother and best friend.

    Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. John 19:25-27KJV

    In his last few moments of life, with the weight of the sins of the world on his shoulders, gasping for breath, Jesus remembered those who were closest to him and asked them to look after one another.

    Perhaps we need that little reminder to look after those who are closest to us.

    By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35 KJV

    • Maurice - with the indwelling Spirit - our ever present 'Reminder' -, being our 'new mind and heart', it seeks to be filled by Him; being so filled, we do not need the mind to remind us.
      The mind operates outside of the prompting of the Holy Spirit, it acts on the human, material level. It operates from the sense of duty and obligation; it is our human consience that reminds us in this way.

      The Holy Spirit in us is the 'Spirit of compassionate action'. It never prompts us to think about compassionate acts, it always engages in the act of compassion.
      This is what is so reassuring about the Holy Spirit - it is always ready, willing and able to serve.

  2. I believe that the lesson is encouraging all of us to be compassionate, to follow Jesus' example as we seek to minister to others. However, I just want to point out that we can mislead ourselves into thinking that we are saved by simply being busy. We can deceive ourselves into thinking that we are righteous by all our giving of 'alms to the poor'. I believe instead, that a life of compassion is a natural outflow of someone who has been saved and is in a saving relationship with God. Our acts of compassion are simply the evidence that we have tasted and seen that the Lord is God, and we are quick to share that good news with someone else, so they can discover the Truth for themselves. Let us ask God to help us truly experience sweet intimacy with Him, then His love would automatically flow out of our hearts to others in need.

    • Jacob, I deeply understand the importance of your sentiment and, with my comments, also point to this truth as you noted: "Let us ask God to help us truly experience sweet intimacy with Him, then His love would automativally flow out of our hearts to others in need."

  3. What matters to Jesus?
    I believe it is that we become partakers of His divine nature and enter into the kingdom of heaven now and in eternity.

  4. The 3 parables of Matthew 25 teach Christians how they should live as they are waiting for their Savior. We need to be active and sharing His love. Our lifestyles are proof that we have been changed by the Holy Spirits. Because we are SAVED, we will do good work.
    Let us conclude with John 15:5, “ yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” Amen and have a blessed day despite what the enemy might throw at us.

  5. To me what matters most to Jesus is our love for him and love for humanity. In John 17 Jesus took time to pray for this. When we love him and each other we will be sanctified in his truth.

    Your Influence Counts!,
    This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. John 15:12. FLB 235.1

    What quality is this love? ... A love for the soul that would part with selfish gratifications and practice stern self-denial in order to elevate, ennoble, and sanctify those with whom we associate. “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” John 17:19. Do you love those with whom you associate well enough to forgo your desire for amusement and self-pleasing that you will not place these souls in the path of temptation, that you will not beckon them to pursue a course of fun and frolic which leads to the extinguishment of serious thoughts in regard to the salvation of their souls? Do you cultivate personal piety, ... that your youthful friends may follow where you lead the way, upward and forward to obedience to God? ... What is the quality of your love? Is it of a character to make your associates more Christlike? Will it have a tendency to bring solid timbers into their character building? FLB 235.2
    God enjoins upon all His followers to bear a living testimony in unmistakable language by their conduct, their dress and conversation, in all the pursuits of life, that the power of true godliness is profitable to all in this life and in the life to come. FLB 235.3
    A cheap Christian character works more harm in the world than the character of a worldling, for professed Christians mislead others by professing to represent Him whose name they assume. FLB 235.4
    God is love. Whoso dwelleth in God, dwelleth in love. All who have indeed become acquainted ... with the love and tender compassion of our heavenly Father will impart light and joy wherever they may be. Their presence and influence will be to their associates as the fragrance of sweet flowers, because they are linked to God and heaven, and the purity and exalted loveliness of heaven are communicated through them to all that are brought within their influence. FLB 235.5
    You can surround your souls with an atmosphere that will be like zephyrs from the heavenly Eden. FLB 235.6

    • The page from The Faith I Live By, devotional book for August 18, 'Words of Grace' is great, but I like also August 19, 'Something Better'. What could be better than words of grace? At least equal!

      "Those who really enjoy the love of God will have joy and peace. Religion was never designed to make one pleasureless. What can be productive of greater happiness than to enjoy the peace of Christ, the bright sunshine of His presence?" Letter 10, 1890 FLB 237.7

  6. Our daily conversion and God’s promise to be with us and use us is the rightful recipe for ministry. Our fear of not knowing what to do is a self effort to meet God’s request of us. I recall when I asked God what he wished me to be, an conference president, a pastor or an evangelist? His reply to me was, “behold I would stand at the doors and knock.” But my next question to him was, “ what am I to say?” The answer was found in the last two verse of the Old Testament. I became a Literature evangelist.
    If you ask him what he wish you to do, he will show you, one day at a time.

