Jesus Is The Subject
Can you have baseball without a ball? No. You can have fans in the stands, popcorn being consumed in mind-boggling quantities, lines painted on the field, umpires present, but the ball is still the subject and makes the game of baseball what it is. In a similar fashion, you can have all sorts of “churchy” things going on, but unless Jesus is the subject, there is no church or Kingdom of God.
Jesus didn’t cease being the subject of the Kingdom once he had ascended back to heaven. No, we understand that the Risen Christ promised to be with his followers “to the very end of the age” (Mt.28:20). The Father sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to infill the disciples, and Paul teaches us that ever since, the Holy Spirit has been given to every believer (Romans 8:9-11; 1 Cor.12:13).
And so we are equipped for the task we have been called to. One we accept the invitation of Covenant relationship, we are appointed as Kingdom representatives. How was Jesus going to build his church? Through disciple-making. He commissioned us to go and make disciples, teaching them all that Jesus had taught them (Mt 28:18-20). Those were his parting words. As Mike Breen so powerfully states, we can make a church but there is no guarantee we will have disciples, but if we make disciples we are guaranteed to have a church. Put another way, in Acts 1:8 Jesus told his disciples they were to be his witnesses. Either way you want to approach it, Jesus is the subject.
There are lots of varied opinions on what the church should be about. But when we look at what Jesus says it is pretty clear; there’s not much room for divergent opinion! We have but one task-that is to proclaim Jesus. When we examine the subject of all the New Testament writings we see a continued emphasis on Jesus.
When we look at the remarkable success of the early church in Acts, we can examine their message, and it was simple and consistent-Jesus. In Jesus the future Kingdom of God broke into the present. That future reality experienced in the present is still the experience we are called to today.
As we’ve learned about Covenant and Kingdom, we understand that Jesus is the subject. Without Jesus there is no possibility of living in Covenant relationship with our Heavenly Father. Covenant speaks to us about forgiveness and relationship. Without Jesus, there is no victory over the enemy who was defeated on the Cross (Col. 2: 15). Kingdom speaks to us about the possibility of living in victory over sin as the ground that was lost at the Garden of Eden is increasingly reclaimed from the Enemy. Jesus is the message we hold out to the world. You can be forgiven, and you can experience the reversal of the Fall and the blessings of that in your life today. We don’t need to wait until death.
Is Jesus the subject of your faith this week? Are you living in relationship and in victory day by day? Are you offering that hope to those God has placed around you?