Sometimes we have to be all things to all people so that we might save some, to quote Paul. But, at the end of the day, it’s about Jesus. The Christian thing…it’s about Jesus. He’s the start and the finish, the beginning and the end.
I enjoyed reading the Nicene Creed at my consecration service into the Order of Saint Leonard last night. When it got to one of the lines, I cheated! You see, it goes like this ‘was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate’. There you have it…the whole life of Jesus abbreviated into one comma, as someone once said. And I could see it coming, it was annoying me already so whilst everyone was pausing for breath between ‘Mary’ and ‘Pilate’ my heart was crying out ‘AND HE LIVED’.
Salvation is clinched on the cross. Sanctification is worked by the Spirit. His death is vital, but His life is the pattern for our lives and we need to enter into it.
How? We enter into the ‘Sign of Jonah’. Jesus said it was the only sign he was going to give them. Basically, you need to die to yourself. You need to enter his suffering and so somehow, somehow, to attain resurrection from the dead. You go into the belly of the whale, you wallow there, until you’re spat out to be the messenger of the Lord God and even then God’s work of transformation continues.
We’re still too nice in the church with the gospel. We lower the bar of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. ‘Turn up and you’ll do!’ Nah. I mean, you’ll do, come as you are by all means. But let’s not sit in church our whole lives and never get to the stage of surrender, repentance, faith in Jesus, transformation by the Holy Spirit and a commitment to living the life of discipleship. Let’s not be content with a message of pie in the sky when we die but recognise that to follow Jesus is to follow every day all the way ’til Kingdom come. All the way. As someone else says, the dust from our Rabbi’s feet should be in our faces because we are following so close.
Jesus said if you want to come after me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. Paul said if you want to know the power of the resurrection, you share in the suffering and allow the mystery to be worked out in you and you change from one shade of glory to the next.
Forgive me, forgive any ‘Christian speaker’, who has ever failed to let you hear that message. It is all about Jesus. In Him we find the key to life, both here and in the world to come. It’s all about Jesus.