Embracing Jesus’ Identity & Following His Ways
May 7, 2017
Main Theme: Receiving Jesus requires embracing Jesus for Who He Is and following His ways.
I. Jesus Identity (Who Jesus Is)
- Jesus identifies Himself as The Bridegroom.
- In the Old Testament, God repeatedly portrays Himself as the Bridegroom – and faithless Israel as the bride. The book of Hosea provides just one of many examples. And before those people on that day he said essentially, ‘I am the Divine Bridegroom. Indeed I am God Himself.’
- Receiving Jesus involves more than simply reciting a prayer. It involves acknowledging who Jesus is – the heavenly Bridegroom, God Himself and submitting our lives to him.
II. Jesus Ways
- His point to the crowd was ‘ If you are going to receive me, you can’t just add me to the Old Covenant given to Moses as well as all of your traditions.’ ‘You can’t just attach me to them. It won’t work.’
- What He meant in order for these Jewish people to receive Jesus – their outlook, their perspective, their values had to change. They had to become “new material” if you will.
- Jesus is referring here to the New Covenant which he was bringing about through His life, death and resurrection.
- The New Covenant is characterized by new life in regeneration.
- It’s characterized by new hearts,as Ezekiel prophesied.
- It’s characterized by people becoming new creations (2 Cor 5:17).
- It’s characterized by faith, repentance, and the power to obey God.
- It’s characterized by focus on Christ, His person and His work.
- In order to receive Jesus it’s not enough to pray a prayer or to sign a card (as good as those things are), we must become New Covenant material, New Covenant wineskins.
- That means change of heart, change of outlook, change of perspective, change of desires….change of everything….where Christ Jesus becomes the central focus of our lives; where living for Him and walking according to His New Covenant ways, His gospel ways becomes our main focus and our main priority, NOT other things.
- We don’t just receive Christ and embrace Christ once at conversion and then that’s it. The call of the Christian is to embrace Christ daily. It’s to make room for Him daily. It’s to walk in His gospel ways and kingdom purposes daily.
- The wineskins of our own hearts and lives can at times lose some of their elasticity, if you will, as we find any number of ways to crowd Jesus out and push Him, His ways, His purposes to the periphery of our lives. We can do this through sin. We can also do this through neglect of what is most important–our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Questions for Discussion / Application:
- Re-read the narrative (5:33-39).
- What Old Testament passages do you recall where God is referred to as the ‘Bridegroom’ ?
- The clear implication of the fact that Jesus is the Bridegroom is that He is God.
- What does it mean to submit to Jesus as God?
- How can we cherish Jesus is the heavenly Bridegroom?
- What is the New Covenant? How is it distinct from the Old Covenant?
- How does the whole idea of the New Covenant connect to becoming ‘new material’ or ‘new wineskins’?
- The idea that one can be a Christian and yet fail to display any evidence of saving faith in the form of a change life has been called easy-believism. How does the idea of becoming new material or new wineskins speak to the “easy-believism” that is common today ?
- What does it actually look like to make room for Christ daily?
- What hinders us from making room for Christ daily?
- What things might you need to adjust to make more room for Jesus — for Him and His purposes?