Archive for September, 2013

Matthew 16:13-20 – THE DNA PROFILE OF JESUS 

The DNA OF JESUS - Image Created by Ross Cochrane

The DNA OF JESUS – Image Created by Ross Cochrane

A work colleague I was speaking with yesterday is an African-American. She has been trying to trace her family history to see if her ancestors were slaves? DNA confirms that her lineage extends back to West Africa where many Africans were taken. Somewhere down the line she has been given a European name. When she discovers the roots of her family tree she will change her name to more accurately reflect who she is.

DNA PROFILING is a scientific “genetic fingerprinting” technique used to help identify people by their DNA. Human DNA sequences distinguish one person from another, but are very similar if you are related to someone.

Peter gives us the DNA profiling results of Jesus. “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”; the Anointed One; the promised Messiah; Prophet, Priest, and King, who is of the same essence and nature with God Himself. It is the DNA profile of Jesus that led to His arrest and conviction. It is His DNA that ultimately led to a death sentence on the Cross. All over the world those related to Jesus bear His DNA because His Church bears His identity.

A BIRTHDAY CARD TO MY DAUGHTER

“Dear Rachel, 

… So who are you? What is your identity. To have Jesus reveal to us who we are in Him is often a quest for life. We see it come together – a daughter, a wife, a mother, artist, photographer, graphic designer, entrepreneur, but Jesus sees you as one who has responded personally to who He is and what He has done for you and through you. 

We love what we see God doing in your life. Your creativity, your willingness to try anything, no matter how impossible or overwhelming it may be, and most of all we love who you are in Christ, the person you are, the one who listens to His voice and gains her identity from Him as she stands in that still place, there in that place from which His Church is built, that stable place of rest where all our senses are alert to what He says and does. 

And we pray this birthday will be another one of those defining moments where you have opportunity to spend time in Gods’ presence and let Him speak more to you about who you are, who you were uniquely created to be. We love you. We are so proud of you. 

Love Mum and Dad XXXOOO”

The invitation He gives is to trust Jesus as the Christ, Son of the Living God. As I do this I see who God intends me to be. I can only “do all things through Christ who strengthens me” when I have identified Him as the Christ, Son of the living God. It is in Him that I find my being. It is who He is that determines who I am in Him. John 20:31 (NLT) says of the Bible “…these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him you will have life by the power of His name.” As I trust Him to be who He says He is, I am entrusted by Him to be all that He intends me to be. My DNA shows that I am related. I was once a slave but I have a new name that reflects that I belong to a new family entirely. 1 John 5:1 (NLT) says “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God.”

Pastor Ross

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IDENTITY THEFT - Photo  by Rachel Bennett and adjusted by Ross Cochrane

IDENTITY THEFT – Photo by Rachel Bennett and adjusted by Ross Cochrane

Is He worried about identity theft when He tells His friends not to let anyone know who He really is? (Matthew 16:20). If so, He’s wise. He should be concerned. Phishing is a problem today. We all get pop-up advertisements and spam emails trying to get our personal information. Is He just playing it safe; watching for Shoulder Surfers trying to steal His pin codes? Is it that He doesn’t want others Skimming His personally identifying information, His full name or credit card number, without His permission? Is He afraid they might try to use His identity to commit a crime against Him? In the light of the crucifixion that makes sense.

It’s obvious that Jesus is a good target for identity theft. He has unlimited resources at His disposal, but unless I get to know Him personally my database will not give me enough information to use practically. I will still not know Him. An identity thief must have accurate information. Lately, I’ve been searching through His mail to source His ID info; His statements, offers, distinguishing bits of information, etc. It’s there for all to see. After reading what He posts, I am able to get His personal data. It’s quite a revelation.

I remember that time in my own life when I first came to a knowledge of who Jesus was. I didn’t have to search through His trash. He had none, but I did have to search through mine. In doing so I found out about my own shortcomings and longed to change my identity. It happened on a Christmas day. It was an “Ah Ha!” moment. I discovered identifying evidence of who Jesus is. That revelation changed my life forever. Jeremiah 29:13 (NLT) says “If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me.”

An exchange took place that day as I surrendered my old life to Him. I was born again and I took on a new identity. I exchanged my sin for His righteousness. I didn’t work for it, earn it or deserve it in any way. But it was credited to my account. I was living on His credit card. My malicious software (sin) stole His life and grace gave me mine. He paid the price for me. He picked up the tab at the Cross. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) says “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Galatians 2:20 (NLT) says “… It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” “… the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17 NLT).

When Jesus asks His disciples “Who do others say that I am?” He thinks it is important for them to know what people like me say about Him? Not so they can judge me, and force their beliefs on me. Their task is to recognise false beliefs about Christ and share God’s Word so that faith could be stirred; give His perspective, enabling me the opportunity to respond to what God is saying; to come to my own conclusions based upon what God is revealing to me. God’s Holy Spirit leads me into His Truth and brings me from an inadequate understanding of Christ to that exciting discovery of my new identity in Him.

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) says “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has CREATED US ANEW in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” 1 Peter 1:23 (NLT) says “For you have been BORN AGAIN, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.” 1 John 5:11 (NLT) says “… this life is in His Son.” 2 Corinthians 5:13-15 (NLT) says “…He died for everyone so that those who receive HIS NEW LIFE will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.”  

The invitation Jesus gives you today is to come to a knowledge of Him, not by His followers hammering away at you, but by revelation from God Himself and His Truth as you respond personally to Christ in faith. You can only come to this point as the Holy Spirit opens up your understanding to the truth of who He is (John 16:13). When Peter gave voice to Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus said “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because My Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being” (Matthew 16:17 NLT).

