January 13, 2014

Back to Basics

Late last year the world’s attention was captured by news of Nelson Mandela’s death. He was indeed a great man, whose accomplishments are legendary. His perseverance and political actions changed not only South Africa but the world.

But I was disturbed by the way some in the media deified Mandela during the weeklong announcement of his passing and funeral. One ebullient TV personality crowed that Mandela was “another Jesus,” exhibiting patience, exercising forgiveness, and loving his enemies.

As much as I agree that Mandela left an unparalleled legacy of grace, I strongly disagree with the reference that he was “another Jesus.” If the media would take half the time they spent on Mandela’s legacy to paint a true portrait of Jesus, the world would know who Jesus really is.

Scripture affirms that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords; the Alpha and Omega; the Creator and Redeemer; the Word made flesh; the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus said, and John recorded, that He’s the resurrection and the life (John 11:25).

S. M. Lockridge, a popular twentieth-century preacher, regularly reminded his congregation that no measure can define Christ’s limitless love. He’s enduringly strong, entirely sincere, and eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful, imperially powerful, and impartially merciful. Jesus, said Lockridge, is the greatest phenomenon ever to cross the world’s horizon.

He’s God’s Son, a sinner’s Savior, a believer’s secret weapon, and the unparalleled, unprecedented, centerpiece of civilization.

Ellen White wrote that Jesus is the desire of all ages, and I know Him as human and holy, the loftiest idea in literature, the highest personality in philosophy, and the fundamental doctrine of true theology. He’s the only one qualified to be our all-sufficient Savior, and it would be a delight if the world really believed that Jesus is God.

Jesus supplies strength for the weak, sustenance for widows, and support for orphans. He’s available for the tempted and accessible to the tried. He sympathizes with the poor and saves the lost. He’s the Prince of peace, who wields the sword of the Spirit; the Good Shepherd, who guides us to green pastures; and the Watchman, who guards our walls. He heals the sick, destroys demonic legions, and raises the dead. He forgives sinners and discharges debtors. He delivers captives, defends the feeble, and blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate, looks out for the aged, and rewards the diligent. He comforts those who mourn, blesses those who serve, and empowers the meek. Do you know Him this way?

Perhaps you know Jesus as the wellspring of wisdom, the doorway of deliverance, the pathway of peace, the roadway of righteousness, the highway of holiness, the gateway of glory. Maybe you’ve told others that His life is matchless, His goodness is limitless, His mercy is everlasting, His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. I’ve preached that He’s my all in all, whose love never fails, whose word never changes, whose grace is sufficient, and whose reign is forever.

Jesus came to His own, but they did not receive Him. The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him; the scribes derided Him; the Sadducees berated Him; but they couldn’t stop Him. Herod couldn’t threaten Him; Pilate couldn’t fault Him; His disciples couldn’t watch with Him. Death couldn’t handle Him, and the grave couldn’t hold Him.

I wish I had a thousand columns to write about my sweet Jesus. He’s indescribable. He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible and irresistible. When you let Him into your heart, you can’t get Him out of your head. You can’t outlive Him, and you can’t live without Him. You can’t see Him, but you know He lives. You can’t touch Him with your hands, but you know when He touches your heart.

I hope in 2014 that you will take time to know Him better; for according to Peter, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).