“Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17
The Lord Jesus Christ rebuked the disciples after His Resurrection: “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:25). In another appearance, He said, “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24:44).
Time has proven Jesus right about the promises of the Bible. The whole world and our Saint Lucia are burdened with anxieties about rising crime, wars, immoralities, corruptions across every level of society. Have a look at the prophecies and teachings of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans 1:18-32 and his second letter to Timothy 3:1-5. The Prophets of the Old Testament, the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles all speak to the present state of our world.
But as dire as these prophecies are, they are balanced by the good news, the Gospel of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Repentance and forgiveness of sins are still preached in His Name to all nations. Faithful witnesses still proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, the great Saviour the world needs. At the central heart of the Gospel is the Person of the Living Christ.
Christ Jesus is the proof that our universe is governed by a real, personal God. He is not some vague, benevolent, impersonal Force as imagined by the Star Wars movies. Man is not destined for some Nirvana free of self-conscious personality. The Creator is not an eccentric clock-maker who left the world to run on its own. The theories of chance and nuclear, cosmic reactions that compose the ideas of evolution belong more to science fiction than theology. The Bible presents a God Who is a loving, wise, providing, merciful Father. And it presents Christ Jesus as the Creator Who has come into His creation. A creation fallen into sin, rebellion, great trouble and in need of salvation. The Creator has come as its Saviour.
Biblical Christianity is faith in a personal, living God and Saviour. After all the quarrels over theologies and denominational doctrines, the quality of our faith depends on a relationship with the living Christ. His Resurrection from the tomb after incomprehensible suffering changes everything for mankind and creation. The centre of the Biblical Christian faith is not in the Church, in theological interpretations, in charismatic leaders, in personal feelings. Jesus taught: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35). As the Good Shepherd, He gives His sheep “eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28).
Jesus has exclusive authority over the Kingdom of God and all creation. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” (Matthew 28:18). To argue against such an absolute declaration, which is supported by many other texts throughout the Bible, is to take a position of unbelief and rejection of Christ. He still presents Himself controversially as “the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6). Texts like these are eternally fixed foundation stones of the Biblical Christian faith.
The Lord Jesus Christ, Living Person, God with us, must be at the centre of our faith in God. The believing Christian is called to die to self-centredness, distractions of the world (now increasingly available through hand-held virtual devices), to the seductions of Satan who is a real angelic being, the epitome of evil, the devil. The professing believer is to live completely for Christ. Jesus “died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15).
The Bible presents Jesus Christ of Nazareth as Immanuel, God Incarnate, Deity in the flesh, the Son of Man. Still an amazing proposition if you think about it, past religious jargon, easy-beliefism, racialized Christendom, denominational confusions, other religious beliefs. The faithful Church from the beginning, on the authority of Scripture, teaches that He is the source of all life and hope beyond failure and death. “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:4). When one does not know, forgets under distractions or false teaching who He is, then one drifts into idolatry, religious ceremony and meaningless, emotional ritual, wastes energy in the politricks of denominational divisiveness, flirts with false religions, looks to economics, entertainment and politics for answers to our spiritual lives they cannot provide.
On the authority of Scripture, we know that Jesus Christ “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” This amazing passage of such revelation goes on to assert, “God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:15-19). And based on such revelation, the Apostle Paul, looking to the future of our world and creation, writes to the Ephesian church (and to us today) that “in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He (the Father) might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him.” (Ephesians 1:10). What good news! What hope we can have, even in the midst of the darkness of our world fallen, as in the days of Noah, into great violence and corruption!
Christians grow weak and careless when they do not live as if they know who this Jesus of the Bible is. Often it can be said of the visible church, “These people honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.” (Matthew 15:8). Many seem more interested in “trampling down Satan,” social media scandals of the moment, political partisanships, personal quarrels and grudges. And as recognisable church members, they are poor witnesses of the great glory of Christ and all the mighty promises associated with Him. Indeed, the visible church that professes faith in the living Person of the Risen, Reigning and Returning Christ is in need of repentance.
Jesus Christ is the “cornerstone” of the house of God, the Church. He is its only Head. He is Deity Incarnate, the Creator, the Saviour. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).