1 Peter 2:21-22 - Priorities

For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example, that you should follow his steps, who didn’t sin, “neither was deceit found in his mouth.”
— 1 Peter 2:21-22

The hurricanes of 2017 in my home state of Florida caused me to think about priorities. Many of the things we have and do seem to fade away when placed in the proper perspective, and rightly so. As German writer and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

But what are the priorities for the Christians? The answer might be found in the example left for us by Jesus Christ.

Jesus sought the Father

Jesus demonstrated intimacy with God by seeking him continually in prayer. Forty-five times the gospels tell us that Jesus went alone to pray. Every aspect of his life and ministry was saturated with prayer.

Jesus embraced the outcasts

Jesus demonstrated the love of God by accepting the castaways of society. This provoked great disdain from the religious establishment. But Jesus was much less squeamish than most about embracing the sinful and sickly, the unseemly and unimportant.

Jesus restored broken lives

By the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus provided for people's physical and financial needs (Matthew 14:14-21-21, 17:27). He cast out demons (Luke 4:36), healed broken bodies (Luke 5:17), raised the dead (John :1-44), and forgave the sins of the guilty (Matthew 9:6). Jesus proved that God's power is sufficient to meet every need. And the Scriptures promise us that the same power works in and through our lives today (Philippians 2:13).

Jesus confronted hypocrisy

Jesus demonstrated the heart of God by standing against lifeless religion. He openly confronted religious hypocrisy (Matthew 23:13-39), inciting great opposition that ultimately led to his execution. Jesus repeatedly rebuked religious people who buried the true heart of God in their manmade traditions (Matthew 19:3-8, Luke 13:10-17). He cleansed the temple because people were using God's house for their own gain (Luke 19:45-46).

Jesus taught God's Word

Whether addressing curious crowds or the committed core, Jesus took advantage of every teachable moment. He was always helping people discover his Father. He lived and spoke the truth, a perfect expression of God's character (John 1:14).

But even though he was the incarnate Word, Jesus often directed people back to the written Word. When a religious expert asked Jesus, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus replied, "What is written in the Law?" (Luke 10:25-26). The rich young ruler asked the same question, and Jesus answered him from the Scriptures as well (Matthew 19:16-21).

Jesus served

Service marked Jesus' life from start to finish. He served through sacrifice, putting the needs of others above his own. At the last supper, he put on a towel and washed his disciples' feet (John 13:2-17). His life of service culminated at the cross, where the Son of Man died to pay our spiritual debt.

Jesus equipped leaders

Finally, Jesus demonstrated God's character by equipping leaders who continued his mission and changed the world after his departure. He refused to let the ministry pressures of today stop him from identifying and investing in the leaders of tomorrow (Matthew 10:1-4).

The priorities that Jesus demonstrated should drive us back to the gospels to take a fresh look at how Jesus lived. If you are not sure what Jesus did in His earthly life, then you have no inkling of what He might do in yours.



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