Falling in Love with Jesus

 

To fall in love with Jesus is the greatest romance, to seek HIM the greatest adventure, to find HIM the greatest blessing we can have.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;” [John 10:27 NASB]
“When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.  He opened His mouth and [began] to teach them, saying,” [Mat 5:1-2 NASB]
One of the reasons I follow Messiah Jesus is that HIS teaching won my heart when I was a very small child. I am sure that our house had bibles, but none of them felt like mine. One day the Gideons a group that gave New Testaments away to students in public schools in those days gave me a red New Testament (For more information on the Gideons see: https://www2.gideons.org/). This little pocket bible became the first one that I really read. I found there the “Sermon on the Mount” which is recorded in Matthew 5-7.
I found myself captured by Messiah Jesus’ words and ideas. I read them over and over again. Much of the Bible I could not understand, but this spoke to me, so I focused on it and adopted the sermon as my philosophy of life. The best known part of that sermon are the blessings of Jesus.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when [people] insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
[Mat 5:3-12 NASB]
The Messiah Jesus outlined the attitudes, words, practices, and attitudes that would be the path that would lead to life and warned with passion against the broad easy road that only led to destruction. HE presented HIMSELF as the ultimate teacher with authority. He would challenge me to be different, part of the answer to the corruption of the culture by following HIM as my KING in all I did and said. HE would live a life of love and ultimate sacrifice on the cross, and then call me to imitate HIM, follow HIM, and become like HIM.
As I failed at this life of love, which I would, it also attacked my self righteousness. HIS teachings are so pure that “none could be declared righteous by them” attacked my pride. How could we love our enemies? Really love them, really do good to them, and really pray for them? If this was what it meant to be righteous, I could pursue it, but would need a SAVIOR, one who gives to me forgiveness of sin. Messiah Jesus, as my high priest also offered me that.
Later, I learned that Matthew and the five sermons found in that gospel most likely was used as an early curriculum by the first church; a type of Christianity 101. It was a “discipleship manual” which would end with the Messiah Jesus call to go and “make disciples.”
At a later time in my life during a time of crisis after my mother’s death and beginning at a new college after getting thrown out of bible college in my senior year, the sermon became an anchor to my soul again through the book, “Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I was in a little Christian bookstore and came across this writing by Pastor Bonhoeffer and it felt like the LORD was leading me to get this book. This was one of the “Living Christ Encounters” in my life.
Over the next year I read the book over and over — it expounds upon the teachings of Messiah Jesus and Pastor Bonhoeffer raised questions that deepened my faith and challenged my perspective. Much of the book is a meditation on the Sermon on the Mount and so this teaching of the Lord Jesus expanded by a Lutheran Pastor who was martyred for his faith by the Nazis grounded me emotionally and mentally during an especially hard time in my life.
So I follow the Messiah Jesus because he is my Rabbi, Teacher, Source of my philosophy of life, and the TRUTH.
For those interested,
Quotes from the Cost of Discipleship:
A video summary of the gospel of Matthew
A book that summarizes The Philosophy of Jesus by Dr. Peter Kreef