Just Jesus

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John 14:23–26 (NIV)

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

CONSIDER THIS

“The Spirit of Jesus in me greets the Spirit of Jesus in you and brings us together in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.”

As we reach the halfway point of this Holy Spirit series, I want us to level set just a bit. In studying the Holy Spirit we can easily drift away from the main thing. So what is the main thing? Thanks for asking. The answer is Jesus. To be clear, the Holy Spirit is acting here, but these are the Acts of Jesus. So here’s another question:

Question: What is the best way to learn about the Holy Spirit? 
Answer: Study the Holy Spirit. 

Wrong.

The best way to learn about the Holy Spirit is to study Jesus. We are not the disciples of the Holy Spirit. We are the disciples of Jesus. Now, to be clear, we can’t be disciples of Jesus without being brought into his relationship with the Father. As well, we cannot be disciples of Jesus without being filled by the Holy Spirit. It seems obvious to say and yet I find it is far from obvious—Jesus is the center, the key, the coherent core curriculum of the Christian life. 

We have seen enormous theological and doctrinal systems built up around “God” and the attributes of God, namely, his sovereignty as expressed through attributes like omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Frankly, you don’t need Jesus to build such a system and framework. 

We have also seen expansive experiential frameworks built up around the Holy Spirit. Entire movements have sprung up and splintered into a thousand more groups over what particular experiences are required to demonstrate the veracity of whether a person is filled by the Spirit or not—replete with particular gifts, shibboleths, second blessings, and on we could go. Again, you don’t need Jesus to build such a system and framework. 

You don’t get to Jesus by studying about God. You actually get to God by following Jesus.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

And you don’t get to Jesus by studying about the Holy Spirit. You actually get to the Holy Spirit by following Jesus. 

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Here’s the amazing thing. In following Jesus, he not only teaches us about God, but he brings us into his relationship with the Father. And in following Jesus, he not only teaches us about the Holy Spirit, but he shows us exactly what it looks like when a human being is filled by the Spirit, and even more than this, through his relationship with the Father, he fills us with the Holy Spirit. 

It is about Jesus, friends. To be a trinitarian Christian does not mean having specific isolated individual relationships with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It means to enter into and share Jesus’ relationship with the Father and the Spirit. 

Apart from Jesus Messiah of Nazareth we know nothing about any of this. We can learn an awful lot about all of it and we can do a lot of things around the edges of it, but for a Christian, Jesus is the starting line and he is the finish line and he is the whole way from one to the other and beyond. 

I just wanted to level set with you all here at the halfway point of this journey. It’s all about Jesus. 

Still day one. 

THE PRAYER

God our Father, who with your son Jesus Messiah, fills us with the Holy Spirit, thank you for the miracle and the mystery of the day of Pentecost. And thank you for today, and that it is only the day after. Father, we want to thank you for Jesus, and to confess it is because you sent your Son that we know you. And not only do we know you, we know you like Jesus knows you. And thank you for the way Jesus reveals the Holy Spirit to us and releases the Spirit into us. Fix our gaze on Jesus. Open the eyes of our heart that we might behold him and in beholding him be brought into the very heart of the Trinity. It’s why we pray in his name, amen. 

THE QUESTION

How central and core is Jesus to your faith? I know he’s in there somewhere, but how? If you are a teacher or a preacher, do you find yourself trying to find ways to incorporate Jesus into your teaching and preaching or do you find yourself having little to say outside of talking about him? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The classroom model
    Of Christianity,
    Based on teaching,
    Study, and lectures
    About religious topics,
    Is far removed
    From the relational model
    Based on hearing,
    Interacting with,
    And obeying
    The risen Jesus
    In community
    That is led by
    And focused on
    His continual presence.

  2. Jesus Christ is God incarnate. It is his image that he was sent to restore in all humanity, to all who will receive him in faith, and reflect his image in their lives through the in dwelling of his Spirit. We are his new creation. We are the third race.

  3. Yes, it is all about Jesus! Jesus is the core. Why? Why not God or the Holy Spirit?

    Colossians 1:15-17
    15 who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him; 17 and he is before all things, and in him, all things consist.

    An invisible God from the spiritual realm stepped through the veil into the physical realm as one of His creations. Instead of magically appearing, he went through the process of being human from an embryo to an adult. Then He chose to sacrifice Himself (in the most inhuman way), so we could reconcile with God. He was born, died, resurrected, and accented back to heaven (the spiritual realm.)
    Christ is the epicenter of life. Without Him, Christianity is another manufactured religion of philosophy. Man has made Christianity a religion. It is not! It explains life. The creation of humanity in righteousness. The fall of humanity from righteousness. And the resurrection of humanity back into righteousness, which is possible because of Jesus.
    Whether a person believes in Christ or not, I speculate they’d admit that people are broken and inherently unrighteous. An example is we are born knowing how to lie and sabotage relationships), and the world is a broken mess as the result of people being broken. Why? Read Genesis.
    Without Christ, humanity stays doomed.
    Because of Christ, a hopeless drug dealer can become a drugless hope dealer.

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