Sections on this page:
- What’s in the Title
- What’s in it for You
- Worth the Pursuit
- Genesis of this Workbook
- Challenge to the Reader
- Structure of the Workbook
- Diagram Explanation
- God’s Word is Truth
- Format for Chapters 1-10
What’s in the Title
While the words Getting it Right with Jesus can convey many things, I mean them to entail three dynamic elements:
- Understand refers to the comprehension of the information and teaching about the man Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Bible. Without right understanding, the other two elements will fail.
- Accept refers to the deliberate choice of the individual disciple to get into and stay in a lifelong relationship with Jesus. It is a commitment openly declared in the act of baptism into the name of Christ. Without reasoned acceptance, going forward will not happen.
- Imitate refers to the doing, saying and being things in the same way Jesus did, said and was. It is a student talking like his teacher, a servant copying his master, a follower walking in the steps of his leader, a disciple behaving like his lord. Without specific action by which the resemblance is made clear and growth demonstrated, Jesus is not imitated.
To be like Jesus, to follow in his steps, to replicate his example, is the calling of the individual disciple. Yet the context of the community of believers, the church, the ecclesia, must also be recognized. Interaction between believers is essential to manifest Jesus in their midst as well as to the world. The apostle Paul encouraged disciples in the city of Corinth to “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”. He also wrote to the believers at Ephesus about developing “to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” He was arguing for the need to have unity in the “one body” of Christ. It was important for members to realize how gifted individuals were integral to the ecclesia, so that the “whole body” would grow up the right way into Christ. Here’s the relevant excerpt:
Eph 4: 11 And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.
In summary, Getting it Right with Jesus is:
- a challenge meant to require effort,
- a decision certain to be life-changing and
- a pursuit proven to reward gloriously!
What’s in it for You
Listen to what Jesus said to his disciples, for his words can apply to you as well:
Mt 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.” 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? 27 For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.
What is Jesus teaching in this passage? What is his final appeal?
- He describes 3 clear-cut events: he must suffer, be killed, and then be raised.
- He shows that the idea to avoid that clear-cut path required a sharp rebuke.
- He demands 3 critical actions: deny yourself, take up your cross, follow him.
- He explains 2 life-death outcomes: seeking to avoid the suffering & death that comes with discipleship still ends in death eventually; a willingness to suffer and/or die for Jesus’ sake finds real life now as well as in the age to come.
- He makes the choice clear: without Jesus, the best this world has to offer ends in vanity and oblivion; choosing to follow Jesus now reaps rewards forever.
Worth the Pursuit
The resurrected Jesus is the center of Bible Christianity. Does it make sense for his professed disciples to make sure they understand who this man was and is? Yes!
The decision to want to rightly understand Jesus will take a person on an investigation that never ends. It will absolutely intrigue his/her mind and engage his/her soul. A man or woman can never live a normal life again after truly knowing the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus was sent from God to save mankind from our natural selfishness and folly. He is also the man appointed by God to judge the world in righteousness. Since our present life and future existence are at stake, is it worth the effort to investigate these assertions? Of course!
The seeker will learn that Jesus has “the words of eternal life”, which include things like “count the cost” and “whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple”. His disciples are assured that along with persecutions for doing right, they will reap good things “a hundredfold now in this time … and in the age to come eternal life”. Jesus told the truth. Discipleship is hard. But he gave his followers power to do and to overcome. Some would be put to death for preaching Christ. But he assured them that in losing their life, they would find it! You had to be fully convicted to follow Jesus.
Jesus is a man who delivered. How did he do it? He wants you to establish and keep a relationship with him. How do you do it? Jesus expects his disciples to imitate him. How is that done? This workbook will answer all three questions.
Genesis of this Workbook
The best way to understand Jesus is to read his life story for yourself. That story is masterfully told by God in what continues to be the world’s best-selling book – the Bible. The Bible is often called God’s Book. For those who believe that God inspired men to write down His message, the text is regarded as Holy Scripture. So if you want to really learn about Jesus, go right to the text yourself. Read it. Then make a study of it.
