Hi, welcome back to Beyond the Pew. My name is Taylor Schroll and today we’re continuing our series that we began last week on misconceptions about Jesus. Last week Jennifer talked to us about the misconception that Jesus was nice to everyone and was all about peace. Kind of the 1970’s Jesus, if you will.
Today we’re continuing with this series and I’ll be talking about the misconception that Jesus is weak. When you think of a strong person, what do you think of? I know that the first thing you might think might be the physically strong, what if we went past that? What about the strong willed person, someone who is a strong leader, someone with a strong character. I want to kind of walk through these things that kind of define what strength really is and walk through that in the life of Jesus.
Let’s talk about that first one, physically strong. We don’t often think of Jesus being this big, strong guy. A lot of these painting and things that we see make Jesus look fairly girly. I saw one that almost makes Jesus look exactly like Tom Brady. We just don’t really view him as a strong man. But, if you think about it, Jesus didn’t have fast food, He wasn’t eating as poorly as we do, and He also walked everywhere. I wear this little FitBit to show how much I have walked, or most days how much I haven’t walked in that day. But Jesus didn’t walk just down the road when He wanted to go to the gas station, He didn’t just walk down the road when He wanted to get some food like we get in our car to do. Jesus walked an entire country to go share His message and His mission. So, He had to be a guy who was in shape.
Okay, so that doesn’t matter all too much about what we’re talking about today. I want to focus in on His character, His strength of will, and also the strength of His leadership.
So first, in His leadership, Jesus was a man who commanded respect and that got people to follow Him. If I told you there was somebody today that could just walk up to you at your job, and say, “Hey, this is who I am, this is my mission and I want you to join.” How many of us would just get up and follow that person? Um, not many. This is what Jesus did over and over. He walked up to fishermen, He walked up to tax collectors, He walked up to lawyers, while they were at work and said, “Hey, I’m Jesus. This is what I’m about, come follow me.” They were like, Okay! That was a strong leader.
Jesus didn’t allow opposition to deter Him from leading Himself and others to the mission He was trying to accomplish
Jesus was also strong in His leadership when he had opposition. When the Pharisees and the Saducees tried to trip Him up with questions, He would either rebuke them and call them a brood of vipers, or in other times He would turn the question back to them or He would write in the sand as they walked away. He didn’t allow other people and their opposition to deter Him from His leadership, from leading Himself and others to the mission He was trying to accomplish.
Finally, in His character and His will. When you think about somebody who has a strong character and a strong will you think about somebody that you want to be around. It’s someone who is strong no matter the circumstances. The first story that I think about when I hear this is Jesus being tempted when He is fasting. So He’s been out in the desert for forty days and for forty nights, He’s physically weak at this point, you know, I go a few hours without food and I’m like, oh woe is me! This has been forty days and He is weakest physically and this is when Satan comes to tempt Him. He says “bow down to me and I’ll give you this” and it’s at that moment Jesus shows His real strength and His character and His will to say no and rebuke Satan with the word of God from the Scriptures and to be able to say, “No, I know who I am and whose I am and what it is that I’m about. You’re not going to be able to tempt me away from that.” I think a lot of times you and I know that we are weak at times, whether it’s spiritually or emotionally or physically, we know that whenever we’re tempted, sometimes it’s hard to not fall into those temptations.
So what does this mean for us and how do we continue to grow in our strength? I think it’s not only relying on the strength that Christ not only shows us but He provides for us. So whenever we’re struggling with temptation and weakness, we need to bring that weakness to Him and He can give us His strength so that we can accomplish everything that He would like us to.
This is the true side of strength to be able to lay down your life for your friends,
but also for your enemies
And the last story from Jesus’ life that I would like to talk about it, I think it’s where He showed the most strength, is actually where He dies on the cross. I think about those from our country who are in the military, they risk their lives to protect their loved ones and protect their country. They know they are are protecting people who they know they may not agree with, they may not be friends with, or who they may even be enemies with. They still go and they risk their lives for our country’s freedom. Jesus did something very similar. He died not just for His mom, and His brothers and His friends, and those who would walk around with Him, but He died for His enemies. He died literally for the people who were murdering Him. This is the true side of strength to be able to lay down your life for your friends but also for your enemies.
I think that we can all agree that this Jesus is weak stuff doesn’t work. Jesus was a strong man. So, how do we in our lives work with this information? You and I both know we are created with weakness. Jesus was perfectly human and perfectly God, but we are created with weakness. I come back to this picture that I saw and I just want to read it to you. It goes through all these Old Testament and New Testament figures and shows how they were weak and how God used them in that way. It says:
Jacob was a cheater
Peter had a temper
David had an affair
Noah got drunk
Jonah ran from God
Paul was a murderer
Gideon was insecure
Miriam was a gossiper
Martha was a worrier
Thomas was a doubter
Sara was impatient
Elijah was moody
Zaccheus was short
Abraham was old
Lazarus was dead
These are all people who had very real weaknesses, but it’s in those weaknesses that God shows His power to the world.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, it says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” It’s in our weakness where we have to cry out to God and say, “God, I can’t do this alone. I need your help.” It’s in those moments where He shows us His strength, by meeting us where we are and helping us along in those situations.
As we go through this week, I want to ask you: where do you get your strength from? Where are the places you are weak and need help? I encourage you to bring those things in prayer to God this week and know that He is with you and know that He wants to give you His strength so that you can follow Him and the great mission that He has called you to.