God Running is a place for anyone who wants to (or even anyone who wants to want to) love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.
Last post from the book of Acts we looked at the passage from Joel that Peter quoted when he addressed the crowd on the day of Pentecost. (see previous post The COVID Crazies (and from where will our salvation come?)) Today we’ll look at what Peter shared with the crowd next.
3 Things Peter Shared
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”Acts 2:22-23
In this short passage we see Peter share three things with the crowd.
- Peter reminds the crowd how they knew about the mighty works and wonders and signs God did through Jesus. Openly, publicly, in the midst of many of the same people who were in the crowd there that day, Jesus did those mighty works.
- Then he tells them that Jesus was delivered up according to God’s plan. Jesus shared God’s plan ahead of time, with his disciples. He said, “. . . the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly.” Peter points out God’s hand was in all that happened to Jesus. (Mark 8:31-32, see also Luke 9:22, Luke 24:7)
- But Peter also reminds the crowd they were complicit in the crucifixion of Jesus. Apparently there were those in the crowd who, if not directly involved, were among those who shouted to Pontius Pilate, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” (Matthew 27:16-26,Mark 15:7-15,Luke 23:18-25,John 18:40)
I’m Complicit Too (and so are you)
As I write this blog post it’s the first Friday of Lent. And because of what Peter said in today’s passage, I’m reminded of Good Friday, the Friday Jesus was crucified on our behalf. Part of the reason I’m reminded of this is because Kathy and I had an argument last night. It had to do with something I can be very enthusiastic about, and Kathy less so. Before things became too heated I went for a walk and brought the matter before God. He showed me that I was in the wrong and had erred in the situation, for several reasons. He showed me there are 1,000 things Kathy is enthusiastic about that I am not. And it would be unbearable for me if Kathy maintained the expectation that I should match, or even approximate, her level of enthusiasm with my own. So it’s wrong, even a sin, for me to impose such an expectation on Kathy.
And not only that, but He showed me how if I want to lead the people around me in the way of Jesus, I need to show way more grace to everyone around me. When I think about the people I know who are the best influencers for Christ, they’re also the people who offer the most grace to me and all those around them.
Which brings me to the issue of complicity. Many of the Jews in the crowd there with the disciples on the day of Pentecost were complicit in Jesus’ death. The thing is, I’m a member of that crowd. Every time I sin I’m one of those involved in sending Jesus to the cross. Every time I misrepresent Jesus to my wife or my son or my daughter or my grandson or my nephew or my friend, or even a stranger, I’m complicit in Jesus’ crucifixion.
I’m struck by this today, on this first Friday of Lent.
And if you’re a sinner like me, so are you.
God have mercy on me and on you. And God fill me with the grace of Jesus toward all those close to me and around me.
In Jesus name.
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Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)
Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.
Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:
- Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
- How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
- The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
- How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
- How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
- How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
- How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
- How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
- How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.
With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.
A life of loving like Jesus.