Writing down what makes sense is a good way to reinforce understanding. It also helps to use charts and diagrams to clarify connections and confirm meanings. That’s the process I followed. It made sense to start with the resurrection of Jesus since it is the foundation fact of Bible Christianity. Then the task became one of determining how the major aspects of Jesus’ life fit around this core fact. In my study, 10 subject areas emerged as a logical sequence. Along with 2 complementary information areas, they formed a meaningful ‘big picture’ or framework for understanding Jesus.
Since I am a visual learner and my work profession has been Information Systems, I developed a flow diagram. Then for each of the ten subject areas, I added valid supporting Bible passages. This Diagram [shown 3 pages earlier] became the nucleus of a series of talks given at a Pentecostal church in 2005. It has now evolved into the primary content of this workbook. You are encouraged to make your own notes on the workbook pages and turn it into your personal resource manual.
Challenge to the Reader
This workbook makes bold claims as to what is truly taught in Scripture about Jesus, and by implication, what is erroneously taught. This would be presumptuous were it not for the several Bible texts quoted in support of those claims. My challenge to the reader is this: determine whether the references are relevant and the logic is sound. If you are convinced by the evidence and your own reasoning, then accept your conclusion and its implications. This might mean discarding your misconceptions and the start of changing your behavior.
- If you are already a disciple of Jesus, compare your understanding with that of the author. If you agree, use the information in this workbook in your own preaching and teaching. If you disagree, or have some comments, write to me.
- If you are not yet a follower of Jesus but are investigating the possibility, this workbook provides you with some excellent reasons to consider.
To “get it right with Jesus” requires (1) the right understanding, (2) accepting the demands of a life of discipleship and (3) then living like Jesus. The Bible provides all the necessary information on these three dynamic elements. Establishing a relationship with God through belief in Jesus puts a person on the path to eternal life. Jesus taught:
Mt 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Shocking words? Yes, Jesus meant them to be. This is truth spoken to change your life.
Structure of the Workbook
Let me explain the structure of the workbook:
- This Introduction continues with a brief explanation of how to interpret the Diagram flow. It then highlights what Jesus said about God’s Word – it is absolutely trustworthy. Therefore, we can be confident in using Scripture as our authority. Finally, it explains the layout used for the following 10 Chapters.
- Each of those ten chapters is devoted to one part of the 10-part sequence flow. Each chapter examines the subject on the flow diagram in light of relevant Scripture and in terms of Points on the quoted text. It then discusses the So What implications for what a person thinks and does. Warning is given about false teaching. Assurance is given for faithful disciples who continue to have a strong relationship with Jesus.
- Chapter #1 necessarily focuses on the importance of the resurrected Jesus. Since that subject ties to several other foundation teachings and generates many implications, this is one of the longest chapters.
- Chapters #2 to #4 concern subject matter prior to the resurrection while chapters #5 to #7 are about post-resurrection activities. All pertain to the time when Jesus was still on earth.
- Chapter #8 deals with what Jesus is doing now, in heaven.
- Chapters #9 and #10 talk about what Jesus will do when he returns to earth.
- The subject of Jesus’ relationships to other beings and laws is covered in chapter 11. Prophecies about and made by Jesus are discussed in chapter 12. All chapters are written to show the reader the great value and joy of intimately knowing Jesus. He was the man God sent into the world to save people from sin for the Kingdom of God. He is our example to follow, as well as our savior.
- The Appendix features:
- a recap of each of the 10 Chapters in the form of a 2-page summary sheet,
- supplemental study papers that contain extra material on topics and issues raised in the 12 Chapters,
- Strong’s Concordance word analysis that covers all of the words listed in the “Further Examination” segment at the end of each of the 10 Chapters,
- a high-level but detailed study of the events and sequence of Jesus’ 3½-year ministry, along with a complementary chart and analysis of the activities of his last week.
- Published in 3 Parts:
Rather than overwhelm the reader with a single 400-page workbook, I decided to publish it in three parts. There is a natural break after Chapter 5, and again after Chapter 10. So Part 1 contains the Introduction & Chapters 1-5, Part 2 contains Chapters 5-10, and Part 3 contains Chapters 11-12 & remaining Appendix material.
When you encounter the following icons in the body of the text, you are being prompted to take the recommended action.
This icon prompts you to read the Bible passage yourself.
This icon encourages you to further examine the details.