  7. Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the father but by me. John 14:6

    What matters to Jesus.
    Is there any specific thing in the Bible that we can pin point that matters to Jesus? How do you sum up the Bible from Genesis to Revelation?

    If ye love ME keep my commandments. John 14:15
    By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one for another. John 13:35
    The total sum of the Bible is LOVE. The Ten Commandments teach us the principles of love. How do we deal with The Godhead and how do we deal with humans like ourselves. 1 Cor 13:1-3 what love isn’t. 1 Cor 13:4-13 what love is. While Jesus show and had compassion for people, encourage peoples to have faith, hope etc. What matters to him is that we love him and love each other’s.

    Some says Love begets love, but is that biblical?

  8. I would argue that it is acts of compassion and just helping those around us physically, emotionally or spiritually that are important to God. Historically as Christians, I think we have laid to great a burden on ourselves and in our message to others that we must “clean up our act”. If we do unto others as we would want them to treat us, we honor God.

    I have used this verse before and I add it here again because it is fitting and it is the simple philosophy of Christianity I have come to believe God intends for us.

    Micah 6:8

    8 He has showed you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,[a]
    and to walk humbly with your God?

  9. Referencing the lesson's question, my answer would be - our Salvation. Everything related to this desired outcome falls under 'What matters to Jesus'.
    The Gospel of the Kingdom of God provides us with the Way, the Truth and the Light; therefore, everything related to the Kingdom of God is important to our Salvation and cannot be neglected.
    We are aware that walking in this way is changing our old nature to become the new nature; the Truth and the Light are guiding us on our way of Salvation.

    By yielding to living the Way of Truth and Light in us, it become our new nature. We will become familiar with their presence as they express themselves in our daily exchanges of life. In time and with practice, this new 'awareness' will feel as natural to us as our 'old' nature felt to us before. It is essential to our Salvation that we yield to being made new. 1Cor.15:50

    As our mentally(flesh) directed will yields, it becomes the will of the Truth which will direct our walk in HIS SPIRITUAL Light. As the influence of the will of our own mind decreases, so will the influence of the Will of God increase. Our mind yields control to the Holy Spirt's way of seeing/experiencing/expressing itselfe to the world and our life in it.
    It is a miraculous transformation, creating in us the new nature and spiritually directed life lived more and more to satisfy the hunger of expressing, living the spiritual soul in this life and eternity.

    Ultimately, love of others in all its forms is the outward, observable manifestation of the new nature, created by the indwelling Holy Spirit - and this is, I believe, what matters to Jesus most. Our spiritual identity becomes as easily and naturally expressed as our old 'sin' nature before we believed.

    Once I grasped the difference between flesh and spirit, how the flesh wants to hold onto the ways of thinking using the mind's old ways, I became aware how difficult it is for the old mind to adjust, to yield and accept the spiritual way over the old, familiar, flesh-directed ways of thinking. Eph.4:22-24

    I can see clearer now as the Light illuminates the differences between the old and the new sight. Our faith will keep us in the race, it will maintain us during struggles we experience as we are being formed into the Image of Jesus toward Salvation; we wait for Christ's return to gather us home.
    Ecclesiastes 9:11 ; 2Tim.4:7 ; Matt.24:13 ; Heb.12:1 ; Heb.10:36 ; 1Cor.9:24 ; Phil.3:12-14 ; 1Cor.9:25,26 ; 1Tim.6:12 ;

    • Brigitte, you wrote:

      As our mentally(flesh) directed will yields, it becomes the will of the Truth which will direct our walk in HIS SPIRITUAL Light. As the influence of the will of our own mind decreases, so will the influence of the Will of God increase. Our mind yields control to the Holy Spirt's way of seeing/experiencing/expressing itselfe to the world and our life in it.

      Are you equating the "mind" with the "flesh"?

      I am not finding such an equation helpful. (I normally understand "the flesh" to be our selfish desires, much driven by feelings, rather than a thoughtful mind.) Paul wishes his readers "be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Rom. 12:2) That suggests that there can be an "unrenewed" mind with fleshly desires and a "renewed" mind. In another place he writes, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 2:5)

      I see some similarity to dealing with children and/or students. As parents/teachers, we want to shape the mind and will of a child to function in a positive way. We do not want to *break* the will. We want to *shape* it, with all its powers intact.

      In the same way, I believe that the Holy Spirit wants to shape our minds. He wants us to give up our focus on self and allow Him to empower us to have the mind of Jesus. As we willingly yield to His influence, He empowers us to become more and more like Jesus.

