I was hungry…

I was hungry…

 

I was hungry.  Who said those words?  If we think about it, all of us have said we were hungry.  I doubt, though, if any of us here were ever truly starving.  When Jesus said this in Matthew 25, He was not speaking about someone who had missed lunch, or didn’t like what was on the menu and refused to eat.  Jesus is describing a condition of hunger that is chronic and dangerous.  This is about those who do not have food and will die unless something happens soon.

Jesus said, “I was hungry.”

After His baptism, Jesus was led out into the desert by the Holy Spirit, where He fasted and was tempted by Satan.  After 40 days without food, the Bible says in Matthew 4:2 that Jesus was hungry.  I don’t even know how to imagine this, do you?  Notice also that this is voluntary.  Jesus was not without resources to get food.  Satan knew that too, and used it to tempt Jesus.  Jesus was hungry.  Hungry? He was actually starving.  Jesus voluntarily put Himself in the place of those who are without.  Think of this again with me.  Jesus had it all.  He was eternally with the Father in glory before ever coming to this earth.  He had all power and wealth, wisdom and strength, honor, glory and blessing.  Jesus was rich.  How rich?  Ultimately, infinitely, overwhelmingly, eternally, rich.  Turn with me to 2 Cor. 8:9 – For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.  What does that do to you?  Isn’t that amazing?  Is it not beyond our capacity to reason?  He who had it all, gave it all up… why?  For who?  And don’t miss this part, this was the Father’s will and plan.

Jesus said, “I was hungry.”

Now turn with me to Philippians 2.  Some of you know where I’m going here, don’t you?  Here in chapter 2:5 of Philippians, the Bible tells us to have the same mind in us that was in Christ.  But what is that mind?  What mind do you and I need to have to obey this?  Here, the Bible does not say to know all that Jesus knows or think all that Jesus thinks, but it specifies exactly what is meant by having the same mind as that of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Notice, that in most translations there is a comma, not a period at the end of that statement: have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus (comma) then comes what mind Jesus had that is meant for you and I to have as well.

Read with me verses 6-11. (Slides with verses).

Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus:

  • who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
  • but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
  • And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
  • Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name that is above every name,
  • that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
  • and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Have THIS mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus!

This is not a suggestion for how to have a better Christian life.  This is a command that is echoed all through the New Testament and should be considered as sound doctrine to those of us who believe and follow Christ as Lord and Savior.

Churches of Christ have taken to heart what we call the plan of salvation, have we not?  We understand that hearing the gospel produces faith that moves us to repentance from sin to following Jesus Christ and confession of Him as Son of God, Lord and Savior.  We are then baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  This is the biblical path to receiving and entering the saving grace of God which He poured out for us through Jesus death, burial and resurrection.  In fact, baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins is the time and place where the believer becomes a saved follower of Jesus.  Is that not what the Bible says?

A person being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ is entering Jesus’ death.  They are buried with Him through baptism into death, so that just like Jesus was raised from the dead, we too, might walk in newness of life.

This is considered “sound doctrine” biblically, and for anyone who differs, I for one, would like to bring them into agreement with this teaching.  I hope everyone here would do the same.  We are not free to make changes in Jesus’ instructions.  We answer to Him and are under His authority and are commissioned by Jesus to go make disciples of others, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and then what?  Teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded!  What follows baptism is also sound doctrine, right?

How about this teaching of Jesus in Matthew 25?  I was hungry… etc.  Jesus calls those who gave Him food, water, clothing and care: the righteous.  Here we have one of the clearest instructions of Jesus given where what we do makes all the difference in whether we go to heaven or hell.  It is brilliantly presented in an unforgettable story form.

This same Jesus who gave up glory in heaven, who was rich, who was equal with God in power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and praise.  He had it ALL.  Seeing us powerless, poor, foolish, weak, dishonored, repulsive, and cursed, dead in our trespasses and sins.  Jesus, the divine Son of God, was given by the Father and yet also, He gave Himself.  Jesus let go of everything and the Master became a servant.  The Lion of Judah became the sacrificial Lamb of God.  The glorious King of kings became the rejected man of sorrows.  The righteous One, became the sin offering.  He who had it all, gave it all.  What kind of mind is that?

Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.  Is this not sound doctrine too?

Jesus summed it up really well in the Sermon on the Mount in His concluding remarks.

He said: Whatever you would that others do to you, do it unto them, for this IS THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.  Now, if that’s not sound doctrine, nothing is.

Paul puts it this way in Philippians 2 just before giving us the instructions about the mind of Christ that we are to have.  He says: Do not merely look out for your own interests, but also the interests of others.

This afternoon we will have a chance to put together 10,000 meals that will be shipped to hungry people in foreign lands.  You and I are able to take part in feeding those we don’t know and probably will never meet, at least here on this earth in this lifetime.  But Jesus knows them.  He knows.  Not only does He know them, He so identifies with those in need and who are His, that it appears He hungers with them.  Not only that, He keeps note of all that answer the needs of the hungry and needy.  He takes it personal and when He comes, He gives rewards that are out of this world!  He also takes it personal when we can, but don’t help.  Is that not clear from Matthew 25?

James puts it this way, “Pure religion that is undefiled before God, the Father is this: to care for the orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted by the world.”

Do you see that balance?  It isn’t enough to make it to all the church services.  It isn’t enough to just keep ourselves from the stains of this sinful world. We have a job to do while we are here. We have a to receive this mind, which was also in Christ Jesus toward the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, imprisoned children of God.

If the King came today and He separated the sheep from the goats, which group would you and I be in?  Let’s take to heart the sound doctrine of Jesus Christ and so let us live that we might hear His welcome into the glorious kingdom prepared for us from the foundation of the earth.