Posted by: Jonathan Stepp | September 25, 2008

Jesus is the Answer

First: one of my favorite Jesus jokes. A Sunday school teacher is sharing a lesson with her class of kids and they are well trained – they know Jesus is the answer. To illustrate a particular point she tries to get the kids to imagine some woodland creatures, so she starts by saying “what’s furry, gray, and eats acorns?” A small boy immediately replies “I know the answer is Jesus but it sure sounds a like a squirrel to me!”

Most Christians believe Jesus is the answer to our problems, but what does that mean?

A large portion of Christian teaching through the centuries has centered on encouraging us to imitate Jesus’ behavior. In this scheme Jesus is the answer because he shows us how to behave (how to act, how to treat others, how to do ministry) and if we will imitate his behavior we’ll be okay.

One problem comes immeditately to mind: Jesus did some pretty difficult stuff! His behavior was perfect, he walked on water, and he raised the dead, just to name three. Imitating Jesus could prove quite difficult. We might even get burned out trying to study Jesus and act like him.

Maybe when we say “Jesus is the answer” we need to mean that quite literally. He, personally, in himself is the answer. Not him plus us. Not him plus our imitation. Just him.

How might that look? Well, here’s one example: one big question in our lives might be “how do I get to heaven.” Some people would say “imitate Jesus”. Others would say “Jesus + your faith = heaven”.

But I think the answer is simply “Jesus.” He, himself, is how you get to heaven. After all, the scripture says that we all exist in him (Col. 1:17, Acts 17:28) and therefore when he ascended to heaven he carried us with him to the right hand of his Father (Eph. 2:6, Col. 3:1-3).

Our role is not to imitate Jesus so that we can ascend to heaven. Nor is our role to add something to Jesus’ work in order to make it complete and qualify ourselves for heaven.

Our role is simply to believe that Jesus is the answer. He has gone to heaven and taken us with him (Rom. 5:18, Col. 1:20) and we need to trust that he is who he says he is, and he has done with humanity what he says he has done with us.

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Responses

  1. Our role is not to imitate Jesus so that we can be assured of reaching heaven. We are commanded, however, to be imitators of Jesus so that the world around us can see Jesus in us. It may in turn help others get to heaven. We cannot perfectly imitate him by walking on water or making the lame walk, but Paul tells us to have the mind in us that Christ had. We must love those that are hard to love, give with not thought of self, and seek God’s will in every decision. We can do none of these things perfectly; but we must do them.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Clark. I would be interested in knowing what you mean when you say we “must do them.” I generally think of a “must” or a “command” as having consequences attached. For example, what do you think the consequences would be if all we did was be happy that we are raised up to heaven in Jesus?

  3. Thanks Jonathan, Great response.

    We always seem to have to add some kind of “must” to our part in the Salvanic reality in Jesus Christ. Check out my current blog on the subject. Just click on Pastor Paul above in the Blog Roll. And, Happy clicking.

    Paul

  4. Thanks for the comment, Paul – I definitely recommend your blog to everyone, check it out, it’s great!


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