      I'm guessing that's similar to what you meant to say. ...

      I like this:

      Ultimately, love of others in all its forms is the outward, observable manifestation of the new nature, created by the indwelling Holy Spirit - and this is, I believe, what matters to Jesus most. Our spiritual identity becomes as easily and naturally expressed as our old 'sin' nature before we believed.

      • Inge -Thank you for giving me an opportunity to clarify. The two quotes you chose speak to the great need for us to reach an understanding that our minds will be part of the renewal process the faithful believer is challenged to accept.
        Yes, our transformation is changing everything about us into that creature called to be the Child of God. Happy to find that you appreciate to be loved by the Holy Spirit. 🙂

        Even now, the mind is still a very powerful influence through patterns of established behavior, most of them starting from childhood experiences and living by our own light. This old mind with its set actions and reactions is challenged by learning the new Truth, a spiritual Truth. If it is willing to be changed, if it yields, it receives the new Light WHICH IT WALKS IN BY FAITH.

        Though not familiar with the effects this new way of thinking will have, the believer trusts that it will be the better way. This is the mind's Faith: The mind walks 'blind' - it does not know or can draw its conclusions from what it has not experienced before. It gains its experience as it engages in living by Faith.
        By the believer's continuous, faithful trust in Jesus' New Light, gradually the mind changes together with the heart and the born-again soul is able to settle into the New Way as it becomes its new nature.

  10. I guess I find the lesson's desire to make the acts of the sheep and goats symbolic a little unconvincing. There's no question we are to share the gospel with others and there are many scriptures that support it, but I don't see that as the focus here. There's no way any of us would preach Jesus to Jesus, so how does sharing Jesus fit with "you have done it unto me"? I just didn't like the approach here. It seemed to be downplaying acts of service and promoting more overt witnessing as superior. The problem with that is that I've seen "successful" soul winners who don't really seem to like people. Is that what God really values, I wonder?

    • Jesus is saying that He identifies with "the least of these." As we minister to the most needy and vulnerable in this world, He sees it the same as ministering to Him.

      I saw the lesson as emphasizing selfless acts of service as a crucial element of our witnessing. And I was happy to see the emphasis on "something more." People need to see that the acts of service come from Christ working through His people.

      In my background I have seen people close to me giving sacrificially of their time, talents and money to teach people how to avoid the debilitating diseases of our culture. And the recipients were very grateful. However, they had little chance to connect this self-giving service with Christ because the "givers" were so fearful of mentioning Him and even took down all posters advertising the next evangelistic meetings! To my mind, they missed the point. What profit is there in allowing people to go to hell healthy?!

      We want them to know that God wants to enable them to lie healthy, happy and holy lives right in the here and now, as well as in eternity. This requires a mindset of being channels of His love, rather than just focusing on "acts of service" as a part of the Christian life. It is too easy to see "acts of service" as sort of an entrance requirement into the Kingdom.

      We should seek to bless those around us in all possible ways because God has blessed us so abundantly. Acts of service can be the key to sharing the gospel with others, and that is the ultimate blessing we can communicate.

    • Hi Christina - may I try to explain? Man was formed in the Image of God. We do not look at this Image to be our body; it is our spiritual form. In the beginning, God placed His Spirit into man to be able to commune with him.
      This Image, the spiritual Image, is based on, formed to express and experience love and compassion. We have lost the capacity to act 'naturally' in this spiritually based Image because of the separation of man from God at the Fall. It is being restored in the believer's mind and heart as he/she lives by faith after Jesus' teachings of the Kingdom of God.

      The believer yields to the Light of the Holy Spirit and changes his ways how he/she sees and interacts with the world. The old nature's influence is being dismantled/diminished every time we act by faith. It is the Holy Spirit that ministeres to our spirit. Rom.8:15-17
      The flesh ministers to flesh. God is Spirit, He is worshiped and related to through Spirit and the Light of Truth.

      Jesus' acts of kindness were of such spiritual nature. This is why He can say that "what you have done to the least of these, you have done unto me". The act of service, though done in the body had its true effect in the spirit of the receiver and the giver. We will be fully restored after Jesus returns.

    • The whole of Matt 24-25 is about the close of probationary time and the final judgment, "the end of the age," Matt 24:3. For "as it was in the days of Noah" a door was shut. The same analogy is in chap 25:10. Some are ready at the Day of Inspection (Matt 22), some are not. Either we are cooperating with Jesus in overcoming sin, or we cling to some secret sin (foolish virgins). The settling of accounts (talents) is also a measure of character, for we are judged by deeds done in the body, Rom 8:13. See RH June 18, 1901, par. 14

      Upon one occasion Christ thus set before His hearers the judgment work: “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. { FW 44.1}

      We find the meaning of the "end of the age" in Matt 13 re the wheat & the tares. It is the harvest, the close of probationary time, COL 72. From the parable of the fig tree (Matt 24:32), all is figurative language and must be studied in parallel with Mark and Luke as well as digging into manuscript word meanings via a lexicon. Not enough room here to get into enlightening details.

