(Some of this material is adapted from a section of Todd Nighswonger’s sermon at Cornerstone Simi on May 29, 2016)
Multiple choice question. Hint: Some of these choices are partly true, others completely false, but there is only one that is wholly true. Also, the honest answer may differ than the correct answer.
Jesus is my _____.
A. Savior : He is just a ticket out of hell and into heaven. I prayed a prayer, got baptized, and go to church occasionally, but he has little observable relevance to my life until I die and get my ticket punched to that glory train!
B. Good-Luck Charm : I whip this Jesus out and pray desperately to him when I want something really bad or when something really bad happens. I don’t want or need to get to know him. He exists to just give me what I want and make me happy, right??
C. Drug : He gives me this amazing emotional high where I feel spiritual, alive, and on-fire for him! I spend my life chasing this experience in camps, conferences, worship nights, and charismatic experiences because it’s more “powerful” and it’s the only way I can truly feel close to God.
D. Homeboy : He’s the bro who does life with me. He’s just a nice dude who would never “give me more than I can handle” nor does he challenge the way I live my life. He’s in my corner if anything bad should happen and the rest of the time he just gives me a smile and a thumbs up in approval of anything I want to do.
E. Spiritual Guru : He’s found in all sorts of kitschy books and devotionals that solely speak of “feeling his presence,” and all he wants for us is an “abundant and blessed” life. I haven’t really read the Bible so I don’t know to what extent these ideas are actually biblical or true, but I don’t care because he makes me feel happy and spiritual and #blessed! He is the patron saint of the prosperity gospel movement and can also be found in books such as Surfing God’s Way and Your Body Is a Temple So Don’t Eat McDonald’s.
F. Founding Father : He supports all my Americentric political and social views. The pinnacle of his power was in 1776 when America was truly a “Christian nation.” He affirms that pretty much every Bible verse about ancient Israel is also directly applicable to the United States of America, and is most certainly a Republican.
G. King : He is the creator and sustainer of all things. He is eternal, majestic, and infinitely beyond our comprehension and categories. Yes, he is loving and deeply personal, but he is not our equal. He is KING. One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord, whether we believe this in the course of our lives or not. He will bring each of us to account for every word, thought, and action, and he is also the only one who can save us from the punishment for those sins and failures. He is not a tool to be used by us for our small-minded purposes. And once I recognize how truly grand and royal he is and how small and pitiful I am, the only logical thing to do is to joyfully submit myself and every aspect of my life (even though it is often not easy or comfortable) to the good rule and reign of this King of Kings who alone deserves worship and adoration and obedience.