“I find Jesus!”

biblescroll

Today Heidi and I were sitting on the couch together. We were enjoying some mostly quiet reading time. I sat with my Bible, a notepad and a pen. Heidi sat with her little Bible, a couple of library books and some crayons. After making sure she had stopped drawing in the library books (again) we actually enjoyed a few minutes of sitting quietly and reading together. It was quite lovely. As her attention span waned I began thinking of a few things she could do to be a little more entertained.

“Why don’t you try and find Jesus? Where is he?” I said, as she sat with her picture Bible. And so she sat, looking at the pages of her Bible, where most of the very cartoony characters looked quite similar. “I find Jesus!” she yelled, as she looked at the story of Moses. “Here’s Jesus!” she said, pointing at Noah. And so on it went. Just about every page had a man with a brown beard in it, and so, each page had the required exclamation. I laughed a little and went along with it. ‘Yes, he looks like Jesus, doesn’t he?” I replied just a few times.

And then I stopped and thought. I had just been reading through the first couple of chapters of Romans. In Paul’s introduction he writes,

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God – the gospel he promised beforehand though his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord”. (NIV Rom 1:1-4)

The meta-narrative of Salvation throughout the Bible comes to a climax in the gospels where Jesus is finally revealed as the Son of God, and the final part of God’s plan for the salvation of his people. The Old Testament stories, the well known ones, the obscure moments, and the somewhat¬†dry parts – they are all there to direct us to Christ, whether obvious or not. To illuminate our desperate need for Him, and His absolute ability to meet our needs powerfully and more wonderfully than we could have ever imagined.

Jesus is on each page of the Bible. When we hear of Noah and the Ark, we can see Noah’s obedience to God and follow his example. But we can also see God’s desire for righteousness, and for his people. When we read of Moses and the Israelites in Exodus, we can see the story of a God who brings deliverance to his people. When we read of Jonah finally obeying God and heading to Nineveh, we can see God’s compassion and patience – both towards Nineveh and Jonah. And so on it goes. Each character, page, moment of the Scripture is leading us toward Christ.

When we meet the Jesus in the gospels, we also meet righteousness. We find deliverance. We experience God’s compassion and learn of His patience towards us. So it seemed quite fitting today for Heidi to point to each page of her little picture Bible and say, “I find Jesus!” ¬†Because He is there.

A Timely Reminder

This morning Paul had a friend come over, like he does each Tuesday morning, to chat, read the Bible and pray together. I was in bed and then pottering around the house as they met. At one point I overheard Paul’s mate Blair say something like, “No one has said to me, ‘Remember what Jesus has done for for you!'” And by that simple sentence I was struck.

Remember what Jesus has done for you’.

Don’t forget the most important thing! In a bid to be better Christians, better people, we often are addressing one issue or another, learning about something we can or should be doing, and maybe reading a few different articles on areas we want to work on. We must remember that being a Christian isn’t about moving upwards toward heaven on our own self-help ladder. ‘The nicer you are, the higher you are!’ Should not be a slogan that represents who we are. We must indeed remember that it is Jesus Christ himself who has done more for us than we could ever do for ourselves.

Romans 3:22-24 says,

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

It is only because of Christ that we are able to come before God with a righteousness that we never had before. I can’t read books by even the best evangelical theologians and be made right. Even reading the Bible doesn’t change my status before God, although the Word is powerful to change and convict. It is actually Jesus who changes my life. And I need to be reminded of this much more than I am.

Doubts Are Irritatingly Persistent

I have doubts that rear their ugly heads every now and then. The main one for me is not a doubt so much about who God is, but that He is real at all. Can this be real? Can it all be true? What if I’m wrong? But I find that these doubts come more frequently when I have not been looking to Jesus, and remembering what he has done.

Encourage One Another

We must exhort one another with the truth. I know my conversations at church, or with Christian friends can be full of catching up on the past week, life, kids, upcoming church events, you name it! But meaning, and a desire to share, encourage and value the truth together is often absent. I can’t remember when I last said to someone, But remember what Jesus has done for you’.

When we look to Christ, more often than not, perspectives on other things become clearer. Suddenly it doesn’t matter so much that my life isn’t perfect, or that things are not always easy. Because eternal things are the things that matter the most. And Christ himself has sorted that out for me.

And so I want to encourage you to simply remember what Christ has done for you. And perhaps ask a friend to do the same. And may we all thank and praise Christ as we dwell on the magnitude of his service, sacrifice and love to us.