This week we are focussing on Jesus and what he has done for us. We can think of Jesus as being ahead of us. Jesus is leading the way for us to follow. Jesus asks everything of us, but he asks nothing of us that he himself has not first endured, so we can trust in his leadership. We can also think of Jesus as being over us. God has placed Jesus over all things for us – for you and for the church. Jesus rules from heaven “for the church”. He protects his people and guides our mission. He sends the Holy Spirit to equip us for service (Ephesians 4 v 7-16).
Jesus builds his church and organises his people. Our job is to offer him our lives, to be faithful witnesses, to serve him. And then to let him use us as he chooses in his grand strategy to build his church. Jesus is actively involved now. Jesus is present by his Spirit and he’s healing, speaking, saving, comforting, building, and equipping.
Busy doing nothing
At the same time, we can think of Jesus as doing nothing. Hebrews 10 v 11-14 says that Jesus is ‘sitting’ and ‘waiting’ ‘at the right hand of God’. Jesus sits because his work of salvation is done, “It is finished”. He has made complete atonement for our sin. There’s nothing left for him to do.
Yet for Jesus, doing nothing is a full-time job! Jesus is “busy doing nothing” and representing us in heaven. He’s in heaven on our behalf. We’re united with Christ now in heaven. When you think of Jesus, your first thought should be to think of him before the Father on your behalf. So he’s always busy doing his job – and his job is to do nothing. He intercedes for us, not through some action he must perform in heaven but by his very presence. His right to come before God is your right to come before God. As long as Jesus is in heaven, our place there is guaranteed.
The work of Jesus on the cross is finished. But the implications live on. It’s the basis by which God heals and saves. God is active in the world in the name of Jesus. And he’s active in your life in the name of Jesus. God forgives your sin through the death of Christ. In every failure we can enjoy the grace that comes to us through Jesus.
So every time we fail, sin, or have a dark thought. We don’t need to worry about whether we are accepted by God or forgiven. So long as Jesus is in heaven in the presence of God then we can be sure that we are forgiven. We just need to bring our failure to him and receive his grace.
Letting go of guilt
We also need to be busy doing nothing! Of course, we are to share in Jesus’ work of ensuring the message of salvation is passed to others. But when it comes to earning our salvation or winning the Father’s approval or impressing other people, we need to be busy doing nothing. There is nothing to do. It is already finished. But we need to be busy remembering that, as it’s so easy to start trying to do something. We actively need to stop trying to prove ourselves. We default to trying to win God’s approval through our actions. If we are doing things to impress God or to impress other people, then stop. Rest. Relax. Enjoy God’s grace. Rest in the finished work of Jesus. “It is finished”.
This is something we need to be doing every day. Every day we need to let go of our sin and hand it to Jesus. Imagine handing every sin to Jesus one by one. Open your hands. Release your grip. “Here I give up my sins to him that is able to bear them”. Feel the weight lift. Jesus has taken your burden and borne it at the cross in your place. This is what enjoying a relationship with Jesus is.
Every day Jesus says to us in the gospel message, I’ll do you a deal. I’ll take your failures, sin, guilt, bitterness, curse, wrath, and death, and in return I’ll give you joy, love, life, righteousness and peace.
Fixing our eyes on Jesus
Hebrews 12 v 2 tells us to “fix our eyes on Jesus”. Jesus is the image of God, the word of God, the glory of God. To see Jesus is to see the Father. Jesus reflects the Father’s glory. So we can look to Christ and to worship Christ. We can delight in his perfect character and revel in his finished work. We rest on what he has already done through his life, cross and resurrection. And we respond to Jesus by following him through faith into heaven (Hebrews 4 v 14, 16).
And Jesus relates to us by being our guarantee of a place with God. His work on the cross is complete but he goes on speaking. His death speaks to the Father as a permanent sign that the price of sin has been paid in full. And his death speaks to us with a message of comfort when we’re besieged by doubt.
By following Jesus in faith, we give up our attempts to remove our guilt or prove ourselves. By fixing our eyes on Jesus, we will respond in love because we see that Jesus died on the cross because of the love that he has for us. When we love Jesus, we are joining the Father in loving Jesus because the trinity is love.
- Last week we ended with a challenge to start each prayer with “My Father” or “Our Father”. How have you got on? What difference has it made?
- What do you find challenging about the Christian life?
- In what ways has Jesus already done what he asks of you?
- List all the things you do to earn God’s approval or impress other people … And then cross them all out and write across the page “It is finished!”
- How will we live if we think we need to earn God’s approval? How will we live if we are confident we have God’s approval in Christ?
- When are you over-busy? What’s the fear that drives your busyness? How might Christ seated in heaven or ruling from heaven calm your flustered heart?
Every day this week find time to identify what you have done to impress others. Then hear the words, “It is finished”.