What think ye of Jesus Christ? Who do ye say that Jesus is? All Christadelphians would agree that developing the mind of Christ is essential: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5). We often hear about developing a relationship with our Lord, but what does that actually mean? When we come to the Lord’s table regularly to focus on the Son of God, do we align ourselves with him, to learn his values and morals, to follow his example and character?

As a Creator, God spoke in the beginning: “Let there be light” (Gen 1:3). He spake and physical light appeared. This was a prelude to a greater work, for “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). Physical light gave way to a brighter light—the knowledge of God’s glory reflected in His Son.

That light dwelt amongst mankind and was a reflection of the Father’s glory. In Jesus Christ we have a man that we can easily relate to, and through him that light shines into our hearts and minds, even though “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Cor 4:7). This knowledge allows the inward man to be renewed day by day, growing, developing and maturing (v16).

So, what should the mind of Jesus Christ look like in us? In examining ourselves we need to keep checking the Scriptures that we might see the real Christ shining through. Many so-called Christians have a very jaundiced view about the Lord Jesus Christ, because it is solely based on a cursory view of Jesus as revealed in the gospels. They are comfortable highlighting his love, his kindness, his gentleness and his non-resistance to personal attacks. Furthermore, they only see Jesus as a harmless, inclusive teacher, surrounded by little children around his feet; an incredibly tolerant man.

They gloss over his sterner qualities. They don’t remember his act of driving the moneychangers out of the temple (twice). They forget his frequent rebuking of hypocritical religion in very harsh terms (calling them blind leaders of the blind and whited sepulchres). They fail to grasp his restrictive conditions of discipleship, warning sinners to “sin no more” (John 5:14; 8:11). As true disciples we cannot limit our comprehension of Jesus to those aspects which appeal to the modern world.

The post-modern world around us thinks that all truths and beliefs are equally acceptable. They also think that the societal values of moral tolerance and universal acceptance of others’ preferences are the paramount virtues. But we who are called to the one saving Truth must look at the whole of God’s revelation about Jesus Christ. We need to see the complete picture of Christ and follow the one who showed us God’s holiness and truth. We must see God revealed to us in His Son and align our values to his:

  • We must see our Lord’s pivotal place in God’s eternal plan and purpose. We note his predetermined role as the seed of the woman, the lamb slain from the foundation of the world, the obedient son on Mt Moriah, the saviour of the world who was prefigured by Joseph, the reason for the serpent on the pole, the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, the Son of David, the Messiah, and finally we see Jesus as revealed in the Apocalypse—the immortal, the King of kings and the future conqueror and ruler of the world;
  • Certainly, we must carefully imitate and follow the Jesus we see in his mortal life—to hear his teachings, copy his attitudes and learn his morality;
  • We must also comprehend the vital principles declared in his unique sacrifice—where a sinless man died, and in so doing he declared God’s righteousness;
  • As mortals we readily identify with the Lord in his struggles with temptation, and therefore we are so thankful that we have a high priest who is sympathetic to our infirmities, having assurance that we can be forgiven of our shortcomings;
  • We learn from the Lamb that God provided the lessons of personal non-resistance to evil, of suffering before glory and of patience and care for the less fortunate;
  • We admire and try to emulate his compassion and kindness to the needy;
  • However, in the gospels we see Jesus mainly concerned about delivering the principles of individual discipleship.

The whole counsel of God

But we need to appreciate that the Lord’s work didn’t stop with his ascension to heaven. He went on to establish ecclesias using the apostles. He carefully instructed them and later delivered to Paul and others detailed instructions about ecclesial life and its functional principles. This is why Paul often said about his writings, “I have received of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:23). Christ also distributed gifts that could be used to establish and guide ecclesias. This work of Christ is just as important as his work recorded in the gospels.

In the epistles written by Paul, John, Jude and Peter the Lord provided spirit-guided instruction from heaven itself. And finally, to properly comprehend the full and complete mind of Christ, we must understand the wonderful book of Revelation. Here we have the voice of the immortal Jesus speaking to us from heaven. The immortal Jesus, now vested with a full knowledge of the times and seasons, affords his full of authority in counselling, encouraging and rebuking the ecclesias in all ages. We get his perspective on every important subject he brings to our attention.

We note that in the Apocalypse the Lord addresses the ecclesias directly, both at the beginning and at the end (2:1; 22:16). We also note that Jesus reminds ecclesias frequently that he walks in their midst. He reminds the ecclesias repeatedly that “I know thy works” (e.g. 2:1). He did then and his concern for the ecclesias is certainly no less relevant today. In aligning ourselves with Jesus Christ we must take notice of the whole counsel of God and especially the Apocalypse.

The Apocalypse was not written for the uninformed world. It was addressed to us as “his servants” (1:1). As his bride we cannot afford to say that the book of Revelation is too complicated to understand. We must not be deterred by the incredible amount of historical details that are predicted—but rather take the assurance that because so much of it has already come to pass, then we have certainty about that which is yet future. Nor should we be deterred by the complexity of the various symbology we find here. They have been given by the Lord to convey history and exhortation to only his faithful and interested servants who have the necessary appreciation of Bible truth to unlock the code.