This icon prompts you to write down your own notes.
This icon prompts you to write out your answers to the Questions.
The mini-triangles in the left margin are meant to indicate that the text to the right is especially important to Understand (U), Accept (A) and/or Imitate (I). Thus the triangle might indicate any one or combination of U, A or I, as follows:
There are three more sections in this Introduction:
- An explanation of the Diagram and the logic behind the flow sequence.
- A discussion on God’s Word being truth, Jesus being the key witness.
- An explanation of the layout used for the following 10 Chapters.
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1. Diagram Explanation
A Framework for Understanding Jesus
The subject of the entire diagram is Jesus. The source of information is the Bible text. The associations drawn are deduced from the evidence found in the text.
The best way to understand the diagram is to see how and why its various components were identified and put together. For ease of reading, the brief explanation is made without citing any Bible references, which will be provided in the chapters that follow.
| First, let’s start with the fact of the Resurrection. This historical event about the man Jesus is vindication of his teaching, the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, and the demonstration that Jesus really was and is the Son of man and Son of God whom God raised from the dead.|
 To be raised from the dead means that Jesus was dead. To die is to stop living. The breath of life [spirit] left Jesus when he died on the cross. That spirit went back to God who gave it, as happens with every other creature on earth that dies. There was a dead body on the cross, which was taken down and put in a tomb. Jesus, as a person, ceased to exist. In short, body minus spirit = a lifeless person or dead body.
The dead body of Jesus on the cross also symbolized the victory of Jesus over sin.
 To have died means that Jesus was once alive. Like the first man Adam, Jesus had a body that had a life force in it and as such, was considered a living being (person, soul). Jesus was alive in exactly the same way, no more, no less, than every other human being that has existed. In short, body plus spirit = a living person.
For an intense 3½ years, he preached the good news of God and went about doing good. Jesus healed people physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. Because he loved them, and because he loved his Father, Jesus lay down his life for his friends and prayed for his enemies. His enemies would kill him, but his friends would see him alive again.
 To be alive as a human being means that Jesus was born of a woman. Jesus was uniquely conceived by the power of God [the Holy Spirit] in the womb of a virgin named Mary. Thus Jesus inherited his human nature from Mary, and called himself “the Son of man”. Because God was his actual Father, Jesus is also “the Son of God” from birth.
 Being like any other man, Jesus could be tempted. Unlike any other man, he never gave in to temptation, i.e., he never sinned. Since he was human, Jesus was mortal, i.e., he could die. Like other men, he did die; he was murdered by crucifixion. Jesus never sinned, but grew in total obedience to his Father. It was ‘impossible’ for him to remain dead in the tomb. Per God’s promises and intervention, Jesus rose from the dead and was given eternal life. In direct contrast to the physical, flesh-and-blood body that he once had, Jesus was given a spiritual body, which is immortal and incorruptible. He is still a man—not now with human nature—but with God’s divine nature.
Note: so far, what applied to Jesus in #4, 3 & 2 is certainly the present human experience today. As for #1 & #5, believers have the hope of the Resurrection and being given a body like Jesus’ glorious body. For the believer then, what Jesus was and did is meant for us to identify with and imitate; he is literally an example that can be followed.
 Since a spiritual body can be seen, Jesus appeared to many people after his resurrection. It made sense that Jesus would show himself alive again to his followers and apostles. So after he was risen, Jesus revealed himself to the faithful women, had a private talk with Peter, came to the men in locked rooms, invited a doubter to touch him, walked & ate with Cleopas and made & served breakfast on the beach for his disciples. Twelve men would be specific witnesses to the fact of the resurrection. And Jesus made special appearances to Stephen and Paul.
 Jesus appeared to his disciples to provide them more than just proof that God had raised him to eternal life. He fulfilled the promises he made prior to his death by passing along Holy Spirit power to the apostles, and by providing further information about himself and the Kingdom of God. He gave specific instructions to go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation, adding that “I am with you always, to the close of the age”. The gift of the Holy Spirit was manifested in apostolic preaching, teaching and healing, as well as in the various gifts given to various members for the care and growth of the church. Jesus empowered the individual to know and obey him, and by that relationship helped him/her overcome sin and stand for the truth of God.