Jesus spoke out of his experience. His words were not theoretical; they carried the conviction of one who had shared the life of ordinary people. He was human, he knew temptation, he had lived without power or influence among those who were disempowered and poor. The beatitudes were born of his convictions and his parables were based in his everyday experiences. Because of that, his words were not stale but alive. He had an authority that was different from that of other religious leaders of his time. The hearts of people were touched because he was real. He had been where they were and his relationship with his God had sustained him. His words rang of truth.
Teach me, O Lord, to live as you lived and speak as you spoke.
Do not live with a religion of empty piety. When do you speak or act out of pious habit? How can you be more aware of the shallowness of such religious behavior?
I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me.
Too many leaders act as if the sheep… their people… are there for the benefit of the shepherd, not that the shepherd has responsibility for the sheep.
Following Jesus isn’t something you can do at night where no one notices. It’s a twenty-four-hour-a-day commitment that will interfere with your life. That’s not the small print—that’s a guarantee.
Nothing is more important for mature Christian discipleship than a fresh, clear, true vision of the authentic Jesus.
For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course, that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.
“Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon?” Give me a break!
We must assess our thoughts and beliefs and reckon whether they are moving us closer to conformity to Christ or farther away from it.
Christ did not appoint professors, but followers. If Christianity … is not reduplicated in the life of the person expounding it, then he does not expound Christianity, for Christianity is a message about living and can only be expounded by being realized in our lives.