Image description JESUS God's picture and the One for whom everything exists

Jesus: Our Reason for Being

Our world is a mess, and if we're honest so are we. But Jesus helps us make sense of the world and our own lives. It is once we realise that Jesus is our reason for being that things start to make sense.

Jesus: Our Reason for Being

Introduction

The following content outlines the heart of what we believe about the mess that is our world, the mess that describes our own personal lives and what Jesus has to do with it all.

If you are a visual learner, or would like a briefer explanation, we recommend checkout out ‘Two Ways To Live’, which summarises the heart of the Christian message with a number of helpful illustrations. You can view it online or alternatively download the iPhone app.)

Part 1

Real Life and the Bible

Real life and the Bible

Here at Grace Evangelical we know that life can be tough. From the big scale world problems out there, which we’re reminded of on the news every evening, to the reality of our own lives and relationships things can just seem such a mess. What’s going on? What’s wrong with our world? What’s wrong with me? Who am I anyway? If there is a God, does he even care that this world is hurting so badly?

We’re convinced that there are real answers to these questions and that the Bible makes the most sense of our experience. Far from being distant and just speaking lofty thoughts about God and human experience, to our surprise it speaks directly to us! At so many points the Bible seems so realistic meeting us where we’re at. It just seems to understand the human experience so well. It understands me, the problems that I face and even helps me to understand my darker moments and the reality of what is wrong with me.

But before we delve deeper into that let’s have a brief look at what it says about Jesus…

Jesus is at the Centre

Jesus is at the centre

Speaking of Jesus, Paul writes these words:

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

Colossians 1:15-16 (NIV)

What’s this got to do with anything? Well, if we’re going to understand ourselves clearly and the mess that we’re in the Bible requires us to experience our own ‘Copernican Revolution’. And that is, coming to terms with Jesus and who he claims to be. It requires a massive shift in our thinking from seeing us at the very centre, to see Jesus at the very centre of all things.

According to the Bible Jesus is our very reason for being. The quote above tells us:

  • Jesus is ‘the image of the invisible God’ – that is no-one has ever seen God, but if we want to see him all we have to do is look at Jesus, Jesus is God’s photograph if you like
  • Everything that exists (and it emphasises everything!) was created through Jesus
  • And not only were all things created through Jesus but they were created for him!

At Grace Evangelical we’re convinced this radical perspective is true and real. Since Jesus created all things, and all things exist for him, he is our reason for being, not only individually, but he is the very reason we exist as a church. All our beliefs and thinking about all of life flow from knowing Jesus is at the very centre of all things.

So if Jesus is really our reason for being, how does he (through the Bible) answer life’s big questions?

Part 2

A Messy World

Something is Drastically Wrong

First of all, the Bible taps into that sense we all have that something is drastically wrong with the world. Things aren’t the way they should be. In the end death seems to have the final say and harshly cuts us from those we love most. Debilitating sickness can knock us down and keep us from living a ‘normal’ life.

Further afield we see violent acts from one human being to another. We see greedy and power hungry nations and groups at war with each other. We see seemingly innocent victims left to starve and face the consequences of the selfishness of others.

Closer to home, in our quieter and more honest moments, we sometimes have the realisation that the things we’ve been living for, the things we thought would satisfy our deepest longings just don’t cut it. We’re left empty, disillusioned and letdown. We’re thirsty and we’re desperately wanting something real to satisfy in a way that wealth, possessions, prosperity, career, sex, family and friendship haven’t.

Worse still if we take a closer look at our own hearts something is drastically wrong with us. Why is it that I can’t bring about the good that I want to do? As a father, mother, son, daughter, boss, employee, neighbour, friend? At so many points I want to relate differently but end up hurting others, damaging relationships, living in a way that puts my needs before the needs of others. Why am I like that?

Surely, we are made to live for so much more aren’t we?

