A Jesus Worth Celebrating

Who is Jesus?

The answer to that question has been batted around for centuries…

Religious leader.

Reincarnated prophet.

Controversial teacher.

Carpenter with magical powers.

King of the Jews.

Messiah.

Son of God.

The ultimate gift.

(You could easily turn this into a multiple choice question, and pick one…or two or three).

Christmas time is a great time to think about this question.

It’s the time that Christians have traditionally celebrated Jesus’ birth.  And, it’s what makes Christmas worth celebrating.

It’s worth celebrating, because Jesus was the ultimate gift before Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday deals.

Are you celebrating Him this Christmas?

I guess it depends on how you answer the question, and on who you say He is…

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

14 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”

15 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:13-16

 

 

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What are you known for?

 

 

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What are you known for?

If I walked into your house or your workplace or your school or anywhere else that people see you and know you, what would they say about you?

Truth is, we can be known for a lot of things.

Maybe it’s our personality.

Maybe it’s our accomplishments.

Maybe it’s our hobbies.

Maybe it’s our appearance.

We might be known for lots of different things, because we’re all a little different.  But, there’s one big thing we should all be known for.

Our love.

Apparently, love is a big deal if you’re a Jesus follower.

It’s such a big deal that Jesus said that loving others is second only to loving God.  (Matthew 22:36-40)

Ever wonder why loving others is such a big deal to God?

Why would Jesus tack on loving others to loving God as the two most important things that we should be known for as Christians?

Because it’s proof.

Proof that God is real, and proof that you’re for real. 

In one of His last conversations with His disciples, Jesus said it this way…

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Notice what Jesus didn’t say…

He didn’t say people will know that you are my disciples if you go to church or if you are religious.

We can go through the motions with church, and we can fake religion.

But, we can’t do that with love.

Loving others comes from the deepest part of who we are…the dead part of us that God gives life to when He takes up residence in us through the Holy Spirit.

We love because God loved us first.

We love because God gave us life.

We love because God is love…and He lives in us.

So, what are you known for?

If you want to know more about what this kind of love looks like, check out what the great missionary and apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13.

 

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.

(I John 4:7-13) (NLT)