Preface: My simple goal here is our greater joy in Jesus, even in our complex struggles intellectually, emotionally, relationally, physically, etc. So, I will be bringing you specific details of the Gospel (good news) in 8 “P”s via these articles and a buffet of videos each week. Chew and savor whatever most helps your joy in Jesus. “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” (Isaiah 55:1)
Two of my objectives in this series is to help us 1) joyfully receive God’s counsel for Life so we may 2) lead others toward that greater joy. For the second greatest command flows from the first (Matthew 22:36-40), so we can’t lead others if we won’t receive His counsel. This part of the intro focuses on receiving His revelation of the 8 “P”s, and next time we’ll focus on leading others for joy in the same.
You may still rightly wonder if what I’m proposing is truly a picture of the Gospel’s basics. If so, you’re wise to be cautious. The Bible repeatedly presents itself as God’s Word. (Exodus 34:27ff, Psalm 119, Proverbs 30:5-6, John 17:17, Ephesians 4:11-16, 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Revelation 22:18, etc.) Thus, any suggested lens should never be received without careful study. (Acts 17:11) With that in mind, you might find it helpful to view any or all of these videos that reveal each of the 8 “P”s in Jesus’ life, His teaching, in Acts, and the Epistles. But don’t take my word for it. Take a look.
I know. I’ve already inundated you with six videos (there are four on Acts and the Epistles). So, if you had to pick just one, I recommend watching the video below on Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 10. There we see His “counsel” to His core group of twelve (later known as the Apostles [ἀπόστολος or “ones sent” by Jesus), and you’ll see each of the 8 “P”s of the good news. In fact, it’s such a powerful passage that we’ll break with the traditional format of these series and place it as the featured video here. As you view it, consider the following reasons for the Apostles’ faith in Him.
- They received His “counsel” because it was based in His consistent character.
- They received His counsel because they knew Jesus’ power to change people.
- They received His counsel because it defined the key elements of God’s love.
It’s cliché but true that no one cares what you know until they know you care. And through Jesus the twelve had firsthand knowledge of God’s gracious presence, necessary candor, strong protection and provision, loving purpose to bring undeserving people into joyful relationship with God, and the supernatural results in this life. They had spent regular time experiencing Him and listening to Him.
Yes, only first century people had those opportunities, but that’s not such a bad thing. One reason we have confidence in the Scriptures’ reliability is the documents’ early witness. Jesus’ opponents couldn’t refute His message, life, death, or resurrection because they knew it to be true. Many were even tortured and killed for their loyalty to Him over all other leaders. They had known the joy of Life.
We, too, can still see Him in action and hear His counsel. For the Bible refers to all who follow Him by the indwelling work of His Spirit as the Body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 4:12, etc.) No follower of Christ is perfect, but they can point us to the God who is and is truly transforming them.