When was the last time you went searching for a pattern to either make something for yourself or for someone in the family? In our time it is far more likely that you would go to YouTube to see how a thing is built or put together. I am amazed that even when you puchase something now that it will often tell you to go to a YouTube video to see how to put it together. I decided to put a TV on the wall the other day and went to Walmart to purchase the kit to carry it out. When I got home and opened the thing it said to go to a YouTube video they had to explain how to do it. I tried, then called one of my grandsons to come and figure it out and put it up for me.
In spiritual matters where do you go for a pattern? I’ve heard tons of discussion about the pattern for the church and how we are to know exactly what we are to do and be as God’s people in the world. The problem is that most of the suggestions that are given on the pattern for the church or for the Christian don’t work out very well when they are tried. One person sees one thing as the pattern and another looks at the same Scripture and sees something entirely different. I think of how many groups of people have gone to Acts 2 to find the pattern for their church and how it will operate. One group goes to it and finds the tongue speaking as the main thing for them to follow. Even though the tongue speaking in Acts 2 made it possible for everyone to hear them in their own native language, the tongue speaking that people tend to be drawn to is more about something only God can understand. Another group goes to this text and sees baptism in the name of Jesus and determines that even though Jesus said to go and make disciples in all nations baptizing them into the name of the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit, that baptism should actually be in the name of Jesus only. Others go to the same set of verses and determine that the church ought to have everything they own in common and live together in a community. Others look at these verses and see that baptism along with repentance if for the forgiveness of sins. While others only notice that those who are baptized receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and they tend to go in many directions with what that means for us.
So, what is the pattern? Let me make a plea from the same set of verses that I believe is the key verse to point us in the right direction. In verse 36 of Acts 2 Peter declared that “God has made this same Jesus whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” It was out of that statement that the people cried out, “men and brothers, what shall we do?” This declaration was the conclusion of what Peter had been preaching to them from the start. His whole sermon focused on what God had predetermined would happen in Christ. It didn’t surprise God that wicked people, who were deeply religious would reject Jesus as Lord and Savior and put him to death in hopes of maintaining their place as religious leaders in the world. Peter goes back to pick up the prophesies of what was happening that day and of Jesus and his resurrection from the dead. He explained that David prophesied he would not be left in hades nor his flesh see corruption but he would be raised to sit down at the right hand of God. He told them that Jesus was that son of David to reign on David’s throne forever and that He had now taken his place to reign at the right hand of the Father and from the throne he had now sent the Holy Spirit on them.
Jesus, is now our Lord and Christ. He is the Savior of the world. Think for a moment what it means for Jesus to be our LORD and Christ. The word Christ means the anointed one. So he has been anointed by God for the work as our High priest and our king. The word lord means he is the ruler, the king, the one who has all authority in heaven and on earth. We live in a time when our focus seems to be on Jesus as our savior and the one who takes our sins away. But the focus doesn’t seem to move to Him as our Lord and king. If Jesus is our Lord, then He is the one in charge. His life, teaching and example are the pattern for us to follow. His word is the standard for us in everything.
It is amazing that Matthew in telling the story of Jesus life had his last words to the disciples before ascending to the Father as follows: “All authority is given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And I will be with you always even to the end of the age.” Notice, Jesus ended his personal ministry declaring that He had ALL AUTHORITY IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH. If Jesus has all authority, tell me, how much authority does that leave for any of the rest of us? And if he has all authority, doesn’t that mean that what he says and does is the pattern for us to follow always. Besides that John tells that He came to show us the Father, to explain Him to us. He even said “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” So, my best way of knowing and understanding God is by looking at Jesus and His life on this earth. Finally, if Jesus has all authority and he is Lord of all, doesn’t that mean that I must obey him in what he tells me to do? And, since he gave His Spirit to the Apostles to guide them into all truth, shouldn’t I follow the teachings of those who like Paul or John or Matthew who wrote down the message from him?
What if we really looked to Jesus as the pattern and followed him? Do you suppose it might bring us together more?