Tuesday, January 17, 2012



In my opinion, the third top takeaway from the book, JESUS PLUS NOTHING, is that Jesus alone matters. What Jesus says. What Jesus does. What Jesus commands matters more than anything else in your spiritual life.

Here's how I frequently illustrate this pre-eminence of Jesus. Think of it this way. If Jesus says one thing and your pastor or favorite spiritual guru seems to be saying something else, who are you going to go with? I'd go with Jesus.
If Jesus says one thing and you realize you believe something different from Jesus' teachings, who will you go with? Jesus's thinking versus my thinking? I'm going to follow Jesus' thinking here. If Jesus says something and what you've been taught all of your life in your religious experience says something else, who are you going with? My advice? Stick with Jesus! How about if Jesus says one thing and Paul seems to be teaching something different-maybe an emphasis or focus that differs, who will you side with? Jesus is not confused or foggy in His thinking. He teaches without flaws or opinions. Always, always go with Jesus, because Jesus alone matters!

What Jesus says is the primary word on a matter, no matter what the subject. We have discussed on several occasions Jesus' conversation with the religious leaders in John 5. Jesus says, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life." Jesus makes it clear here that it's important to realize that seeking Jesus Himself is a higher priority than searching the Scriptures. Jesus alone matters!

If you want to dive into a very productive study, just do a search of what Jesus teaches on a given subject. For instance, according to Jesus who is it that will enter the Kingdom of Heaven and who will not? I'll give you a hint. Jesus makes it clear that not all who call themselves believers will enter.

What Jesus does is the primary example of how we ought to live. Jesus' actions and strategies are counter-intuitive and even counter-cultural to the religious ways of thinking on many occasions. Jesus' approach was to primarily see and interact with individuals. He spoke before thousands a few times, but most encounters were individual and personal.

Jesus also gives us great insight into how we might relate to the many cultures of the world. He never concerned Himself with criticizing or changing a person's religious beliefs from his or her background and culture. Jesus always made it personal-always about the individual and that person's heart of faith and trust. More than that, Jesus always concerned Himself with the personal relationship He had with that person and the person's response back to Him.

What Jesus commands is the primary focus we ought to observe. Jesus never commanded us to convert anyone to our religious ways. He never commanded us to condemn anyone. He never commanded anyone to go, build and organize Churches. The primary emphasis in Jesus' commands was to go and make disciples-Jesus learners and followers-of every culture in the world.

Why is this true that Jesus alone matters and is so pre-eminent? It's because of who Jesus is. Jesus has a name that is above all names. Not Christ, but Jesus. His name is very important-just as important as the personal name of God revealed in the Old Testament. It was Yahweh! Jesus means "Yahweh saves." Jesus. There is something about that name!

At the name of Jesus every knee will bow someday. It's in the name of Jesus that people have been and can be healed. It's in the name of Jesus that people can be transformed inside out. It's in the name of Jesus that people are touched with His love, joy, peace and grace and are never the same again!

NOTE it is not in the name of Christ, but in the name of Jesus. You might say it's a matter of semantics, but it's not! It's personal! His name is Jesus!

The great Dr. Albert Schweitzer of Africa said something that stopped me in my tracks with its powerful truth. He said, "Jesus comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lake-side. He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: "Follow me!" and sets us to the tasks, which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple. He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings, which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is."

There is a part of Jesus we can't know by reading books about Him, can't know by listening to sermons on Him. There is a part of Him we can't know by going to church, to Bible college, to seminary. There is a part of Him we can only know by following Him. This is our prayer that through JESUS PLUS NOTHING you will learn to know Jesus by following Him.