New Testament Characters
Summer Series 2016 • June 12, 2016
Grief. Restoration. Leadership. Forgiveness—these are a few topics we see emerge as people in the New Testament encounter Jesus and His Gospel. What can we learn about these same issues as we study these passages together? We hope you will join us for this summer series as we take an in-depth look at several New Testament characters.
Bill White • June 11, 2016
Nicodemus, a respected Pharisee leader, sought Jesus in the darkness of the night. There the rules and knowledge that Nicodemus had built his life upon were shattered. From his story we learn that nothing is more blinding than knowledge and that Jesus is not an add-on to the life we already have or desire to live. Rather, Jesus wants to remake and transform us to the core of who we are. This is what He does for Nicodemus. When we later meet him, he is wrapping the body of Jesus with spices in broad daylight with the understanding that Jesus is not looking to fix our problems, but rather deliver us from what we know and from the judgment we deserve.
Chris Curtis • June 18, 2016
Jairus’ story tells not only of faith that counteracts fear, but of a Savior, who commands it. When Jairus, a respected leader of the synagogue, falls at the Rabbi’s feet in a desperate plea to save his feverous daughter, Jesus turns to address another concern of a nameless woman in agony. Through the healing of this unclean, isolated, and untouched woman, we are introduced to a Jesus who is not constrained by time, status, position, condition, what we’ve done, or our level of need. When Jairus is told that his daughter is dead, Jesus uses the situation to grow Jairus in his faith. He tells him, “do not be afraid, have faith.” In bringing Jairus’ daughter back to life, we are reminded that He is also a Jesus who is not constrained by death; and, who sometimes uses His healing hands to orchestrate restoration in our circumstances and our faith.
Scott Mozingo - Pelham • June 26, 2016
We are all Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector. He was wealthy, well-known, and hated by society. Yet, he climbed a tree in hopes of catching a glimpse of Jesus. He saw the chasm that existed, one he had tried to fill with money; but, it is a chasm only a Savior can fill. While the Pharisees shook their heads at this disgrace, Jesus exchanged the life of the sinner for His sinless and perfect life. We, like Zacchaeus, are corrupted by the things of this world that promise to bring us salvation. We place our faith in money, skills, relationships, and our own deeds. But, salvation has come to our house. It has not come by us climbing our own righteous ladder to look down, but by receiving Jesus the way He comes to us. Jesus is still seeking and saving, transforming and building. We may be in the tree looking for something, but Jesus is passing by. And, He offers us the same salvation that He offered to Zacchaeus.
Daniel Moore - Pelham • July 2, 2016
Paul’s life embodied one simple statement, to suffer for Christ is gain. At the hands of a fallen world, and for the sake of Christ, Paul suffered unfathomable losses. Yet, he called this suffering a privilege, marrying the idea that if you are going to follow Jesus, you are going to suffer for Him. We are first introduced to Paul, at the time, Saul, by Luke. He explains that Saul is watching on and approving of the stoning of Stephen. However, through Saul’s transformation to Paul, the Lord takes a persecutor of Christians, blinds him, heals him, redeems him, and then chooses him to take His message to the Gentiles, the kings, and the people of Israel. Through Paul’s journey, he is imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, starved, stoned, and eventually martyred. Yet, Paul’s embrace of his temporary suffering achieved eternal value. And, because of that, we can become a people who do not grieve as ones without hope. We can, like Paul, discard all else just to take hold of Christ. We can risk it all for the sake of the cross. And, we can know the joy set before Christ as he endured the cross, scorning its shame.