It’s All About Jesus*

This last Easter I went to a church service  and read their literature, which stated:picture-4Now very quickly, I want to say that with particulars of this church are irrelevant and I will go ahead and say that I don’t disagree that it is “all about Jesus.” But here are some things I have been pondering.

  • If it really is all about Jesus, why did Jesus himself say: “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing“. Should we also be concerned with what the “Father is doing.” Maybe Jesus is the model for this?
  • How come we never hear “It’s all about the Father“?
  • For a period of 3 years Jesus walked with his disciples. If it was really all about him, why did he say that it was actually to their “advantage” that he leave? In another version he states that it is actually “better for (them) that he (left)” because it would introduce the power of the Holy Spirit. Are we to take this literally?
  • Why don’t we say “It’s all about the Holy Spirit“? Why are churches that say that full of nuts?

I think I understand what people mean when they say “It’s all about Jesus”. In fact the after text clarifies: “it’s not about politics or power, trends or tolerance” the list can go on. The person hood of God needs to remain central.

From my own story, I feel like I need to repent for taking this too far. For me Jesus was much more graspable and making it all about Him, was as much about centralizing Him as it was de-centralizng the role of the Holy Spirit or even God the Father. At it’s core, I feel like my life and the Church is “all about Jesus”. BUT, I no longer feel at liberty to stop there. It is also all about the Father. AND It is also all about the Holy Spirit. Now I need to work on what it means to actually believe that, and not just say it.

Anyone else have a similar experience?

Do you think that there is any danger on labeling the church or christianity as “all about Jesus”?

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24 thoughts

  1. I think it would be better said that it is all about the Gospel. The Gospel includes all parts of the trinity.
    I think an over emphasis on “it’s all about Jesus” can lead to forgetting about the Old Testament.
    The whole bible is the story of the gospel and God’s redemptive plan for mankind and how this brings glory to God.

    I totally agree with you that there is an over emphasis on Jesus. It seems weird almost blasphemous to say that, because can we really over emphasize Jesus? However, I think people do have a faulty view on who the triune Godhead is. People seem to emphasize Jesus, include the Father, and not really know the Holy Spirit at all. It is sad because God’s redemptive work in us is nothing without the complete Godhead.

    I was just thinking about how when I pray I pray to Jesus and the Father, but I tend to leave out the Spirit. I need to work on that.

  2. There’s something worrying about needing to state so vehemently what they are all about and what you’re not about. It’s just making it more about them the more they DON’T talk about Jesus, and the Godhead, the trinity, et. al. and talk about what they ARE about.

  3. That was something that always bugged me throughout my churchin’ years. Jesus is the most “public” figure in the Trinity, the good-looking, relatable one who’s always in the tabloids, so everyone kinda ignores the other members. Is Jesus the Pete Wentz of the Trinity?

  4. Good question…

    Isn’t the greatest greatest commandment to get to know everything about Jesus?

    Oh that’s right, it’s love the Lord your God (Father I assume) with all your being, and love others unselfishly.

    Jesus good news that he came preaching was that we can be a part of God’s Reign, that God can Reign in our lives and in our world.

    I like your questions.

  5. “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” -John 14:15-21

    “When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” -Matthew 28:17-20

    He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

    After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. -Mark 16:15-19

    Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. -Luke 9:23-26

    We started searching for scriptures that maybe speak to this whole issue, and the more we came across, the more it would seem that Jesus has no fear of receiving too much attention… Anyways, the scriptures really speak for themselves…

  6. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” This seems to be an overemphasis on Jesus, on purpose.

    Paul talks about the “one thing” he does, which is trying to apprehend that by which he’s been apprehended so that he may “know Christ.” He also seems to consistently refer to both the Father and the Spirit in terms of their relationship to the Son. That’s not to say that we haven’t pushed aside our understanding or relationship with God as Father or Spirit, but the Spirit’s function is to bring glory to the Son and the Father has been pleased to exalt his Son to his right hand to receive ceaseless worship, as he is the fullness of God in bodily form.

  7. If you think about it…Jesus is the Gospel. I like the message they’re sending. Without Jesus, the story just isn’t the same.

    Sure, it’s simplifying things, but it makes sense. Sometimes I think we try to complicate life/Christianity more than necessary. We get caught up in the details and then we lose sight of what matters most.

