Category Archives: People in New Testament

A Slave to All

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. – Luke 10:21

Text: 1 Corinthians 9:16-23

chameleonProp: a picture of a chameleon

Summary: We should be selfless in spreading the gospel to win others to Christ.

Look at this picture of a chameleon. This reptile is a scaly lizard that is able to change the color of its skin to blend in with its surroundings. Today’s lesson is about the apostle Paul and how he became as others to share the good news of the Lord Jesus with them.

(Read text 1 Corinthians 9:16-23.)

The apostle Paul knew something about human behavior: people like people that are like themselves. Even in modern salesmanship, salespeople are taught to watch the person they are attempting to sell and become a mirror of the way the person is sitting and speaking to be more likable to that person. So if the prospect (the person the salesperson is attempting to sell) speaks softly, the salesperson speaks softly. If the prospect leans forward, the salesperson leans forward. All of this is to become more likable because people will buy from people they like.

The apostle Paul talked to many different people about Jesus. He decided he would make himself as a servant, or slave, to everyone he met. He did this so they would listen to him when he told them about Jesus. So to the Jews, he spoke about the law and how Jesus came to fulfill the law; to those who did not understand the laws of Moses, he spoke in a way they could understand what God needed them to know about Jesus. To those that were weak, he became as one who was weak so they could relate to what he was telling them about Jesus. He was like a chameleon, able to blend in, to everyone he met. He did all of this so that some would be saved by hearing the good news of Jesus Christ.

Paul knew he had a reward that would last forever in heaven for doing the task he had been given. Although he had a right to be paid as a preacher, he did not ask to be paid. He spread the good news free of charge. He loved to tell others about the Lord Jesus. He viewed his reward as the people who became Christians from hearing the good news. He became a slave to all in order to win some to Jesus.

Paul gives us a great example to follow. It is not about us. It is all about Jesus. We should take ourselves out of the way and let God use us to tell others about the Lord Jesus. Not everyone we tell will believe, but then that is not our task. Our task is to tell, and leave it up to Jesus to save them.

Let us pray. Dear Lord Jesus, give me the desire to tell others about you. Amen.

©2009 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Jesus and the IRS

Text: Matthew 17:24-27; 22:17-22

TaxesProp: A penny

Summary: Jesus paid his taxes and gives us an example of obeying laws. We can trust Jesus to provide for our needs.

Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. – Matthew 22:21

(Read Matthew 17:24-27)

Peter was approached by the tax collectors and asked whether Jesus was going to pay his taxes or not. This must have really worried Peter. Jesus and the disciples were always helping so many other people I imagine that Peter probably didn’t have much money. Now his taxes were due. He must have wondered how he was going to come up with the money needed to pay the tax.

When he got back to the house where they were staying, Jesus already knew what Peter was going to ask. So Jesus asked Peter whether the kings made their own children pay taxes or if they took the tax from others. Peter Fishknew the answer: from others. Jesus did not tell Peter to cheat on his taxes or to not pay them at all. Instead, he told him that God would provide the tax. He told Peter they would pay the tax so they didn’t offend those who expected that they pay it.

What Jesus told Peter next must have surprised him. Peter was so worried, Jesus told him to take the day off and go fishing! Remember, Peter had given up his love of fishing to follow Jesus. Now Jesus was telling him to go do what he loved to do, to relax and take it easy. Go fishing! It was truly an act of faith when Peter did as Jesus told him and when he caught the first fish, he looked in the mouth, and there was a coin! It was just the right amount to pay the tax for Peter and Jesus. God performed a mighty miracle!

As told by Rev. Lewis Shaffer, Son Shine Ministries International Inc. Used by permission.

Peter Walks On Water

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea And rides upon the storm. – William Cowper, from Light Shining Out of Darkness

Text: Matthew 14:22-33

Prop: a glass of water and a marble

Summary: God calls us to do impossible things by faith so He can receive glory when they are done. We should keep our eyes on Jesus in every aspect of life.

Look at this marble and a glass of water. What do you think will happen if I place the marble on the surface of the water? [it will sink] The marble is heavier than the water and it will sink. What happens when you go swimming? If you don’t paddle, will you sink? [yes] I want to tell you about a story in the Bible when two people walked on water!

Read Matthew 14:22-33

Walk on WaterThe disciples had a long tiring day and Jesus sent them out in the boat to go over to another town. It was a dark stormy night (couldn’t resist that line ) and the wind was tossing the waves around. In the middle of the night, they thought they were seeing a ghost when Jesus came to them walking on the sea! Jesus saw they were scared and told them not to be afraid. When they were the most afraid, he told them to cheer up, he was with them! God has to take the storm out of us before He can take us out of the storms of life.

Peter must have wondered if it really was Jesus or just their imagination. He asked Jesus to tell him to come out on the water with him if this was really happening. Jesus didn’t say, “I’m sorry, Peter, but water-walking is for Messiahs only.” No, he said one simple word: Come. God calls us to do impossible things by faith. It must have taken a lot of faith by Peter to take that first step out of the boat in the middle of the wind and waves. When he did, Peter walked on water! The Bible says,

And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. – Matthew 14:29,30

Peter was doing fine until he took his eyes off Jesus. As long as he had faith, he did impossible things to do without God’s help. He kept his eyes on Jesus and walked on water. When he looked around at the world, he started believing that the storm was going to defeat him. He lost faith. He took his eyes off Jesus, and he began to sink. If we forget that Jesus is right there to help us, we can let the storms of life cause us to sink. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can do mighty things for God by faith.

