Do You Have a Personal Relationship with Jesus?
The most important question you will ever be asked to answer is the question -
"Do You Have a Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ?"
This week as I stood in line buying food to feed 60 hungry servants working at the church, the man behind the counter looked at the tax-exempt paper and said, "What do you think of that movie [The Passion]?" I answered (as I am learning to since the awareness of the Name of Jesus, and His death is all around us, more than ever in my lifetime) - "it makes me want to be sure that I have a personal relationship with Him."
(By the way - in my lifetime the name of Jesus has never been so prominent in the news, the media, in print and on the lips of so many people. Historians say that the last time this happened was at the start of Billy Graham's ministry sweeping the country in the late 1940's. So we need to go in with the Gospel while people are open.)
I told him that the movie starts with a verse declaring that Christ was dying for sins. That theme is repeated several times throughout the movie. And so I said, that movie made me examine whether I had a personal relationship with Jesus the One who died for my sins.
Then he said something that I had hoped for, "Am I supposed to have a relationship with Jesus? I am a Catholic, do we do that?" And of course that led to a perfect opportunity to express to him a verbal witness of Christ's death for sin (as the movie starts with and sticks with by the way) and an explanation of how to get that relationship started. Simply stated I shared my testimony that I have a relationship with Jesus Christ by believing that Jesus absorbed God's wrath for my sin on the Cross, and repenting of my sin.
I left him (he was the area manager for a group of stores who just happened to be at the counter that moment) reading intently a Gospel tract. So as I asked him, how is YOUR relationship with Jesus? Do you have one? Are you sure of that relationship? Do you understand what that relationship really means to God and to you?
That is what we have come to as we continue in the Gospel by Mark today.
Mark 3.31-35 "Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You. But He answered them, saying, Who is My mother, or My brothers ?And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother."
First our text reminds us that as believers we sometimes are "STANDING OUTSIDE" of what Jesus is trying to do - aren't we? For just a moment think of what a graphic picture this is.
Jesus' family was standing outside calling Jesus away from his work. They believed they were helping, not hindering. They did not realize how they were blocking Jesus' mission. None of us would consciously block Jesus' efforts, yet we become thoughtless of him when we pursue only our own interests and needs:
- We desire interesting and uplifting companions. He wants to include the unfortunate, disabled, and sick.
- We desire to get to know those who will help us get ahead. He loves the poor, the disenfranchised, the foreigner.
- We desire to get to know those we enjoy on a more intimate basis. He intends to reach all the people of the world, the millions who as yet still have not heard.
- We desire the comfort of family and selected friends. He desires everyone to be in his family .
Next, our text shows the wonders and the dangers of a relationship with Jesus. The wonders are immense, briefly God offers to each of us and to the entire world the incredible closeness of relationship that would be like growing up in Christ's family as children in a home in Nazareth. We can have the same closeness that James and Jude had, that the disciples had, that Paul, Peter, Daniel, Moses and David had. All simply by faith in HIM.
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