    I loooooooooove that Daniel & Heather used Scripture to make their point. That’s what this is all about, right? 🙂

    Ben, I love that you question so much of your life…and what goes on around you. Do you ever find that this curiosity gets you into trouble? 🙂

  8. dan – awesome.

    edwards – i totally agree. dan said something and i think you mirrored the comment (Jesus has no fear of receiving too much attention), Paul’s only goal was to “know Christ Crucified”. I think that both of those things are true. I guess the only purpose of this post was really to focus on the latter point that you made: “That’s not to say that we haven’t pushed aside our understanding or relationship with God as Father or Spirit…” There is no doubt in my mind that I have done this and in hind site I wonder if it is not only me or if it not merely a coincidence.

    anne – I really like your statement “Without Jesus, the story just isn’t the same. ” I don’t want to divert from this but I know for myself I have never really had this same attitude towards the Holy Spirit.

    I love Paul’s Words to the Galations:
    1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

    and your last question is silly. I get in more trouble than anyone I know. I wish there was a curiosity off switch. =)

  9. anne – i meant i get in more trouble than anyone i know besides stephy.

    stephy – sorry, i didn’t realize you were still hanging on this post. thanks for the clarification. i thought it was implied.

  10. 1) We might have started focusing on Jesus because he was the crux of our salvation– what distinguished us from other religions… I mean… we’re called “Christians…” that’s kinda “all about Jesus”

    2) but I think you’re right, just because Jesus is what distinguishes us from other religions we can’t lose sight of the other, and equally important, parts of the Trinity

  11. I have quite a few of my own questions after reading this post and the comments:

    What is the “it” that we are referring to when we say “it’s all about…”. Is “it” the Bible? The church? Our lives? God’s story?

    Can we really know the Son while not knowing the Father? How can we know the Son without the work of the Holy Spirit in us?

    Is the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives a relationship? Do we pray to the Holy Spirit like we pray to the Father?

    What did Jesus mean when he said he would send the Holy Spirit since the Bible speaks of people who were filled with the Holy Spirit before that (such as David, Daniel, and Isaiah)?

    Couple of verses:

    Hebrews 1

    1In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

    Hebrews 12:2

    2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

  12. The way I understand it Jesus is the Flesh of the Trinity, the Father the Soul, and the Spirit is who we actually know as humans. That’s who Jesus sent.

    We don’t know Jesus except for the fact that we understand what it is to walk on this earth. Knowing the Father…barely.

    Jesus taking our sins and becoming the bridge between us and the Father (perfection in Spirit) is the Gospel. The Holy Spirit is what feeds us.

    This is all a bit too philosophical when it comes down to that moment where I must decide “do I sin or not?” So, really, if you ask me

    “It’s all about Jesus BECAUSE now my sins can’t separate me from the Father. But since I’m still waiting for my imperfect flesh to die (Romans 7) Jesus sent the Comforter to help me achieve the Spirit (Romans 8).”

    But that’s too big of a bumper sticker, I guess.

  13. I am making my way through N.T. Wright’s “Simply Christian” (which is a good read by the way) and encountered this and I immediately thought of this post and wanted to share this snippet:

    AND IT’S ALL BECAUSE OF JESUS. Once we glimpse the doctrine—or the fact!—of the Trinity, we dare not slide back into generalized sense of religion paying distant homage to a god who (though somewhat more complicated than we had previously realized) is merely a quasi-personal source of general benevolence. Christian faith is much more hard-edged, more craggy, than that. Jesus exploded into the life of ancient Israel–the life of the whole world, in fact–not as a teacher of timeless truths, nor as a great moral example, but as the one through whose life, death, and resurrection God’s rescue operation was put into effect, and the cosmos turned its great corner at last. All worldviews are challenged to the core by this claim. When they in turn challenge Christianity, it stands up remarkably well. It is because of Jesus that Christians claim they know who the creator God of the world really is. It is because he, a human being, is now with the Father in the dimension we call “heaven” that Christians came so quickly to speak of God as both Father and Son. It is because he remains as yet in heaven while we are on earth (though the Spirit makes him present to us) that Christians come to speak of the Spirit, too, as a distinct member of the divine Trinity. It is all because of Jesus that we speak of God the way we do. And it is all because of Jesus that we find ourselves called to live the way we do. More particularly, it is through Jesus that we are summoned to become more truly human, to reflect the image of God into the world.

  14. Found your blog on google–over a year late. 😉

    Just wanted to share what I believe to be perhaps the most crucial teaching we ever receive on this exact subject, from John 14:8-10, when the disciples apparently had similar thoughts.

    “Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?'”

    Paul affirms that to know about or make it “all about” Jesus is to know about or make it “all about” God, because He *is* the image of the invisible God and all things were created by Him, through Him, and *for* Him (Col 1:15-17).

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