Recently I have been struck by how often my problems are solved by ‘looking’ to Jesus and focussing my heart and mind upon him. Over the past few years a concern of mine has been to strive to be more Christ- centred. That sounds strange from a Christian I guess, but it seems to me there has been a subtle shift towards being God-centred in modern day conservative evangelicalism that is for want of a better way of putting it…leaving behind Christ.
So we will talk about God until the cows come home, but we are less happy to talk about Jesus. We will preach the Old Testament and we will make only concluding remarks about how all this refers to Jesus if the congregation are fortunate enough. We will talk about our walk with God and how our relationship with God is doing and all the time Christ is getting very little mention. And we forget how the pulpits of our land have for centuries had incribed upon them the words of sober reminder to the preacher of his task ‘Sir, we would see Jesus.’
Which is odd, considering that faith in Christ is necessary to be saved and have eternal life. ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…’ Matthew 14:6. It is also odd because Christ says ‘If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink’ John 7:37, ‘Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ Odd given the fact we are spiritually grafted into Christ as believers, ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.’ John 15:5. And odd given that Christ says that ‘all things have been committed to me by my Father’ Matthew 11:27.
Then there is the matter of the scriptures. Who are they actually about? Christ seems pretty insistent that the scriptures testify specifically to him: ‘And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning himself.’ Luke 24:27 In other words his Old Testament exposition was rather, well, him focussed! (Then there is the matter of the object of true saving faith in the Old Testament which we will come back to another day. We learn it has always been Christ. Who else and how else? 1 Corinthians 10:1-4.)
Now there are of course grounds for talking about the Trinity as ‘god’ in general terms. The Apostle Paul does so after all. As ever there are dangers of throwing the baby out with the bath water. But let us be clear we are talking about an entirely different ‘god’ to the philosophers of this age and be concerned as to how far we have strayed! Let us remember that God is unknown and invisible apart from in Christ Jesus. He is ‘the image of the invisible God’ Colossians 1:15. We don’t stand together with other monotheistic religions because Christ is the only revelation of God.
So this is a plea to be Christ-centred and not just God- centred. He is the one who Colossians tells us everything was created by and for, which is a serious claim. Seriously amazing! So lets be more for Jesus. As we talk Jesus in evangelism people will see how it is they are to be saved, as we meditate more on Christ we will become less introvert and more amazed by the gospel as we see the one who has justified us at the cross and is our righteousness. As we meditate more on Christ, we will come to know more about the Biblical God who reveals himself in the face of Christ.
As one hymn writer put it:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.