We created the Military Bible Challenge (MBC) to give readers basic training for reading the Bible—like the training you receive when entering the Military. These lessons will prepare you for a great transformation that will take place when you engage with God’s Word.
This program introduces you to different aspects of the Bible, with reading plans divided into five sections or “challenges.” Each day of the MBC contains a prayer for preparation, a short passage of Scripture, reflection questions, and a response prayer. This article will highlight a few accounts from each challenge.
To begin, we’ll be learning about the Great Commander: Jesus Christ. In the Bible, Jesus is often referred to as “Lord”, which means boss or Commander. This initial study, or first challenge, will help you journey through the life of Jesus, as it was recorded by those who witnessed it in the four Gospels of the Bible.
Go to militarybiblechallenge.net to see the full program at any time.
The Commander Arrives
The story of Jesus begins with the most humble of origins. He came into this world as a commoner, the son of a carpenter and his young wife. Upon their arrival to Bethlehem, Jesus was born in a manger where animals would feed as there was no room for them in the inn. Despite this, His coming was still announced by a multitude of angels to shepherds watching their flocks by night. A heavenly introduction to the world that the Commander certainly deserved!
Years later, Jesus went to John the Baptist to be baptized. John understandably was hesitant at first. He baptized those willing with water for repentance, knowing full well that Jesus was mightier than he. With Jesus’ insistence, he finally consented and baptized Jesus. Coming up from the water, the heavens opened again, and the Holy Spirit rested upon Him. And a voice said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Jesus’ commission was initiated.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit and committed to His Father’s will, Jesus would still find Himself led into the wilderness, where He would be tempted by the devil. Three times, the devil would tempt Jesus in an effort to lead Him astray—at one point, he (the devil) even used Scripture in an attempt to get Jesus to sin. Without hesitation and despite extreme hunger from 40 days of fasting, Jesus prevailed over the devil by recalling Scripture, the same Words given to us.
The Commander was ready to start His ministry.
The Call of a Few Good Men to the Hail and Farewell
Any good Commander needs loyal Warriors to lead into battle. Jesus was very specific in choosing His disciples and they came from all walks of life—from fishermen to tax collectors. Some of those disciples would become apostles meaning ones who are sent out on a specific mission. But even before they knew what that mission was, they followed Jesus—quite literally dropping what they were doing and leaving their old lives and occupations behind. They followed orders.
However, it was not only men to whom Jesus commanded obedience. While Jesus and the disciples were crossing the sea in boats, a great windstorm arose shaking the disciples to the core. They actually had to wake Jesus in a panic who was asleep at the stern. Rebuking the wind and the sea, Jesus said, “Peace! Be Still!” And it was so. The disciples were fearfully amazed, wondering who this Commander was that even the seas obeyed Him! Surely, if they had ever questioned His authority before, any doubts at this point were probably extinguished.
Throughout His ministry, Jesus performed many miracles, healed the sick (even raised a man from the dead), and taught the people about the will of His Father. Yet He knew the end of HIs time on earth was near and there was one last mission to complete—His death. The Commander Himself also had orders to follow from above and He intended to carry them out.
While celebrating the Passover, a Jewish holy time remembering their deliverance as a nation, when a lamb was sacrificed for the forgiveness of sins, Jesus shared bread and drank wine with His disciples. Though they didn’t understand it then, this memorial meal would come to represent the body He gave and the blood he shed on the cross. The Commander would not only sacrifice Himself for His troops, but for the deliverance of all people of all nations for all time.
Selfless Service Carried Through to Mission Accomplished
After being betrayed by one of His very own disciples, Jesus was arrested by soldiers sent by the high priest of His own people and faith group. He would eventually be sent to the Roman governor, Pilate. Despite Pilate’s best efforts to free Jesus—having found no fault in Him—the chief priests and officers demanded that Jesus be crucified because He undermined their corrupt power structure.
At no time during these events did Jesus beg for mercy from Pilate or the crowd. Jesus even told his disciples prior to His arrest that He could have called out to God the Father and 12 legions of angels would have been sent to rescue Him. The ultimate air support. He instead followed through with His mission and was crucified, selflessly completing His mission by making the ultimate sacrifice.
In order for Jesus’ mission to be accomplished He really had to physically die and be raised from the grave just as He said He would. Appearing to His disciples again, this time in triumph over death, Jesus bestowed upon them the Holy Spirit, equipping them for their final marching orders.
Following the Commander’s Example: Our Marching Orders
Before ascending to heaven, Jesus gave His disciples final marching orders, also known as the Great Commission. After reiterating His authority on heaven and earth, Jesus commanded the apostles to make disciples of all nations. It was time to train new recruits. But along with these new orders, reinforcements would always be at hand. On top of being supplied aid by the Holy Spirit, the Commander Himself promised to be with them to the end of the age.
Jesus Christ is an incredible example of leadership to follow—one of honor, courage, love, and self-sacrifice. Despite the power and authority given to Him as the Son of God, He came to serve and to save. The best leaders know how to serve those under them as they work toward completing their mission.
To read more about Jesus the Commander, get started with the Military Bible Challenge today. Each challenge also includes an audio file if you’d prefer to listen along. As you pray, read, reflect, and respond, you’ll find yourself growing closer to God as you understand who He is and how He cares for us.
We at Armed Services Ministry provide and ship Bibles and Scripture-resources to the military-connected at no cost to them. Many of our resources and programs are available online. Find it all at: armedservicesministry.org.
“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’”
Isaiah 41:13 (ESV)