The Extremist I Follow
"Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." Ephesians 5:2
The culture today is very opposed to extremist ideologies of any kind. But, as a follower of Jesus, I find His teaching to be most extreme of all, a beautiful radical, the epitome of all that is good and glorious. Following are just a few of the wonderful extreme teachings of Jesus:
Extreme Love - Jesus teaches us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:43-45). He teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 19:19; Matthew 22:39). He teaches us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and soul (Matthew 22:37). And, He teaches there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends (John 15:13).
Extreme Mercy - Jesus demonstrated mercy by healing every single person who asked for healing. He raised the dead. In the Sermon on the Mount, He taught us that those who were merciful would also be blessed to receive mercy (Matthew 5:7). He told us that He desires mercy rather than sacrifice (Matthew 9:13). And, most merciful of all is the fact that when we repent of our sin and turn to Him, we are no longer condemned, and we receive life forever with Him (John 3:16-17).
Extreme Forgiveness - Jesus teaches us that if we forgive others, He will also forgive us. But, if we do not forgive others, our Heavenly Father will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). Most extreme is the way He forgives us. Jesus doesn't remember our sin when we repent of it and ask for forgiveness--not ever. When He forgives, our sin never comes up again (Hebrews 8:12; Hebrews 10:17). He removes our sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
Extreme Sacrifice - Jesus sacrificed His life for each and every one of us. Jesus gave His life voluntarily as a sacrifice for your sins and my sins. This sacrifice was also an act of ultimate love. It's not something we deserve or could ever earn. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
Extreme Obedience - Jesus taught even the wind and sea to obey Him (Mark 4:41)!
Extreme Generosity - Jesus gives us life itself! He gives beyond anything we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). He gives the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And, He teaches us in 2 Corinthians 9:11, "You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God."
I've found something else extreme that happens when we follow the teachings of Jesus. We experience extreme peace and extreme joy!
If we all followed this extremist, what a beautiful world it would be.