An Introduction to JESUS CHRIST: THE PUBLIC YEARS
Since we looked at Jesus’ silent years, we are now ready to look at His public years.
Jesus’ public life was a result of the strength of His solitary life. He taught us the importance of balancing both, with the solitary life always having a prominent place above the public life.
The greatest commandment is always to love God first and foremost. Pure, genuine love always comes from the heart. Pure, genuine love can never be forced. To nurture the greatest commandment, one must develop an intimate, love relationship with God from the heart. This can only occur in solitary prayer with God, the kind Jesus illustrated.
Jesus, then, summed up the remaining commandments into loving one’s neighbor as oneself. From our intimate relationship with God, we draw His strength and can then love our neighbors as ourselves. We will serve our neighbors for their benefit. We will serve them cheerfully. We will see them the way God sees them. When not following these commandments in the correct context, anxiety, impatience, and arrogance usually occur.
We see this exemplified in the gospel of Luke with the story of Martha and Mary. Notice how Jesus sets the correct priority between the solitary life of loving God and the public life of loving and serving God in Luke 10:38-42. Observe closely what Jesus calls the most important. Now as they were traveling along, He (Jesus) entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Ministry like Martha is doing is important, but not at the expense of ministering unto the Lord in solitude. We see Jesus laying a foundation of what being “a person after God’s heart” is. It begins with a passion to love only God first in every area of one’s life. Even if this is not fulfilled in some area of one’s life, as long as there is a desire to love God, God will complete His love in those areas. Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
However, sin keeps one’s heart away from God’s heart. Sin is like a disease that keeps eating away the inside of one’s heart. This is vital to understand and accept. Not accepting it keeps the love of God from penetrating those areas of your heart that your specific sin(s) is occupying. I pray you are able to see this and repent of your sin(s) that keep you from God. God loves you so much and wants to reveal it in the depths of your heart.
Jesus is always your foundation. Only His love must motivate your every action. Only through solitude and intimacy with Jesus can you become “a person after God’s own heart.” God will give you such a passion to fall in love with Jesus every day that it will become natural to do. This is the heart we see developed in Jesus through His intimacy with the Father. Then at the proper time, God sends His love out through you to the hurting needs of the public.
Let’s now see how Jesus shows God’s intimate love publicly, while never losing focus on His love for the Father. Let’s see how Jesus intimately touched the people He encountered. We shall see how Jesus is the perfect example of what “a person after God’s own heart” is. From the strength of the solitary years, Jesus was ready to be God “in action” during the public years.