Long ago God’s prophet Amos warned his listeners, “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the Lord.” (Amos 8:11).
God kept His word. In an age that saw about 450 years of silence from the prophets of God before John came out of the wilderness preaching repentance and the kingdom of God, Israel managed to get their spiritual appetite back (Matthew 3:1-6). They were lacking true spiritual leadership. The religious sects of the day had abused the people with a fake outward show of righteousness and an inward moral decay (Matthew 23 & Mark 12:18, 38-40). The people were looking for someone who was truthful, understanding and passionate. They were looking for someone who was real. The prophet who broke Israel’s “spiritual fast” with his words from God declared Jesus to be “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29-35). The real deal had come.
Jesus was the real Man. He taught the people of Israel how to truly show their love for God and their neighbor (Luke 10:27, Matthew 6:33 & Philippians 2:5-8). It’s easy to be a “man” when you have a crowd behind you, but Jesus stood up against wrong even when the crowd and public opinion was against Him (Matthew 21:12,13 & John 8). He showed what a real man was by treating women with respect, love and mercy (John 4:6-15; 8:3-11); and without a doubt, this man loved His mother (John 19:25-27). He showed the world what the definition of a man was.
Jesus was the real Friend. Jesus made friends before His public ministry began (Mark 3:21). He had a bad reputation with the religious leadership of the day for being a friend to “tax collectors and sinners” but He had a good reputation with the common people (Luke 7:34 & Mark 12:37). He was the truest sense of “spiritual salt” (Mark 9:50). Most people think that a real friend never says anything about our flaws. It is true that friends can look over things with patience even when family doesn’t (Proverbs 18:24), but Jesus was a real friend. He was a friend that was willing to tell others when they were wrong (Mark 8:33; Proverbs 27:5-6). Yet, He was a friend despite the flaws. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:13,14)
Jesus was the real Savior. He was born to be, He lived to be and He died to be the Savior of mankind (Matthew 1:21; 9:6; 26:28). He was the Shepherd willing to give His life for the sheep (John 10:11). He understood and paid the price of sin in more ways than one (Matthew 20:22; Mark 15:34; Luke 24:47 & John 8:24, 11:35). Jesus succeeded in His mission (Acts 22:16 & 1st John 2:2).
Jesus was all three of these things in the past and He is all three of them today. He is the Example to follow in life, the Friend we can trust and the Savior that will not fail us. Are we looking for the same ole’ thing or for something real? You can be sure that Jesus was and Jesus is the real deal. EA