Barabbas wasn’t the only one who was exchanged for Jesus on the day of His crucifixion. I was too! Jesus paid the punishment for my sin. The innocent Son of God was indicted on my behalf. Jesus died but the exciting thing is that He invites us to exchange His righteousness for our sin. He has given us freely His identity and we have the resources of heaven at our disposal. Ephesians 1:3-5 (NLT) says that God “…has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are UNITED WITH CHRIST.” Philippians 1:20-21 (NIV) says “… For to me, TO LIVE IS CHRIST and to die is gain.” IDENTITY THEFT? Not really. Identity exchange. He freely offers us the identity for which we are created. 

Pastor Ross

Matthew 16:13 – A MORE MANAGEABLE MESSIAH

Making Jesus in our own image

A MORE MANAGEABLE MESSIAH - Image created by Ross Cochrane

A MORE MANAGEABLE MESSIAH – Image created by Ross Cochrane

Dear Jesus,

As Your marketing manager I am glad You finally asked the question “Who do others say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13). Finally You are concerned about Your consumer base. Afterall, without people like me, where would You be? Consumer Loyalty is important. You need to control the perception that we have about You if you want to go to the next level? A few points…

GLOBAL SUCCESS

Do You want to accelerate Your success globally; set the pace in a highly competitive world? Do You want to be more powerful and more highly effective? You can only go so far with the things You are saying and doing and I am here to give You some wins on the board.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Firstly, You will need to lose the “I came to do the Father’s will” line. No-one is interested in pleasing their Father in this generation. Half of them don’t have fathers. Leave Your Father out of it. It will only alienate the fans. If You are going to build a fan club, You will need to relate to their way of life. By the way, this “Take up your cross and follow Me” line won’t go down well either. Make it easy for us to follow You. Offer a free lunch instead. You do that well. Customer service.

PERSONAL APPEARANCE, PROFILE AND POPULARITY (The 3 P’s)

I will help You to reinvent Your social image, Your website, revitalise some of Your more popular sayings on Twitter. I’m here to build Your image; give You some style; tweak Your profile page, find the right opportunities, put You out there, pursue fame a little more intentionally. Heal someone famous and watch it go viral on YouTube. I can follow it up by arranging some TV interviews on the morning show, FM radio. We’ll give You, an audition for Australia has Talent or the X-Factor highlighting Your miracles. Do You have the X-Factor? To be honest, no one really cares about Your message unless it is actually entertaining or they are your close friends.

THE BOOK

By the way, You need to consolidate Your popularity by re-editing Your book. It will take a while but, for a fee, I will edit out the things that people don’t like; a smaller, leaner Bible.

THE MOVIE

I’m thinking something like a superhero movie promoting You as someone who intervenes in our human situations and automatically saves us from tragedies, hurts, trials and wrinkles. Bypass the trials and cross straight to the blessings. I’ve got a few good scripts.

Maybe a fishing show on TV. You’ve got a gift. We could sell some merchandise; plastic bank in the shape of a fish etc. And the way You calmed the sea that time we could do a great video on answers to Global Climate change.

You already inspire a lot of people with Your communication gifts. You deserve fame, so please, lose the Servanthood thing. Don’t think so small because You will only encourage others to think small. New mantra – “Assertiveness, not Servanthood.” Maybe a few high-powered “How-to” seminars and hypnosis sessions will fix this.

MESSIAH STATUS

By the way, You are doing the right things by telling us not to tell people who You really are (Matthew 16:20). Telling people You’re the Messiah is not exactly the best way to go viral. Best to withhold a significant amount of the truth until You get a larger profile. And You’ll need to drop the “first shall be last” line. Start using the “Genie in a bottle of blessing” kind of thinking. It’s a lot more popular. Oh, and avoid Nazareth. We don’t want bad press.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

Jesus, You really need to tone down what You say about the Pharisees. Just filter Your comments a little more. It doesn’t hurt to tiptoe a little when it comes to political correctness issues, especially when You disagree with what is popular. What I’m saying is be a little more tolerant ie don’t express Your differences against culturally acceptable sins.

POLITICAL ACTIVISM

You’ve got royalty in Your blood since you come from King David’s lineage and he was quite popular, so make the most of it. What is it with Your desire to mix with the social outcasts. We want to get the bad people off the streets; the muggers, the gangs, the drug addicts, not encourage them! That won’t get You any votes, especially with the Pharisees. You have to mix with the right crowd.

John the Baptist was willing to die for what He believed in. Somewhere down the line You could organise a political march against the Romans. If you didn’t talk of Peace all the time You would probably already be a great militant leader. Don’t get me wrong but people are more interested in victory over the Roman terrorists than loving our enemies. World Peace is for Miss Universe campaigns. What’s the use of having absolute power if you can’t use it once in a while to get rid of those we consider to be undesirables.

EXPRESSING YOURSELF

Just follow my basic ideas on how to behave and wait for me to give You the go-ahead. Follow my script and You’ll get there. I’ll save You a lot of trouble in the end. Salvation is at hand if You are willing to factor in what Your consumers want You to be.

Your Faithful Agent

Judas

NOOO! If I allow my human wants and wishes to define my view of Jesus; manipulate the Messiah to be made in my image, then He becomes a product of my imagination rather than who He really is and I will inevitably water down the message of the gospel. I am created in His image, not He in mine. It is me that needs managing by Him, not Him by me. The invitation He gives comes by way of a choice “Who do You say that I am?” If I respond to Him as God then I can surrender to the very purpose for which I was created, in Him. (Romans 8:28-39)

Pastor Ross