Can you really outdo Jesus?


“Welcome to Finally Alive Radio! I’m your host, Gary Aris, your very own Christian counselor. I wanted to start off with something that I hear often. Many people, I don’t know, I guess they complain about this or at least they bring it up. What I hear is the question: Does God, does Jesus really understand me? How can he really understand me? How can I even relate to me, my problems in my life? How in the world is he going to understand me? So I figured let’s start with that. That’s a great question. I hear it all the time.

Exploring Jesus in John Chapter 1

So we’re going to start off with John chapter one, and I want to talk about Jesus. I want you to see how different Christ is than any other God. So I figured that would be a great place to start. We can talk about Jesus and see if he can actually understand you. So we’re going to go to John chapter 1 and we’ll start there. It’s a great place to start. I love the book of John; it’s a very easy simple book. There are actually four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I would say that this is perhaps the simpler one, so if you’re going to start anywhere, start with John.

The Word Became Flesh

John chapter 1, verse 1 says, ‘In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God.’ Verse 2 says, ‘He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and apart from him, nothing came into being that has come into being.’ That sounds very godly, right? That sounds like that is a God for sure. Verse 4 says, ‘In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.’ So you can see this contrast of good and evil or God versus the devil in verse 5. Here is God, so we’re going to go to verse 14.

Jesus as the Incarnate God

In verse 14, it says, ‘And the word,’ remember the word, and it started off within the beginning was the word, ‘and the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory as of the only begotten from the father, full of grace and truth.’ In a nutshell, there, that just described Jesus as being God. So Jesus is not definitely God, but wait a minute. Wasn’t he on earth? Yeah, verse 14 tells you the word became flesh. So what that means is Jesus, though he is a god, he is also just enough man. He’s just enough human to be able to feel, be able to relate to, be able to bleed. Keep those things in mind, wearing go to Luke chapter 2, verse 6.

Jesus’s Humble Birth in Luke Chapter 2

This is Jesus’s birth, and I think the way or the place he’s actually born is pretty interesting, so let’s see if you can relate to this. Verse 6 says, ‘While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.’ So this is Mary, Jesus’s mother. Verse 7 says, ‘And she gave birth to her firstborn son and she wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger.’ Now I don’t know if you can relate to that, but a manger is what you put, it’s a trough. You put the food for the animals in this trough, and this is Jesus’s crib. So Jesus doesn’t get a crib; he gets a manger. I don’t know if that was your experience. The rest of the verse says, ‘Because there was no room for them in the end.’ I wonder if you can relate to that. Do you ever or have you ever felt like there was no room for you? Did you ever feel like maybe you weren’t a part of something, maybe that you know there’s no room for you, there’s no room for you here? Ever heard of something like that, ever felt that? Jesus starts off like that. He starts off not even in the house, not in a mansion. This is as low as it gets right here.

Jesus’s Temptations in the Wilderness

Oh, by the way, this is the King of Kings, right? If you know the story, Jesus is supposed to be the King of Kings, and here he’s born in a manger. So talk about humble beginnings. Matthew chapter 4, verse 1 says, ‘Then Jesus was led up by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.’ Speaking of temptation, have you ever felt tempted? Clearly, Jesus has been tempted. It says it, literally says it. If you have been tempted by Satan, if you feel like Satan has been picking on you, talk about temptation, well, Jesus has too. He experienced it. And let’s take a look at some of the temptations here.

Temptation and Jesus’s Hunger

Verse 2 says, ‘And after he had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, he then became hungry, and the tempter came and said to him, “If you’re the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”‘ That is the best way to try to tempt someone, right? If he’s hungry, what would you tempt him with? The basic necessities of life. I don’t know if you’ve gone through that kind of hell on earth, if I may. Not just the temptation part; did you grow up in a lifestyle that wasn’t pretty? Perhaps you grew up poor or broken, or maybe it was just a piece of bread that you had to share. I’ve spoken to people who’ve come from overseas, and boy oh man, some of the stories you hear from them. I mean, they may have not eaten for days; they were lucky if they got, you know, beans. They were lucky if they got any bread. I don’t think most people have lived that, but I’m sure they have, that there are people that have lived that.

The Second Temptation – Fame and Power

Skipping to verse 8 says, again, so the temptation doesn’t stop there. In fact, this chapter, there are three different temptations that Jesus goes through with Satan. We’re going to cover two, and here’s the second one. It says, again, ‘The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and he said to him, “All these things I will give you if you fall down and worship Me.”‘ Look at the contrast. The first temptation was just the basic necessities of life, right, food and drink. And look at to what extreme Satan goes with Jesus to tempt him with fame or power. The world will do this to you if it already hasn’t done it to you.

