Authentic – A Series (Part 1)

I’ve recently been on a journey through the four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I think we would all agree that there’s just something about the narrative of Jesus. Like the hymn of old, ‘just the mention of that name.’

I think of His audience, those who had heard the best of what the Sanhedrin had spoken — the mixed messages of the Pharisees and teachers of the law. Something was different about this son of Nazareth. The tone and pitch of His words carried authority and not the kind that came from man; He spoke with mercy and compassion that left them hearing truth for the very first time.

As we read the Gospels we see the remarkable character and balance of Jesus as He responded to the Pharisees by stripping them down to their own flawed humanity, reminding them that apart from God they are broken. Hear His words echo down through the annals of time as they resonate in our hearts and minds even today.

More than two thousand years ago, somewhere on a Jerusalem Hill, people gathered to hear Him speak; “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him” (Matthew 5:3). What stands out about Jesus was His genuine care and compassion for God and God’s people.

He was completely authentic.

The dictionary defines authentic as of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine. Some associated synonyms are real, true, valid, reliable, dependable, trustworthy, honest and faithful. It’s not hard to see that these all form part of the character of Jesus.

The Urban Dictionary defines authentic as being all real and not about the fake stuff.

The people saw Jesus as all real – the Pharisees and their Sanhedrin counterparts were commonly associated with mixed messages and double standards, but Jesus was authentic.

Do you remember the WWJD era? A time when Christians wore the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) wrist bands with pride. Interestingly, I heard a story that the most commonly stolen item in Christian bookshops was the WWJD wrist bands at the purchase counter (so tragic it’s almost funny!)

If my Christianity could be anything I want it to be real, true, valid, reliable, dependable, trustworthy, honest and faithful – just like Jesus was.

Over the next few weeks we are going to explore ‘authentic’ – enjoy the journey, tell a friend.

Nathan

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Standing Man

In the Movie Bridge of Spies a Russian man named Rudolf Abel is under arrest for espionage and facing the death penalty in the United States. He recalls a childhood memory that he shares with his lawyer, his only ally in a nation that wants to see him hang.

As a young boy in Russia where political unrest is rife his house is overrun by partisan border guards. Breaking into the home they beat his father and mother and a visiting friend. As the intruders continue to hit the guest he would fall only to rise again for another violent blow. The abuse went on for some time, with every blow he would bravely stand only to be hit again. For this they named him Stoikiy Muzhik which is translated Standing Man.

What we stand for defines who we are!

Think about your favourite Bible hero, Moses stuttering before Pharaoh calling for freedom. David, standing before Goliath ready to slay his giant. Joshua knocking on the gates of Jericho and marching on day after day. Jesus before Pilot speaking truth. Peter before the people of Jerusalem, the Apostle Paul preaching the Gospel to the men of Athens.

Proverbs 31:8-9 asks us to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

There is something credible about standing up for what you believe in. To have the courage to speak up and make a stand for righteousness. I think we are all called to be standing men and women.

Nathan