Encounters With Jesus cover image

Encounters With Jesus

We are currently doing a sermon series in our Sunday meetings called, ‘Encounters with Jesus’, looking at some of the people who encountered Jesus in Matthews Gospel.

One of Freddie Mercury’s songs, contains the following verse:

There must be more to life than this

there must be more to life than this

I live and hope for a world filled with love

Then we can all just live in peace

there must be more to life, much more to life,

There must be more to life, more to life than this.[1]

Many people surely share the sentiment Freddie Mercury expresses - longing for there to be more to life than this, hoping for a world filled with love, a world where we can all just live in peace!

‘We live at a time when some insist that we don’t need any such answers, that we should admit that life is just meaningless busywork in the grand scheme of the universe and leave it at that. While you are alive, they say, just try to enjoy yourself as much as you can, and when you are dead, you won’t be around to worry about it. So why bother trying to find the meaning of life?

However, the French philosopher Luc Ferry (who, by the way, is in no way a Christian himself), in his book, A brief History of Thought, says that such statements are “too brutal to be honest”. He means that people who make them cannot really believe them all the way down in their hearts. People cannot live without hope or meaning or without a conviction that something are more worth doing with our lives than others.’[2]

Some might think that Christianity is all about following certain rules or living a certain way. While there is teaching and wisdom to be found on the bible on how to live, that is not primarily the point. What if there is a God who wants to meet our deepest longings? Who longs to give us meaning and purpose? Who longs for us to know what it is to be accepted and loved?

In this new series, Encounters with Jesus, we are going to see that Jesus is not just a great teacher or leader, he is the Saviour. Offering a way for us to know what it is to be loved and accepted by God, to be given meaning and purpose. The Christian message offers a way for us to be changed not by what we do, but by what Jesus has done. Unashamedly the focus of the talks in this series is not on the people who encounter Jesus, but on Jesus himself!

As we look at stories of people who encountered Jesus recorded in Matthew’s gospel over 2000 years ago, we will be asking questions like: How, centuries later, can I encounter Jesus? Can I be changed, as some of those who encounter Jesus were changed?

Whether we have known Jesus a long time or just here today out of curiosity, the bible teaches that everyone needs to encounter Jesus, not just once, but to keep encountering him, growing in knowledge and experience of him. Discovering as part of our everyday reality that he can satisfy our deepest longings and desires.

Book Recommendation:

There is a book that I would highly recommend reading as we go through this series: ‘Encounters with Jesus’, by church leader and writer Tim Keller, (no prizes for guessing where we got the idea for our series from). His book helped us with the concept for the series and covers similar content, although we are looking at different people and passages of scripture from those covered in his book.

[1] Written by Freddie Mercury, first released on 1985 album - ‘Mr Bad Guy’, Columbia records.

[2] Tim Keller’s book, Encounters with Jesus