Then Peter uttered what is probably the shortest prayer in the Bible: Lord, save me. Everyone needs to say that prayer. We ALL need Jesus to save us. He is our only hope. Jesus told Peter he should not have doubted. When they got back in the ship, everyone on board came and worshipped Jesus, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. Whenever we do something with God’s help we need to remember to give Him the glory for it.

Adapted from “Keep Your Eyes On Jesus” as told by Rev. Lewis Shaffer, Son Shine Ministries International Inc. Used by permission.

Fixing a Hole

Text: Mark 2:2-12

Prop: a sleeping bag

Summary: Jesus demonstrates that he is Messiah and has the power to forgive sins.

Everybody Needs JesusLook what I brought with me today. Do you know what it is? [ a sleeping bag ] Yes, and the story I want to tell you about today is about a man that was paralyzed and couldn’t walk.  He had to beg for money. He heard about Jesus and wanted to see him, hoping to be healed. Jesus had gone to a man’s house and it was standing room only.  The place was packed. The local reporters were there too because it says they could not come nigh unto him for the press. (grin) This man had so much faith that he got his friends to tear off the roof of the house and let him down on his bed (a small sleeping pallet like this sleeping bag). Jesus saw their faith.  He decided that the hole in this man’s heart was more important to fix than the hole in the roof, so he said to him Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

This upset the religious leaders that were gathered there. They considered this blasphemy for a man to pretend to be God, because in their view only God could forgive sins. Jesus was making the point that he was the Son of God.  People believed if a person was handicapped that it was because they had sinned, or that their ancestors had sinned and that God was cursing them. So for Jesus to forgive this man was the same as healing him and making him whole again.  The scribes were upset so Jesus explained But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way unto thine own house.

Then a miracle occurred. The paralyzed man immediately arose. It didn’t take weeks of rehabilitation and therapy. They were so amazed that they gave glory to God for the miracle and said We never saw it on this fashion. They had never seen anything like it!

We all have a hole in our hearts that needs fixing. Jesus is the only one that can fix it. We must ask him to come into our hearts to fix the hole. He alone can forgive our sins and make us his children.

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Jesus by the Well

Church sign: Too many Christians are no longer fishers of men but keepers of the aquarium. (Courtesy of Christian Humour)

Text: John 4:3-30; Galatians 3:28

Prop: A water pot or bucket

Summary: Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus meets us where we are and offers us eternal life.

(Begin by humming or singing “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.”) Have you ever heard the nursery rhyme about Jack and Jill? [Listen to responses.) I could use this bucket to draw water from a well. (Show bucket or water pot.) Today I want to share a story from the Gospel of John about a woman that met Jesus at a well.

Jesus was on his way to the land of Galilee. His disciples were probably a little nervous. Jesus had decided to go directly through the region of Samaria — and the Samaritans did not get along with the Jews (see Samaritan Neighbor). Jesus was tired and thirsty and sat down to rest beside Jacob’s well. He sent his disciples to buy meat in the nearby city of Sychar (pronounced SIGH-car).

About noon a Samaritan woman came by herself to draw some water from the well. Most women went early in the morning or late in the afternoon when it was cooler. They went in groups for safety and to talk with their friends. This woman probably came at noon to avoid them. She had a bad reputation and not many of them would talk to her. Then Jesus surprised her by asking her to give him something to drink.

(Read John 4:9-15.) Jesus has a way of meeting us where we are and offering us what we need. Surely she needed water to live but Jesus offered her a way to live forever! It didn’t matter to Jesus that she was a Samaritan, or that she was a woman, or that she was a sinner. When he looked at her he saw her as a person created in the image of God. Jesus cares about everyone! There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:28.

Then Jesus dealt with her sin. Jesus told her things about her personal life that she didn’t think a stranger would know. She was shocked that he knew her so well. She tried to change the subject to a religious argument about where to worship. He let her know that what matters is not about being religious, it is about knowing who he is. Instead of changing the subject he changed her life by what he told her.

(Read John 4:23,24.) Jesus said it didn’t matter where you worship as long as you worship the true God sincerely, in spirit and in truth. Then he came to the point. He told her something he had not told anyone else until then: that he was the Messiah she was expecting. That changed her life completely. Suddenly she realized he was not a psychic in Sychar but the Savior of Samaritans. She was so excited that she left her water pot and went to the city to tell others about meeting Jesus by the well. Many people came to believe on Jesus as their Messiah because she cared about them enough to tell them the good news.

Meanwhile, the disciples came back from the city. As usual they didn’t understand why Jesus was breaking all their traditions. Men did not talk to strange women in public. Jews did not talk to Samaritans. Men only taught men about religion in public. Once again he was turning their way of thinking upside-down. They wondered what he was doing. While they were busy buying lunch, the first woman evangelist was heading to Samaria!

Jesus is waiting by the well of your life too. He is ready to accept you as you are, where you are, for who you are today. We are all sinners. We all need Jesus in our lives. He is ready to offer eternal life to all who will worship him in spirit and in truth.

©2002 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.