I want to follow up on last week’s post with some things I didn’t have time to get to.
When I say “your” Jesus being too personal, what I mean is that a subjective interpretation of the real person of Jesus must not be allowed to take the place in our hearts that belongs to the person of Jesus. Jesus isn’t open to change based on my interpretation. He is who he is, and I should seek to know him, not define him. Think about your spouse or your best friend. Do you spend time with that person meticulously writing down facts or trying to summarize who they are? Of course not. We spend time with those we love to know them better.
Another reason the “my Jesus” language hits me the wrong way is because it represents a supremely individualistic mindset that is tragically prevalent in the West. As Westerners, and especially as Americans, we tend to filter everything in our world in a very personal way. Each person has his own car, her own phone number, blog, wardrobe, bank account, you name it. We view ourselves as the master of our own domain, the reigning sovereign of our own kingdom. What follows is that when we confess/accept/receive the Lordship of Jesus, it is often lordship over this kingdom, our own personal one, that we have primarily in our minds (for example, “accepting Jesus as your personal savior”).
But Jesus isn’t simply the Lord of the people who accept him, he is Lord of all. If I have an over-emphasis on the personal aspect of Christ’s saving work, I will undoubtedly lose the more cosmic or global understanding of salvation. Listen to what Paul says concerning salvation:
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
(Colossians 2:13-15 ESV)
If you’re like me, you’ve even read that passage with a strong emphasis on the “you” and the “us,” and we aren’t wrong to rejoice in Christ’s victory and how it applies to us personally. But let’s not miss the comic implications of our Savior who has triumphed over ALL the rulers and authorities in the universe. The triumph goes beyond my experience into the cosmic reality. He has defeated not just my own personal demons, but ALL of the demons.
In the saving work of Jesus God was reconciling all things to himself (Col. 1:20). All things. That’s a lot of things. And “all” is definitely bigger than “me.”