Just note what Jesus says to encourage us to explore his message. Twice he commended those who had wisdom and understanding (13:18; 17:9). In this way he is encouraging us to think. Are we interested to seek out the divine wisdom and inspiration that Jesus has concealed? We may reasonably struggle to remember all the details of fulfilled history, but the vital thing for us is to comprehend the perspective and the thinking of Christ as revealed in the Apocalypse.

The seven letters

These letters are here as a message to all generations of ecclesias. Some of the attitudes we find here are vitally important and they differ markedly from current worldly thinking which sees Jesus as tolerant and ready to embrace all comers. But each epistle stresses our Lord’s requirement for pure fellowship. He frequently condemns doctrinal error and spoke about teachings and behaviour “which things I hate” (2:6,15). This hatred is not personal, but it is an intense hatred of wrong religious belief and practice, because those deceitful doctrines lead his disciples away from saving Truth.

In these seven letters, ecclesias are commended for taking exclusive attitudes and for fighting the inroads of error(2:2; 3:8). This reminds us of that which makes us the chosen few of God’s people—our belief of the divine Truth that saves. We also note that Jesus condemns and warns those ecclesias who tolerate clear doctrinal error (2:14; 2:20). In fact, Jesus warns that he will act if they fail to act. He even uses the term “kill” (2:23)! He also warned the overly tolerant ecclesias that he will remove their lampstand if they refuse to change.

It is very sad that the concern and attitude of Jesus evidenced here—standing for Truth against error—is becoming increasingly unpopular in the post-modern age of tolerance which surrounds us today. We should carefully note this aspect of the Christ mind; this attitude to false religion and particularly towards the apostacy (3:9).

Witnessing servants

Christ’s servants continue the work of preaching despite all opposition. We see in the Apocalypse how often Jesus commends faithful witnessing (1:2,5,9; 3:14; 6:9; 11:3,7; 12:11; 20:4). His servants all had “the testimony of Jesus” (19:10). He commends, too, the prophets who faithfully stood for His words (22:9; 11:18).

When we review the visions of immortality graphically presented by our Lord, we find that the redeemed are described as being “with him…having his Father’s name written in their foreheads” (14:1). Their mental thinking processes are fully in harmony with the divine values of grace and truth. We are informed that they “were not defiled with women” (14:4, i.e. symbolically uncorrupted by false religion). They are “firstfruits,” begotten with the Word of Truth (James 1:17-18), teaching us that begettal by the knowledge of the one saving Truth matters! Moreover, as the Lord’s servants they “do his commandments” (22:14).

Marriage and warfare

The marriage of the Lamb will be a time of great rejoicing (19:7). All that preparation will have paid off. All that sacrifice and commitment will receive its due reward. Her raiment is clean and white because she has been accounted righteous before her bridegroom. But note that the next scene is one of intense warfare. The groom has girded his sword and is about to ride majestically against his enemies (Psa 45:3-5). With him are the faithful from all ages who willingly and whole-heartedly follow him into this battle.

We see their same collaboration against the European beast and horns (17:14). In that snapshot they are styled the “called, and chosen, and faithful.” We need to ask the question of ourselves: Will we be truly with him in his hatred of this abominable whore system? Will we be able to share that sentiment as the bride of Christ? Can we comfortably use the same terms today about Catholicism as Jesus did? He called it the great harlot, the whore system, the abomination of the earth, Great Babylon and a system having Names of Blasphemy. Some of our brethren who gave their lives in withstanding this corrupt religion will have no problem rejoicing in its fiery end.

Yet how incredible it is that some brothers and sisters today think that they can openly fellowship trinitarians, immortal-soul believers and those who reject the one saving gospel! How contrary that is to the bride’s full recognition that the warfare against all Christendom is “true and righteous” (19:2)! In its place they will preach the truth of the gospel to the whole world (14:6). It is likened to a pure river of the water of life, free from doctrinal impurities, offering salvation to all (22:1-7). No wonder there is a blessing for those who “keep the sayings of the prophecy of this book.”

Let us then consider the high priest of our profession today, and especially today see him as the immortal Son of God—given all authority. Remember, he is carefully observing the ecclesias and will soon come to reward all his faithful servants. What does our relationship with Christ entail today?

  • Holding fast to the Truth he came to represent;
  • Doing his commandments—sharing his values;
  • Loving righteousness and hating evil;
  • Restoring the lost—so fulfilling the law of Christ;
  • Sharing his sufferings patiently;
  • Being prepared to be hated by the world as he was;
  • Witnessing against evil and especially against false religion;
  • Being willing to lay down our lives for the brethren.

He which testifieth these things saith, “Surely I come quickly” (22:20). Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.