“How do you follow Jesus?”
CONTEXT: Feast of Tabernacles (Living in tents/booths. Occurred 5 days after the Day of Atonement and lasted one week and one day. It was a time of rejoicing.) [7:2]
1. Jesus decided to go privately because they were hunting him. [7:10 – 11]
2. Jesus decided to start teaching half way through the feast. [7:14]
3. The events probably happened on the “the last and greatest day of the Feast” [7:35] or the next morning at dawn (Sunday) [8:1]
4. Jesus was “near the place where offerings were put.” [8:20].
5. During the Feast, the temple was lit by a large golden candelabrum and LOTS of candles.
a. The light symbolized the pillar that God used to lead the people in the wilderness.
b. The pillar of smoke (by day) and pillar of fire (by night) symbolized God’s presence and gave guidance to the people.
6. Jesus claimed:
a. To be the literal and physical representation of God.
b. To be the source of life and God’s guidance.
I. Jesus’ teachings (theology/dogma) had a moral and practical component (“follows” and “walks”).
*****How to follow Jesus...*****
A. 2 Timothy 2:1 – 6
1. [v 1] As a son
a. A son has special privileges because of relationship.
b. A son understands the distinction of place.
2. [v 3] As a soldier
a. A soldier can “endure hardship” because of training and determination.
b. A soldier aims to “please” the commanding officer [v4].
3. [v 5] As an athlete
a. To be competitive, an athlete must be in constant training and be disciplined.
b. To win, an athlete must compete, “according to the rules.”
4. [v 6] As a farmer
a. A farmer is “hard working.”
b. To be a successful farmer, patience and persistence is required before there is fruit.
B. Paul, James, Peter, Jude, and John all use the image of servant/slave.
1. A servant of Jesus has surrendered the will in the service of Jesus.
2. A servant of Jesus acts on Jesus’ behalf.
II. Jesus uses a powerful picture = “light.”
Augustine: “Light reveals other things and its own very self, opens healthy eyes, and is its own witness.”
A. The problem with darkness:
1. Darkness puts us in danger due to ignorance.
a. Darkness hides our ugly side (like turning over a rock and watching all the critters scatter).
b. Darkness is both natural and imposed.
1.) It is a natural picture of the sin nature.
2.) It is imposed: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” [2 Corinthians 4:4]
2. Darkness encourages error through uncertainty.
a. In darkness, we cannot see well enough to be certain.
b. In spiritual darkness we become dependent on walking by “sight” and miss the spiritual.
3. Darkness develops unbelief through fear.
a. Fear keeps us from trying to understand.
b. Fear keeps us from hoping for an answer.
B. Light gives life. Jesus is the source of both.
1. Light frees us through forgiveness.
a. We are free to follow Jesus’ example.
b. We are free to be holy.
2. Light reveals the truth. [John 3:19 – 20]
a. We discover a health life, free from the follow the crowd mentality.
b. We discover a vitality that only truth gives.
3. Light creates understanding.
a. We are instructed in the path of life.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” [Psalm 119:105]
b. Because we are correctly instructed, we enjoy a certain measure of certainty and safety.
(Ill. For young people to get a drivers license in MI, they must go through drivers training and a required number of hours of driving with a parent in the car.)
III. As the light of Jesus “dawns” or burst through our darkness, healing happens.
A. The darkness hides the true damage of sin.
1. Some of us do not know the extent of the damage of sin.
a. It is subtle and sneaky.
b. Our heart lies because it is “desperately wicked.”
2. Some of us have been the victims of unspeakable horrors.
a. A “Profiler” works based on common and predictable characteristics.
b. A bad father/son relationship creates an angry, judgmental person who is unable to submit to authority.
c. A bad (abusive) father/daughter relationship creates a woman who has difficulty relating to men in healthy ways and is unable to trust.
d. (others) Pedophiles were probably victims as children, alcoholics tend to come from families of alcoholics, alcoholism is often correlated with depression, etc... (not all victims become pedophiles and not all children of alcoholic families develop unhealthy behavior patterns.)
B. Light reveals the true offer of forgiveness.
1. When Jesus was on the cross:
a. He prayed (for forgiveness) for those who put Him there.
b. He offered forgiveness and salvation... The thief responded, so did the Roman soldier.
2. NOTHING is to dark and ugly to be forgiven.
a. The story of Jeffery Dahlmer: “cannibal serial killer”
b. The story of General Manuel Noriega = “the Panamanian drug lord.”
c. What’s your story? What is your need?