Just Jesus Please

Every Fall, our teaching team at church meets to pray and brainstorm about the message series for the upcoming year. This past October, we each wrote down what we thought might be important topics, and then we shared them with each other. One theme emerged this year from all five people around the table: the desire to talk more about Jesus – the historical, radical, confusing and redeeming person we know as Lord and Savior and Friend. So, beginning just before Easter, we are going to spend several weeks on Jesus. As Ruth Bell Graham once said, “Just give me Jesus!”

 I’ve begun ruminating and talking with others about Jesus, and I think many people feel confused about Him, and some have decided to throw Him out all together.  There are many things that challenge, confuse and even sometimes anger me about Jesus too. Like why did he heal some but not all? Why hasn’t he returned yet? Is he really the only way to God? Why did he so often teach in parables?

On the flip side, I keep returning to some things I like about Jesus:

  • Jesus was always a redeemer and healer; his trajectory in relating with others was toward their growth and wellbeing.
  • He noticed and cared for the oppressed and/or those who were unrecognized or under-valued (e.g. fisherman, women, tax collectors, children).
  • He taught with authority and creativity, and he mentored in close proximity.
  • He honored tradition but also breathed fresh air/new life into what had become a system of rules.
  • He gave people hope that things could be different – in this life and the next. He then exemplified this with his own death and resurrection. The greatest tragedy and injustice was turned inside out. This gives me hope that even the most terrible circumstances may have surprising ends.
  • He is a picture to me of “God with us,” Emmanuel. Because of his life, I have a clearer vision of my own purpose to be an extension of God-with-us to others.
  • Scripture tells me I can be clothed in his righteousness and when God looks at me, he actually sees me through the righteousness of Christ.

Whether you are presently angry with Jesus, confused by him, enamored with him, or just plain curious, I hope you will find the upcoming series helpful. Jesus’ invitation is always, “Come,” and the Platt Park teaching team would love to have you come and join us as we study and dialogue together.

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