We must not think of Jesus as a miraculous answer to all our problems, to all the world’s problems. Jesus is the answer, but not how we generally think or wish. Knowing or having Jesus is only the first part of the equation albeit a particularly important part, because as Paul says, Jesus is the foundation of our faith. Jesus is the foundation, not the building. I, and you, are the buildings and how these buildings are constructed is important and will have direct and lasting effects on our lives, and the lives of those around us.
Jesus is a miracle, but just calling on his name will not suddenly solve our problems. Problem solving takes work, effort, blood, sweat, tears, and time, often a long and hard time. Jesus can help you through problems, but not by just making them disappear.
Near my home, there is a city in turmoil. It is not pretty, people are angry, and when a mass of people act out in anger, or sorrow, things can look chaotic and not peaceful. I will not turn this into a political discussion or talk about my feelings on the matter because my aim here is much different. I am quite sure that some, if not many, of the protesters are Christians, or believers in Jesus Christ. I am also sure that some police are also the same, as well as some on the city consul or government. Many criminals have Jesus. So, I must ask, has their belief in Jesus, their being Christians, changed anything?
As I try to answer this question, please do not assume that I do not believe in protest, because I do. People have the right to make their voices heard. This goes much deeper than what is currently happening. The problem goes back much further than the birth of the United States. See, the world has had Christians in it ever since Jesus walked this earth, yet, the world always seems to be in chaos in some part, or in whole. So, if Jesus is in us, why are all the problems not fixed? Why don’t they just miraculously disappear? The answer is not that Jesus is not in all of us, that would be too easy.
The answer is found in the writings of Paul where he says that we must endure with patience and grow in character. The character we grow into is that of Jesus our savior, and the savior of the world, it is of Jesus in action. Part of the problem is that most of Christianity believes that God is control of everything, and in that line of thinking nothing can be done, so why try? We do try, but our trying is usually limited and once it gets too hard, we stop and “put it in God’s hands”. That will not do if we want to live in peace and justice. We might say that we can change the world, but are we? Some are trying, without a doubt, and some are trying hard and giving it their all, but most of us are not. Most of us give a little, and sometimes only occasionally. We need to give more, much more.
I will say that God is control because I believe God is at work in the world, drawing people to Jesus. God has a goal and in the book Isaiah it is said that those goals will be accomplished; this is echoed by the apostle Paul. In his letter to Timothy, Paul said that God desires, wants, wills, and will see the salvation of all. But what is happening now, while God is working? If God is truly working why do things often seem a mess? The initial answer is easy, God has us. God has placed his spirit in us, God is in us. We are God’s temple. So, what does God want us to do? Knock on doors and try to get people to be “saved”? Stand on the street corner screaming at people that they are “lost”? These are the means that Christianity have been trying, largely, to save the world, at least in the United States. We have massive churches with tens of thousands of members, TV preachers that reach audiences of millions, and fill football stadiums with thousands during “crusades” and tours. Yet the world continues with problem after problem. Worse, we place our trust in faith in the government and politicians thinking that they will set us right. No, we live in a kingdom, and this kingdom has one king, he is Jesus.
So, do they just need Jesus, yes, and no. Why, no? Because many already have Jesus. The others do need Jesus but why would they want Jesus if those that have Jesus do not look like it? What does it look like to have Jesus? Read the Sermon on the Mount. Read the Gospels. Read Paul’s moral and spiritual edifications. Read the prophets and learn what God means by justice. Read Philippians chapter 2. The reason we have problems is not because we do not have Jesus. The reason we have problems is because we do not live like we have Jesus; we do not live like we are in his kingdom. Jesus said the kingdom was at hand, it was, and it showed up in full soon after his resurrection and ascension. The apostle Paul said we are transferred into the kingdom; we are in it; we are its citizens. We are not transferred to a kingdom in the sky or heaven, we are here, on earth, in his kingdom. The kingdom is right here on earth, as it is in heaven. The kingdom is here now, not coming. We need to stop longing for the future and focus on the present. The present focus is not trying to convert people; the present is to show who Jesus is by working with him in the world. “In the world” is the key; stop trying to pretend like at any moment you will be whisked away in the clouds and start acting like every moment we live matters. Paul also said it would be hard work, that we would suffer with Christ. People do need the gospel, but believers living the gospel rather than speaking it will lead to less problems in the world.
Live the gospel, this is the answer. Life is the answer. Life in Christ is the answer. Jesus is the answer, not only in word or prayer, but Jesus in action. Yes, people need Jesus, but having Jesus is not enough, they need to live like they have Jesus. We need to live like we have Jesus and it starts not on the state or national scene; it starts with you and those in your immediate reach as you interact with them not by clobbering them over the head with bible verses, but by living out those verses. Let them see and experience and they will someday be showing, and so it will spread, and then we will have less problems.