By Stephen Nelson
Jesus is the subject. Yes, a recurring theme on my blog, in my social media feed, in my sermons, and in my conversations. This is because this has become the constant theme of my life. It’s Easter weekend, and our senses are more in-tune with Jesus. It brings to mind questions about empires, crucifixion, and the resurrection. And also, are Jesus and the Easter Bunny friends? And, why do bunnies lay multi-colored eggs once a year?
So, here are just a few thoughts on why Jesus matters to me.
Jesus shines Light that awakens me.
Light brings clarity and understanding. Light gives a sense of security and makes the path forward clear. Light reveals things that are hidden.
Jesus refers to himself as “the Light of the world.” My experience has been that he brings all the aforementioned qualities of light into my life as I journey. As I say, “OK, Jesus. You lead, I’ll follow,” he awakens and enlightens me.
To his followers, Jesus also says, “You are the light of the world.” Not simply individual lights, but collective light. Where Jesus is, there is clarity and understanding, and there is unity. I need this. My guess is that you probably do, too.
Jesus is a friend of sinners.
This is good news! This is THE good news!
As shocking as it may be, I haven’t always been a pastor. I haven’t always been a follower of Jesus. You may be just as shocked to discover that, even as I have been journeying with Jesus, I have had moments where I have (gasp) sinned.
Jesus desires relationship that isn’t based on what he wants from you and me, but what he wants for you and me. Love. Hope. Joy. Holiness. Life!
Jesus is a friend of sinners. The New Testament is filled with stories that show this to be true (for example, Matthew 9:9–13). A lot of religious folks of Jesus’ day weren’t very happy that Jesus was a friend of sinners. But I’ve found that there’s something about Jesus that says, “Come on, it can be different! Different for you, and different from you!” Jesus is a friend of sinners; so am I.
Jesus is my story.
Is following Jesus about him entering my story, or me entering his? Or, is it possible that this journey we call salvation/sanctification is about all of our stories becoming one with his?
Jesus told stories. He told great stories. This is how he taught others about the kingdom of God. He didn’t reduce things to mathematics: “The kingdom of God is like 2 + 2 = 4.” Jesus used narrative parables, spoken in time and space, conveying eternal the principles of redemption in a fluid manner. Jesus looked around and his surroundings, and the people around him, and he conveyed truth found everywhere, in everything.
I pray, “Lord, help me see the beauty of your kingdom in the everyday.” I love seeing Jesus in the middle of my story, bringing hope, love, joy, holiness, and truth in and through my life, as I play with my kids, work in my garden, listen to the music I enjoy, work out, do the shopping, eat meals, engage in conversations…everywhere!
Every day is a new chapter. Every day is an opportunity to learn from my experience, so I can tell my story…his story. Jesus is the subject. I am a verb. All of this to say, when Jesus is the subject, everything else is subject to Jesus.
Stephen Nelson serves as lead pastor of Awaken Church in Natchitoches, Louisiana.