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Spirit-Filled Jesus: Live by His Power

Spirit-Filled Jesus: Live by His Power

by Mark Driscoll

Learn More | Meet Mark Driscoll

Chapter 1

Spirit-Filled Jesus

You think too much about yourself.
You don 't think about Jesus enough.
That is the one problem that makes all your problems worse.

Sure, you have faults, flaws, and failures. Sure, you have pains, plans, and problems. But thinking more and more about you and then picking up a self-help book isn 't going to help. Why? Because self-help is no help. The best thing for you to do is first think more and more about Jesus and pick up a book that helps you learn about Spirit-help. Spirit-help is serious help. The Holy Spirit helped Jesus and wants to help you.

I 'm not trying to bum you out, but I need to get honest before I can build you up.

Let 's just get to the bottom line of your life—what keeps you awake at night, causes you stress during the day, and floods your mind before your feet hit the floor in the morning? Most of the time you are thinking about you, right? Then you go to church for an hour a few times a month and get frustrated with God because it doesn 't seem as if He 's doing enough to help you. Meanwhile, the worship leader sings about His goodness, the preacher reminds you of His promises, and you go home wondering what you are missing.

Where are you turning for hope, help, or healing?

Have you ever examined your life in light of these questions: How did Jesus Christ live His life and leave His legacy? If Jesus were living my life, what would He be doing and how would He be doing it? That 's the key that unlocks the rest of your life. I don 't want you to live your life for Christ. I want Christ to live His life through you! When Jesus needed help, He went to the helper. You need to do the same.

We weill think about you in a bit. But first, let 's think about Jesus.

The story of Jesus starts rather humbly and quietly with nearly no resources or riches. I 've been to His hometown of Nazareth and it is not impressive. The town reportedly had only one well for its water source, which meant the population it could sustain would have been perhaps somewhere between a few dozen and a few hundred people. His childhood home was likely about the same size as a parking space for an automobile. He was born into a poor, rural, peasant family to parents who were likely teenagers. He never married. He never traveled more than a few hundred miles from home. He never went to college. He never owned a company or made much money. He never wrote a book. He never owned a house. He never held a political office. He never fought in a war. He spent roughly 90 percent of His life in obscurity doing construction with His dad. His three years of public ministry included lots of harrassment, constant slander, and vicious attacks trying to wrongly pain Him as a demon-possessed alcoholic whose mother had enjoyed so many men that His paternity remained a mystery.

For someone with no electricity, no media, no social media, no public relations firm, no offspring, no money, no power, no soldiers, no business card, no Twitter account, and no office, Jesus Christ has somehow become the most towering figure in all of human history. He accomplished this feat in three short years of itinerant ministry, walking around and preaching mainly to rural folks, including illiterate peasants, without the benefit of live internet streaming. H. G. Wells, a historian who was not a Christian, said, "No man can write a history of the human race without giving first and foremost place to the penniless teacher of Nazareth."

Jesus ' Impact on the Arts

The Bible, which records Jesus ' teaching and life, is the best-selling book in the history of the world. Furthermore, it is the most translated book in the history of the world because Christianity has always been about educating people and translating documents into languages that people can read for themselves.

A Christian, Johannes Gutenberg, invented the printing press, and the Bible was the first book widely published. More books have been written about Jesus than anyone who has ever lived. In the world of literature undeniable influence of the Christian faith appears in the works of Dante, Chaucer, Donne, Dostoevsky, Bunyan, Milton, Dickens, Hans Christian Andersen, Tolstoy, T. S. Eliot, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Sayers, and Solzhenitsyn.

In the world of the arts, Michaelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci were inspired by Christian faith and depicted Jesus in some of their work. Cathedrals and churches around the world have been beautifully built in His honor.

In the world of music, Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi claimed to be worshippers of Jesus. Today an entire genre of worship music devoted to Jesus fills airwaves, stadiums, and churches with people singing about Him and singing to Him.

Pop-culture references to Jesus appear in everything from movies to television shows. His face shows up frequently on everything from T-shirts to stickers. His cross may also be the most popular form of jewelry, worn by everyone from modest holy nuns to immodest Hollywood divas. Historian Philip Schaff said, "He has set more pens in motion and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, works of art, learned volumes, and sweet songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times."

Jesus ' Impact on Dignity

No one has inspired more good than Jesus. Since the decree went forth at the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325 that hospitals were to be opened to care for the body whenever churches were opened to care for the soul, Christians have been about caring. For this reason, we have the Red Cross founded by the Christian Henri Dunant and hospitals with Christian affiliations such as Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic.

In a day when women were mostly illiterate and considered the property of their husbands, Jesus turned the world upside down by having a friendship with sisters Mary and Martha, forgiving and teaching Mary Magdalene and the Samaritan woman at the well, and including women in His inner circle of disciples. Women were also the first to find His tomb empty.

Since Jesus was technically adopted by Joseph and grew up to care for the widow, orphan, and outcast, Christians have always had a heart for the poor and powerless. Historian and member of the American Antiquarian Society W.E.H. Lecky said, "The character of Jesus has not only been the highest pattern of virtue, but the strongest incentive in its practice, and has exerted so deep an influence, that it may be truly said that the simple record of three years of active life has done more to regenerate and to soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists."

Jesus ' Impact on History

Jesus looms so largely over history that we measure historical time in the context of His life. BC refers to the time "before Christ," and AD (anno Domini) means "in the year of the Lord." Our biggest holidays are dedicated to Him as we celebrate His birth every Christmas and resurrection every Easter.

Nations, causes, and leaders have come and gone. But for more than two thousand years the church of Jesus Christ has spread from one nation to the nations, from the language of Hebrew to thousands of languages, and from one generation to generation after generation. Christianity ranks as the most popular religion and largest and lonest-standing movement of any kind in the history of the planet with more than two billion people today claiming to be followers of Jesus Christ.

Napoleon Bonaparte admitted that Jesus greatly surpassed his own conquests saying, "I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires, and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religions the distance of infinity....His religion is a revelation from an intelligence which certainly is not that of man....Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires; but upon what foundation did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force! But Jesus Christ founded His upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for HIm."

Most religion center on a holy place that serves as their headquarters. Christianity centers on a holy Person who serves as our head. Approaching the new millenium, Newsweek ran a cover story that said, "By any secular standard, Jesus is also the dominant figure of Western culture. Like the millennium itself, much of what we now think of as Western ideas, inventions and values finds its source or inspiration in the religion that worships God in his name. Art and science, the self and society, politics and economics, marriage and the family, right and wrong, body and sould—all have been touched and often radically transformed by the Christian influence."

Surveying the record of human life on the planet, perhaps historian Kenneth Scott Latourette has said it best, "Jesus is the most influential life ever lived on this planet."

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