The Kingdom Lost

The Kingdom Lost in the Garden

The Bible’s answer to this problem goes right back to the start. In the beginning we have a King who is lovingly relating to his subjects in the most ideal kingdom. The King is God himself, his subjects are Adam and Eve and the kingdom is the garden of Eden, a beautiful place showing the blessing that comes from living under God’s rule. This picture is the good life; the life we always longed to have. Humanity is enjoying perfect relationship with God as King, enjoying harmony with one another and with nature. But sadly this doesn’t last…

Adam and Eve rebel against the King seeking to overthrow him. They start to doubt his goodness and are convinced he’s out to keep them from the good life. Surely life would be better if they were their own rulers. And so essentially they tell God to get stuffed and they throw everything back in his face determined to live life their own way. But this does anything but bring the good life they wanted.

Instead Adam and Eve are faced with the drastic consequences of rejecting God. God’s justice means they are expelled from the garden. The kingdom is lost. At every level there is now tension in relationships. Adam and Eve fear God and have a deep sense of shame feeling unacceptable before him. There is tension in their relationship with one another. And they no longer have the same harmony with the natural world which now seems at odds with them. We see death coming to mankind. All of humanity has been affected by this ever since.

Part 3

Restoring the Kingdom

God plans to restore his Kingdom – but does anyone want it?

The rest of the Bible is the story of how God is moving towards restoring his Kingdom. He longs to have his very own people who want to know him, enjoy relating with him and who live under his rule. He longs to give them the good life. The sad thing is the story of the Old Testament shows that time and time again we think we can find the good life elsewhere without God.

And so God says in Jeremiah:

My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
Jeremiah 2:13 (NIV)

And that’s essentially our problem too. Like God’s people, spoken of in Jeremiah, instead of coming to God for the ‘living water’ that will really quench our thirst, we run after all sorts of cheap alternatives. But they are merely broken cisterns that can hold no water. And so our lives feel empty.

No matter how hard we try we can’t seem to fix the problem or get ourselves out of the mess we’re in. The sad truth is our hearts are far from God and, if we’re honest we really don’t want him.

And just like Adam and Eve we feel a deep sense of shame, and fear knowing that we’re unacceptable to God. But most of the time we try and hide it pretending everything is okay.

Jesus Appeals to Our Thirst

Jesus appeals to our thirst

Enter Jesus. He steps into the scene as both God and man.

And in John’s biography of Jesus’ life he says these words:

Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.
John 7:37-38 (NIV)

Jesus knows the human experience. He knows the longings of our hearts. He knows we fill our lives with all sorts of things that don’t satisfy. And so he appeals to us on the basis of our thirst as the One who is able to deeply satisfy our deepest longings. But how does this work? And what does all this have to do with the kingdom we mentioned earlier?

Part 4

Jesus is God's King

Jesus is the King of God’s Kingdom

The whole Bible centres on Jesus as God’s King. He is the One who came into the world he created to put things right again. And we see him doing just that in the gospel accounts: he forgives sin, heals the sick and demon possessed. He even raises people to life again. He has complete control over nature and teaches with authority unlike the religious leaders of his day. All these things point to him being God’s King.

Jesus is the only One who can fix up the mess we have made. His plan is to restore things to what they were like back in the garden: where we can once again enjoy relationship with God as our King, being his people and having the good life that comes from living under his rule.

But how does he do it?

Jesus knows our hearts are far from God and that, left to our own devices, we would never want anything to do with him. (The Bible says we’re ‘spiritually dead’.) And he knows we rightly deserve God’s anger directed at us for the way we’ve proudly shaken our fist at him telling him to ‘get lost’. And so Jesus dies in our place. He takes upon himself God’s anger that should have been directed at us.

But it doesn’t stop there. He is raised to life three days later as God’s King. He now rules over the world. And now gives new life to people who realise that he is God’s King and accept his work in dying for them. He brings us back into relationship with God – the good life that our hearts long for so desperately.

The Future According to Jesus

The future according to Jesus

Jesus is now working towards a final day when he will judge the world, and completely restore things to what they were back in the garden.

This is the beautiful picture of the future Jesus is working towards:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:3-4 (NIV)

A message worth listening to?

If you think this message is worth listening to it is what we’re all on about at Grace Evangelical. If you’d like to find out more why not contact us or come along and meet us in person? We’d love to get to know you and help you think through what it means to respond to Jesus as the King who rescues us.