Relating to Jesus’s Encounters with Outcasts

You know, I’ve actually heard of stories of women who were tempted to do horrible, horrible things for fame, for fortune. It’s horrible what some people have to go through, and I don’t know if that’s you, but I just want you to see that Jesus can relate to you. Mark chapter 2, verse 15 says, ‘And it happened that he was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many of them, and they were following him.’ When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why is he eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?’

Jesus Facing Criticism from the Religious

Oh, by the way, Pharisees, these guys are the religious ones of the day. Now imagine if the religious ones of the day today are sitting here and poking at you and pointing fingers at you. I’ve heard of stories like that. I’ve heard of abuses people feel like they are not welcome or people feel like people have spoken behind their back. Perhaps that was you; perhaps you had good intentions to help or do something yet maybe you were taken advantage of or people took your kindness for weakness. That happens. Well, Jesus can relate.

Jesus’s Righteous Anger

Have you ever felt angry, angry at a person, angry at something, someone? So here’s Jesus, Matthew 21, verse 12, and that reads, ‘And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves, and he said to them, “It is written, my house shall be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a robber’s den.”‘ Ever gotten angry? I’ve gotten angry; I get angry a lot. But look at Jesus and how he got angry and what he got angry about. See, a lot of people, I’ve heard a lot of Christians actually; they will say, ‘Oh no, it’s not right, you shouldn’t get angry, that’s not fair, that isn’t godly.’ Not so. Apparently, Jesus gets angry too, and that’s okay. Let me free of that idea that anger is actually evil. No, that’s not true.

Understanding Righteous Anger

I mean, in fact, if you want a Bible verse for it, Ephesians 4:26 tells you, ‘Be angry and sin not.’ So the idea isn’t not to be angry; the idea is be careful what you do with that anger. So yeah, if you get angry, yeah, Jesus did too.”

Jesus’s Response to John’s Death

So apparently the king kills John, and John is Jesus’s cousin. In verse 29, it says when his disciples heard about this, they came and took away his body and laid in a tomb, speaking of John. Verse 30, the Apostles gathered together with Jesus, and they reported to him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.’ Verse 32, they went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves.

When Jesus’s cousin dies, Jesus actually pulled away from the people. Jesus too, being wrapped in flesh as John one told us, he had feelings too, he had emotions too. In fact, there’s another verse that literally says it’s the shortest verse in the Bible: ‘Jesus wept.’ So yeah, did he hurt? Oh, absolutely, he hurt. Did he cry? Absolutely, he cried. Did he get mad? Absolutely, he got mad. I wonder if you’ve lost somebody. Who did you lose? I’ve lost family members old and young actually. Many of them to cancer actually. I don’t know if you can relate, and it’s heartbreaking. What I know, I’m not alone. Jesus experienced death with his cousin here. I’ve experienced it. I’m sure you have too. I want you to know you’re not alone. In fact, you are in good company.

Pilate’s Dilemma

So let’s go ahead and intensify some things. I’m going to go to Luke chapter 23 verse 20, which says Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again. So what’s happening is Pilate isn’t sold on the idea that Jesus is a bad person. He’s a sinner; he deserves to go to jail or be given the death sentence. Pilate is not sold on it. Pilate can see that Jesus is an innocent man, and again in verse 20, it says Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again. He’s addressing the people. He’s telling you, he’s asking the people. Verse 21 says but they kept on calling out saying, ‘Crucify him, crucify him.’ And he said to them the third time, ‘Why? What evil has this man done? I have found in him no guilt demanding death; therefore, I will punish him and release him.’ But they were insistent with loud voices, asking that he be crucified, and their voices began to prevail, and Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted and he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will.

I don’t know if you’ve experienced jail. Maybe you have, or maybe you’ve been accused of things in your life by people that perhaps you didn’t do. Ever felt alone? That’s probably the loneliest you can possibly be, right? Have you ever felt like everyone was against you? So has Jesus. I want you to see how relatable Jesus is. You aren’t alone. When you go to Christ and you speak to him about your issues, he understands so well. In fact, I want to keep pushing and I want to push and see if you’ve experienced some of these things.

Gethsemane and Peter’s Denial

Going on to Matthew chapter 26 and verse 36 says then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane and said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be grieved and distressed. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and keep watch with me.’ Verse 40 says, and he came to the disciples and found them sleeping and said to Peter, ‘So you men could not keep watch with me for one hour.’

How many times have your friends sold you out? How many times were your friends or family not there for you? I don’t see Jesus’s family here; he’s got some disciples, and they’re not even there for him. They’re falling asleep at the wheel. Can you relate? Can Jesus relate to you? How lonely that must feel right? And speaking of great friends, verse 69 says, now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him and said, ‘You two were with Jesus the Galilean,’ but he denied it before them all, saying, ‘I do not know what you’re talking about.’

