Jesus: Something More Than Your Personal Savior
Jesus died for me. Do you agree?
Say it aloud with me: “Jesus died for me!”
It’s wonderful! It’s comforting! I’ve heard it all my life. But there is a problem with this statement.
Wait! What do you just say pastor?!?
There is a problem. You see, this statement stops. It stops way too short. We say “Jesus died for me” as if that is all Jesus did. And the truth is this: Jesus died for so much more than you or me.
Now, I am beyond grateful that Jesus died for me. That truth changed my life long ago and continues to change me as God works salvation out in my life every moment of every day.
But if I am content to begin and end my faith journey with Jesus died for me, then I am missing the point:
I am missing the point of God word throughout the entire Bible!
I am missing the point of what God did through the act of creation.
I am missing the point of God’s work in the world.
I am missing the point of God sending Jesus, his son, to the world.
I am missing the point of salvation.
I am missing the point of love.
People talk about being saved: Jesus died for me. And I have accepted him as my personal savior. And so now I am saved. She is saved. You should get saved. We make these statements as if salvation is something we own and possess. Maybe as a child as I am taking my first steps into faith and belief and following Christ, that is appropriate and makes sense. But it represents a faith that has not matured or grown up.
It’s like learning the first 5 letters of the alphabet and being content with that for the rest of your life. Assuming that every word you need comes from those first five letters.
ABCDE – lots of great words: Dad, Bad, Bed, Dead, Bead, Deed, Ace, Be, Ad, cede, decade, babe
But there are so many others letters that make so many thousands more words. Letters that turn Be into become. Letters that turn Ace into Grace. Letters that turn Dead into Live and Love. Letters that turn Bad into Good.
Faith cannot stop at its first steps just as no child can be content to wobble through life as they do in their first steps. We have to learn to run and skip and hop and dance!!
So yes, Jesus died for me. Say it with me: JESUS DIED FOR ME!
And brothers and sisters, that is only the beginning. There is so much more!
You see, when you take the next step from Jesus died for me. You get to Jesus died for you. And you. And you. And Jesus died for him and her. And Jesus died for Americans and Africans and Asians. And Jesus died for people of the US and for the people of Mexico and Guatemala and China and Russia. And Jesus died for rich and poor. Jesus died for young and old. Jesus died for the righteous and the unrighteous. Jesus died for people who live like us and people who do not. Jesus died for people who agree with me and people who do not. Jesus died for people, yes, and Jesus died for the world, for creation, for the whole universe….including plants and animals and bugs and birds and earth and sky and deserts and rivers and cities and fields and mountains and valleys and stars and planets (good Lord if there is life out there beyond this earth, then Jesus certainly died for those lives just as he died for our lives!
Ok, Pastor, that is starting to sound a little far out there. That’s not what we were taught in Sunday School. That’s not what all those TV preachers have been saying all these years.
Well, maybe so and maybe not. Hear me out. Scripture says this:
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. (2 Cor 5:17-19)
As Ephesians 1:8-10 says, that God’s plan through Christ is to gather up all things in heaven and on earth. – Not just me or you or this nation or that nation or these people or those people or this part of earth, but all the earth and all the heavens!!
And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:22-23)
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)
In multiple places scripture teaches us that God is about the reconciliation of ALL THINGS. Not just this me thing or this you thing. Or just these things or those things. Not just things that agree. Not just things that believe this or things that believe that. God is all about ALL THINGS!
And the way this all fits together for you and me is mind blowing. You see, God sent Jesus to reconcile, to bring together, to hold together, to witness to, to save all things. And you, little ol’ you, are a part of all things. You, the tiny little you that exists in the midst of the entire universe God created are part of all things. This thing that God is doing, you are invited to be a part of it. You get to be part of all things. You and me, and these and those, and us and them, and the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees, even the starts in the sky and the moon up above – we all get to be a part of this thing God calls love – the salvation of ALL THINGS.
And how is God doing it: through Jesus. That is who Jesus is. He is the one God sent to reconcile all things, to save all things.
Yes, Jesus is your personal savior, and something so much more than that. And in the midst of the work of bringing together all things, Jesus has invited you, all that you are, just as God created you to be. You are welcome to the party that is salvation. You are a guest of Jesus Christ.
I want to close with a word about this party. We have a name for it. And we have these party games that we have been given to play and practice, both for our enjoyment and to challenge us to get better and better at. The party is called church. The party games are singing and praying and preaching and listening and sharing and serving and witnessing and testifying and offering and encouraging. And the climax of the party is this thing which shows us exactly what the party is about – bringing all things together. It’s called communion. The sharing with one another the goodness of Jesus’ life.
Communion is the story of Jesus – his life, death and sacrifice.
Communion is a a play we perform each week about bringing all things together.
Communion is open. Everyone is invited. All you have to do is accept the invitation.
Communion is not just about you or me. It is about us all – all things being brought together.
Communion is about people being brought together around a table. It’s about bringing people together with earth and stars and rain through food and drink.
Communion is not just about you and me and Jesus our personal savior. It is about Jesus bringing all things together. And the beauty of Communion is that in the gigantic midst of all things, there is a seat at the table for you and me. It is both personal and all encompassing. Both individual and communal. Communion is an act with is about both reconciling you and reconciling all things through Jesus body and blood.
So come to the table, open your heart, open your mind, receive the call of Christ to be reconciled to all things, and give thanks that little ole you is part of God’s universe-wide plan…because Jesus is so much more than just your personal savior!