The Life of Young Jesus


I recently spent two weeks in the heart of Los Angeles. As I walked the neighborhoods, the smell of marijuana and tobacco danced from the streets and into my nostrils. Girls in mini- skirts and fishnet stockings winked and waved at men in their cars. I watched homeless men carry “help me” signs, and every so often they scratched at their soiled beards. Over a loud- speaker I could hear a voice screaming Bible verses and calling down fire upon sinners.

I recently spent two weeks in the heart of Los Angeles. As I walked the neighborhoods, the smell of marijuana and tobacco danced from the streets and into my nostrils. Girls in mini- skirts and fishnet stockings winked and waved at men in their cars. I watched homeless men carry “help me” signs, and every so often they scratched at their soiled beards. Over a loud- speaker I could hear a voice screaming Bible verses and calling down fire upon sinners.

Farther down the road the scenery changed some. Celebrities in sunglasses, carrying small dogs in their purses, roamed in and out of stores. Wealthy businessmen and aspiring actresses whisked by. What caught my eye, though, was a group of church folk passing out tracts. A peculiar sight indeed.

In the work of redemption Jesus laid a bold and profound foundation for His ministry, even after He attained near-celebrity status. Jesus didn’t wait for the lost to come to Him; had He done so, He probably would never have reached them. No, He came to the lost. It was Jesus’ model to go after them. He was less concerned about His image and His reputation, and He was more concerned with reaching sinners. Are you willing to go boldly where no one wanted to go before?

In the midst of the lights and the grittiness, among the graffiti and the botox injections, I wondered if this was right where Jesus would have been? I wondered if He would have walked the streets as I did?

With Scripture as guide, my answer to those questions has to be a resounding yes! The difference, however, is that Jesus would not have been like me, or that voice over the loudspeaker. He would not have been a passive observer. Jesus clothed Himself in the darkness and muddiness, the smells and tastes, of the city—just so He could be with us where we are.

DAY 1:
READ MARK 2:15.
kids. The key for sharing the good news of salvation is having a good balance between the message and tangible love. Some of the things I stated may not be possible where you are, but tweet something that you can do to exhibit tangible love with #theexperience #tangiblelove. It wouldn’t be fair, though, to suggest that Jesus ministered only to “sin- ners and tax collectors.” Jesus didn’t focus His ministry just on the slums or those who were poor. He mingled with rich and poor alike. Please read John 19:38-42.

DAY 2
READ John 1:45, 46.
Jesus grew up in a small town called Nazareth. Nazareth was a small town that held little to no significance in the eyes of many people. He came from nothing, and He grew up in the eyes of the great men as nobody. In the words of one that was soon to follow Jesus: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” We must come to the realization that nothing God does is insig- nificant: not the city in which He was reared, not the parents He chose, nor the womb that He was to inhabit. It all had deep significance. Jesus ministered to everyone, but it seemed as though His ministry connected most with those who were considered insignificant.

DAY 3
READ JOHN 1:43.
Rabbis did not just come up to prospective disciples and ask them to fol- low them. More likely the disciple had to prove his worth for the rabbi by exhibiting his abilities to read and quote Scripture. Jesus picked people who were rejected, never deemed capable of having a rabbi to teach them. Survey your culture. What people group is being passed over? What can you do to stop the negligence?

DAY 4
READ MATTHEW 9;10-13
In the work of redemption Jesus laid a bold and profound foundation for His ministry, even after He attained near-celebrity status. Jesus didn’t wait for the lost to come to Him; had He done so, He probably would never have reached them. No, He came to the lost. It was Jesus’ model to go after them. He was less concerned about His image and His reputation, and He was more concerned with reaching sinners. Are you willing to go boldly where no one wanted to go before?

DAY 5
READ MARK 1:21-33

Jesus had two powerful qualities that drew people to Him: His tangible love and His message. He did not try to stir argument, nor beat the Pharisees over the head with it. Truth is, the ones who stirred controversy and beat people down with what they believed were the Pharisees. Truth alone creates controversy. Love your family members and friends who do not have the truth that God has given you. Do not be offensive to them, but if you have offended them in the past, message them and apologize.

DAY 6
READ MARK 1:21-33

Tangible love is more than handing out food, paying light bills, or going on prayer walks. It is helping struggling parents with their kids, sponsoring drug addicts through rehab, starting scholarship funds for community kids. The key for sharing the good news of salvation is having a good balance between the message and tangible love. Some of the things I stated may not be possible where you are, but tweet something that you can do to exhibit tangible love with #theexperience #tangiblelove.

DAY 7
READ MARK 6:3 and MATTHEW 13:55. THE WAY JESUS WORKED

Read the following Bible verses. When you’re finished, ask yourself these questions: In what way were the people He ministered to different? What did His ministry show us about the way we should minister? You can post your answers on Facebook, Messagemagazine, or in a journal for your own reflection. Jesus is traditionally accepted to have been a carpenter. Though it is never really specified, we can be sure that He did not have a prestigious occupation and that He did strenuous work with His hands. Sometimes we can think our jobs have nothing to do with our relationship with God or our spiritual growth. But it is no coincidence that Jesus’ occupation was both strenuous and devoid of honor. He would in His life and ministry have a strenuous task that would yield Him very little honor. Can you see the purpose in your posi- tion? Can you see the worth in your work? Share it with us here at Message via Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and tag it #messagemag.

DAY 8
READ JOHN 15:15. FRIENDS

We see in the life of Jesus that there were those who were “closer” to Him than others. We see instances in which He singled out Peter, James, and John. There was obviously a deeper relationship between Him, Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Is the common thread the fact that He remembers who He is and that His purpose is to save? Do you prioritize the salvation of those who are closest to you? Is it easy or difficult? Share it with us here at Message via Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and tag it #messagemag.

DAY 9
READ MARK 3:35 FAMILY

Jesus makes a radical decree. The implication is that anyone who does the will of God should receive the same favor and treatment of blood family. A stranger who does the will of God should have the same status as a brother or sister. What does this mean about the way we should treat other believers? How does that affect the way our homes operate?

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I recently spent two weeks in the heart of Los Angeles. As I walked the neighborhoods, the smell of marijuana and tobacco danced from the streets and into my nostrils. Girls in mini- skirts and fishnet stockings winked and waved at men in their cars. I watched homeless men carry “help me” signs, and every so often they scratched at their soiled beards. Over a loud- speaker I could hear a voice screaming Bible verses and calling down fire upon sinners.

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