If you know the story, Peter ends up denying being Christ’s friend or being any type of acquaintance to Christ. He denied his own friend. How many times have you been sold out? I want you to see that you’re not alone.

Soldiers’ Mockery and Crucifixion

In chapter 27 verse 27 says, then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around him. In verse 29, it tells you they made fun of him. Verse 30 says they spit on him, they took a reed and began to beat him on the head, they mocked him, and then after they’re done mocking him and beating him, they go send him off to get crucified.

Have you experienced that? I venture to say that most haven’t felt that. And look, not only has Jesus experienced being alone, being sold out by his friends, the crowd didn’t want him, the crowd didn’t care for him. They say they want him crucified; here we have soldiers mocking him, for what? What did he do wrong? Nothing.

Jesus’s Cry of Abandonment

And verse 46 says about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Forsaken means to abandon. I’ve met a lot of people who’ve been abandoned, who’ve been left by themselves, almost as if they’ve been thrown out like trash. What a horrible, horrible feeling to feel like you’re unwanted and not cared for.

Facing Death

I met a lot of people who haven’t met one of their parents or both of their parents for that matter; talk about the feeling of abandonment. That is exactly what’s happening right here. Jesus says, ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?’ He’s talking to the father. You want to talk about abandonment issues? Here you go, the time you would say Jesus would need God the most, God actually turns his back on his own son. I don’t think a lot of people explain it that way; it doesn’t sound so pretty, but you’ve got to realize God also knew three days from this moment Jesus would come out of that tomb alive. So there is a grand plan; there’s a grand scheme here. God isn’t evil; he wasn’t trying to be mean or rude or hate his son, but there was a grand scheme here; there’s a giant strategic plan here. Nonetheless, Jesus still had to go through it. You want to talk about anxiety? When Jesus is praying, he actually begins to sweat blood. I mean, how much of a panic does your physical body have to go through to sweat blood.

The Resurrection and Victory

My friends, I want you to see that Christ has not only gone through what you’ve gone through, he’s actually surpassed it. And just in case you’re that one person who’s actually experienced all this, I’ll go one step further. Jesus gives up his spirit, meaning he died. Have you tasted death? Oh, and by the way, why did Jesus die? Because of his sins? No, no, not at all. Jesus died for yours and mine. So you want to talk about someone who’s seen it all, gone through it all, experienced all types of hell on earth? Here’s the guy. Jesus himself, God wrapped in flesh, so he can experience all the emotions, all the hurt, and experience how it feels to shed your blood.

When we go to God and we’re praying and we’re crying and we’re lamenting, oh, trust me, he gets it. If you need a reminder, listen to this one more time. He gets it; he’s seen it; he lived it. Why is Jesus so amazing compared to other religions? Jesus lived it 100%, and if he lived it, he sure as heck understands. So to my friend who might say, ‘Well, why did all these horrible things have to happen to me? Why did this have to happen? Why did I have to go through this in my life?’ If Jesus understands, why did I have to experience this? Because, my friend, you live in a broken world. This world one day will end, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth, is what Revelations tells us. This world is broken, and if the world is broken, then guess what’s going to happen in the world? Broken, dysfunctional, hurtful, painful things.

Oh, and by the way, Jesus lived here too. He lived in this broken world just like you, and he lived it. He gets it. Friend, I just want you to see that you aren’t alone. You’re not alone on this earth; we’re all in this together and going to experience this together. But I want you to see that the man Jesus who died, he also resurrected. You and I haven’t tasted death yet, but if you believe in Christ, you too will die and resurrect. Christ’s resurrection is the sign and seal for us that we too will resurrect. How can I claim that? Because Jesus did it. You’re not alone, and Jesus understands. Pray to him, put it all on him, ask him to help. Ask him to guide you, but the lesson I want you to understand is this is that sometimes we have been victimized. Sometimes we’ve gone through things that weren’t fair. I get that, but here’s the message. If you know Jesus now, if you believe in Christ, we’re no longer those victims. We’re no longer part of this world who wants to eat you up and spit you out. Though we were once victims, we will not stay in the state of victimhood. You believe in Christ; your soul is saved. If your soul is saved, automatically you’re victorious. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world. The world has its troubles; the world is always going to be in turmoil; it’s just the way it is. Come to accept that. Look, you have Jesus in flesh coming to the earth, and he wasn’t accepted; why should I be accepted? Why should the world accept me if they didn’t accept Jesus? Think about that. You walk there trusting God and see what he’ll do with your life. Satan wants to ruin your life. Just like we saw Satan tempting Jesus, he wants to do that to you. But look, if you believe in Jesus, it doesn’t matter what will happen to the flesh. Your soul is saved. Satan will lie to you. Satan wants to trick you, but you see here, Jesus went through the same sort of temptation. Don’t believe it. Satan is a liar. Jesus understands, and he cares for you.”

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