We need a bigger Jesus

I was first drawn to Quakers, because I read about early Friends and was amazed at how holistic their view of Jesus was. They had intense personal experiences with God which immediately led them out to change the world. Social justice and passionate spirituality, all rolled together in one. I wanted to be a part.

Then I got to read about the last 150 years of splits and divisions and compartmentalization among Quakers. Blech. We need to recapture a bigger Jesus, a more holistic view. I’m going to post part of what I said today right here on the blog, rather than just a link. If you get tantalized for more, read the whole thing here.

Will you let Jesus be more than just your personal savior? This may be the most controversial thing I say today.

American Christianity has made Jesus a personal savior, someone who gets me to heaven. And that’s too small a picture. It’s not enough of the answer. Seven times in six verses, Paul mentions ALL creation, ALL things, EVERYTHING.

Jesus didn’t just die for me. Jesus didn’t just die for you. Jesus didn’t just die to make our sins and our wrongs go away.

“For God was pleased to have ALL his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself ALL things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1: 19-20)

Friends, our Jesus has gotten too small. Jesus is more than your and my personal savior. He’s changing all of creation, everything that is, making all of creation RIGHT again, in alignment with God. What is so sad about the last 100 years in churches in America is that we’ve made Jesus too small in too many ways. We’ve had people OVER THERE who care about social justice and making a difference in the world, but who make Jesus just a man who taught some good things. We’ve had people OVER HERE who want people to experience the forgiveness Jesus brings, but who make Jesus only a personal savior.

This is why the question “Who is Jesus?” is so important! If our view of Jesus can grow again…if we see Jesus as completely human and completely God, in charge of everything, bringing all of creation back into right relationship with God…so much opens up for us as his followers!

Jesus died to reconcile to himself ALL things. As we follow him, we will walk in others’ shoes and show them the love and forgiveness found in Jesus. We will work to end hunger and homelessness in this community. We will, like Elizabeth Sherwood is working towards, build relationships with and meet the needs of teenage mothers. We will, like Doug Bartlett, serve the youth and families of Yamhill County. We will, like Josh Reid and Carl Ralston tonight, find ways to act to stop human trafficking in our world. We’ll work to preserve the resources of our planet. We’ll use our creativity and the arts to make the world a richer and more beautiful place.

It’s Jesus who will be ruler of all, balancing all the world’s needs. As individuals, we don’t have to do it all. But it opens up such a bigger picture of our role as Jesus followers, and such a bigger picture of Jesus himself.

This mind-bending God/man is who we follow, who we trust with our lives. Will you let Jesus become bigger in your life today?

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