This testimony given by Stephen C. Marcy on Sunday, April 4, 2004 at the Dix Hills Evangelical Free Church in Dix Hills, NY. Revised Jan. 24, 2020.
When Pastor asked me to share something of “what Jesus means to me,” I thought, well, that shouldn’t be too hard – but then I found myself pondering what the “to me” might mean. I thought, does Jesus mean “to me” anything different than what he means to anyone else? Perhaps it is a question of what Jesus means – period. I thought, I guess what Jesus means ‘to me’ is who he is in his person and work. He should mean at least that to me and everyone else. Surely we shouldn’t create our own Jesus.
Anyway, I concluded that I should find out who Jesus is, objectively speaking, and then see if he means that to me – which is to say whether I believe it or not, or something in between. I guess that’s what it means to talk about “what Jesus means to me.”
So now that that’s all cleared up (Ha!), here’s a few limited thoughts about what Jesus means to me.
Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua which means the Lord saves. So Jesus is the Savior – as in “he will save his people from their sins.” I believe that. Which is also to say that I am a sinner, as in “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” I believe that too. So Jesus is my savior and that means the forgiveness of my sins and my salvation. Jesus is also “the way, the truth and the life.” And no one comes to the Father except through him. I believe that. So to me Jesus means exclusivity. What most people now-a-days regard as narrow-mindedness. So while Jesus means to me knowledge of God and the way to the Father he also is the truth, which means confrontation within our relativistic culture. This includes a private and personal confrontation – for there are times when I don’t want anymore truth please – thank you very much! Truth can be a pain. So Jesus means an earnest exposure of my whole existence and the necessity of repentance.
Jesus is also a disturbance, as in, “Do not suppose I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Well I believe that too, so I guess that means inevitable division if I am growing to love Jesus and the truth more and more.
Jesus is also the Messiah who brings in the Kingdom of God. Which is to say the Kingdom of God is already present in Jesus, therefore the forces of evil are decisively defeated – but all is not yet fulfilled. So I am confident that current events are simply the time between, in which his Kingdom is advancing through the preaching of the gospel, but will one day come to an end through his reign in glory, power and final judgment. This means that there will be an end, whether in this life or in my death, in which there will be a resurrection of the body, an assurance of salvation, the hope of heaven and an eternal rest. These are a few things Jesus means to me! And he can mean the same to all of you.
But allow me to return to my original quandary about the statement “what Jesus means to me.” Is not the more important issue one of what Jesus thinks of me? C. S. Lewis writes,
“In the end that Face which is the delight or the terror of the universe must be turned upon each of us either with one expression or with the other, either conferring glory inexpressible or inflicting shame that can never be cured or disguised. I read in a periodical the other day that the fundamental thing is how we think of God. By God Himself, it is not! How God thinks of us is not only more important, but infinitely more important. Indeed, how we think of Him is of no importance except in so far as it is related to how He thinks of us. It is written that we shall “stand before” Him, shall appear, shall be inspected. The promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work of Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall actually survive that examination, shall find approval, shall please God. To please God . . . to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness . . . to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son—it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.”
Praise be to the Lord, that by his grace he could think such of me and each and every one of us!