    • Christina, the actions of the sheep and the goats merely reveals if they have the love of God for others or not. We are saved by faith, but judged by works that reveal either faith or unbelief.

      We cannot give the gospel if we have not received it ourselves. Meeting the needs of others was the mission of Jesus, who saves us from sin. We cannot save others from sin, but we can demonstrate the love of God and tell them of Jesus. If we are indifferent towards their immediate needs, will they believe our gospel?

      Also, feeding, clothing, visiting, etc, all have spiritual meaning as well as practical.

  11. Christina you made a good point when you said you saw successful soul winners who don’t like people. One Pastor said to me, he saw a set of Pastors wife who went to the conference with reports of how they are being treated at home. The story about the sheep and goats was used to show the characteristics of the two sets of people. Remember, there are only two sets of people in this world although it doesn’t appears like that. Those who love Jesus and those who don’t love him. Hence the sheep and the goats. Preaching and winning souls means nothing if you don’t love Jesus. Jesus can still say depart from me ye worker of iniquity.

  12. Over the years, as the life of Jesus became more familiar through study, I came to the conclusion that one thing seems to matter the most to Him in regard to His desire for the lost(this world).

    After telling the parable of the persistent widow, Jesus asked “when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”(Luke 18:8). It seems that Jesus looks for faith, and often pointed out the faith of those few which exhibited it or the lack in those who should have exhibited faith. What Jesus points out in the parables of Matthew 25 is how faith is manifested in the lives of those who look for His soon return, and how they are to “take heed...watch”.

    The main point of Jesus teaching/preaching was "Repent and believe the gospel". There were other ways He would make this point, but the focus seems to be the vital action of faith. Why? "For without faith, it is impossible to please Him". Without faith in God's promises, we will fail to receive the intended benefits in our life. A study of the Beatitudes reveals that the first action of faith is confession and repentance, followed by humility and a hunger/thirst for righteousness, which will lead to the fruit of the Spirit in the believer's life. The exercising of faith makes this all possible, while unbelief prevents it.

    It would appear that faith matters to Jesus, which He will be looking for when He comes again.

    • Hi Robert - happy to read your conclusion regarding Faith being at the heart of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. I, too, had to study about Jesus to become more familiar with His teachings and understand the Truth more fully.

      I thought another way to understand 'repent' is - 'change your ways'! Since Faith is experienced by doing (acting according to what we believe(Salvation)), then 'changing our ways' shows that we 'repent'.
      What do you think?

      • Yes Brigitte, change is repentance, while acknowledgment is confession. If we don't first acknowledge our sin, how can we change from it? Both confession and repentance exhibit faith in the Truth/law and its conviction upon our heart.

        The greek metanoeo(repent) means "to change one's mind/purpose".

        • Thanks for the reply, Robert - We find ourselves quite often doing the things we do not want to do, and the things we should or want to do, we don’t do. Paul spoke about this dilemma in Romans.
          Even when we acknowledge our sin, knowing all about ourselves, this in itself does not cause a change in our behavior; changing one’s mind does not do anything by itself, either.
          So, ‘confession and repentance exhibit faith in the truth and is convicting our hearts to act according to our conviction; though only the actual, physical act engaged in by faith will bear the spiritual fruit’.

          • Actually Brigitte, as I read scripture, change of mind is the only thing that works. Romans 7 describes the futility of MY ability to change. Because WE cannot change our minds, but we may allow GOD to do what He promises to do for those who submit fully to HIS will. This is why it is called "good news". It is "not by might, nor by power, but by MY Spirit, saith the LORD". However, nothing happens until we surrender our will to the will of God. Notice WHO is doing WHAT in Psalm 40:1-3.

  13. It is interesting to me how in the parable of the sheep and goats Jesus starts off with His Father and His Father's throne and all the nations being before that throne and His Father separating all the nations like a shepherd separates the sheeps from the goats and in the parable Jesus never indicates that His Father separates individuals but rather "nations." Also, the author mentions the parable of the 10 talents but actually there is no parable of 10 talents but just simply the parable of "The Talents" and there are two versions of that parable: the one in Matthew one servant gets 5 talents, another gets 2, and another gets 1. The version in Luke is about 10 pounds and 10 servants each get one pound etc.


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