If I could issue a plea to our pastors and priests and ministers of the Word in the world today, it would be this: Give me Christ, or else I die.
I mean that in the most specific sense—not just what Christ can do in me or to me or for me or through me (or the church or the world), but Jesus Christ himself, clearly portrayed as crucified and preached as having been raised from the dead. Not Jesus Christ as the assumption or foundation or the means for all that is preached, but as its very content and core.
So, please, preach Christ. Preach him in all of Scripture. Show him to me in all his varied aspects: the true image and likeness of God, the wisdom and word of God by whom all things were made, the second Adam who has subjected all things to himself, the seed of Abraham and seed of David, the prophet like Moses, the ruler and deliverer and righteous one, our paschal lamb and the rock that followed the Israelites, the rejected stone who is also a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, the speaker and subject of the psalms, the son of God and Spirit-anointed king, the Isaianic servant and the one like a son of man, the temple of God, the restored Israel, the Lord of the Shema, the yes to all of God’s promises, our wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption...
This is what I need to hear. Because my attention is so easily drawn to lesser things—to my plans, my ambitions, my problems, my triumphs, my failures, my family, my friends, my church, my community. So, please, turn my eyes upon Jesus. Help me to look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely clear in the light of his glory and grace.
Do you want me to repent of my sins? Then show me Jesus—in his robust goodness and love and self-sacrifice. Linger on that. Do you want to bring me to hope in the midst of suffering? Then show me Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross and scorned its shame. Do you want me to know what it really means to be human? Then show me Jesus in his cruciform love and resurrection glory. Do you want me to worship God? Then show me Jesus, the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.
What I really need is a vision (not of myself or my community or even the church or the world but) of Christ! Give me that and all these things will be added unto me.
So tell me more about my Jesus. Lead me to worship and to love and to repentance and to hope and to faith. Because I can see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. Because I know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
So preach what promotes Christ. For his sake. For mine.
Give me Christ, or else I die.
Hmmm, I loved this.