Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's all about Jesus. Or is it?

While surfing the net looking for churches, I came across a widely known church's website. Very well done graphics and organization for the most part. Unfortunately, it was difficult to find anything that described what they believed except for an oft-repeated refrain, "It's all about Jesus." Not very helpful really. I mean, that's like motherhood and apple pie, right?

Is it really all about Jesus? I know that at first blush, who could argue with such a statement? And I admit that as far as it goes, it's an OK statement. But not in the absence of any amplifying descriptions. As some of you may have noticed, I get a little concerned when folks want me to believe it's all about anything, and this is no exception.

Let's get the obligatory disclaimers out of the way up front. I am a disciple, I accept Jesus as the divine Son of God and savior of the world. I understand that his coming and death were pre-ordained by God. I understand the expectation that people are called to believe in him.

From a human perspective, the Scriptures we have and pay most attention to certainly make it seem like it's all about Jesus. Paul even says that the Gospel he preaches is Christ, so clearly Jesus plays a pretty big role in whatever is going on. Jesus removed our sins, having remained faithful even through death, and that if we have seen Jesus, we have seen the Father. So far, so good.

Sounds like it might be all about Jesus.

OK, take a breath.

Turn the table around and look at what's going on from God's view. The picture changes considerably. God made you to live in this world and enjoy it; he wants you live in the fullness of your making and being. 

When Paul uses the term Christ, the term is not synomomous with the person Jesus. The title of Christ is heavy with implications and one of those is where this Christ comes in the foreknowledge and plan of God. Knowing that people were going to fail to live with a desire for God, God's intent of sending Jesus to restore all things to their rightful state was always the plan. Messiah is intended as a blessing for people more than a payment for guilt.

When Jesus says he and the Father are one, he does so to make the point that he has revealed God to people. In fact, Jesus' life is an intentional unveiling of God for the benefit of the creation. 

OK, take another breath.

What does history look like from God's side of the table? It looks a whole lot like there is not inconsiderable interest in you. Everything God has done from creation to the sacrifice of Jesus and the sending of the Holy Spirit is for your benefit. God doesn't need you, and he doesn't need to die for you after living a humble and often humiliating life.

But he did.

All of it for you.

Is it about Jesus? Yes; but it's also about you.

Remember, God loves you.

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