Why I believe that Jesus has to be the centre of the Bible
When reaching out we need to start speaking about Christ more often and tell people about what he has done and is doing in our lives, urges Gary Gibbs.
I celebrated my 60th birthday in September 2016! It’s a weird thing because inwardly, I still feel as if I’m around my mid-20s! Outwardly, my muscles and bones occasionally remind me that I’m deceived!
In many ways, the United Kingdom is a very different place to the country I was born into in 1956; and even to the one I was born again into in 1974. There’s a lot about living now which I enjoy including ease of travel, information at the touch of a few buttons, multicultural friendships and the general quality of life we are privileged to have in this part of the world.
The other side of the coin has been to live through the rise of secularism, the mushrooming of consumerism, hedonism and the consequent decline in godly morality.
It truly is ‘the best and the worst of times’, which leaves us with some great Gospel opportunities!
I believe that more and more people are at a point in their lives where they recognise that accumulating ‘stuff’ doesn’t satisfy that deep longing for fulfilment and purpose in life. Lots are living with the pain of rejection and broken promises, whether from a partner, a workplace or a politician. And as society continues to become less and less community focused, there are literally millions of lonely, isolated individuals looking for friendship and love.
Let me remind you about the central revelation which should come to us from the Bible. Jesus said, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.” John 5:39
Similarly, as he walked to Emmaus with those depressed disciples who hadn’t understood what had happened over the previous few days
“…beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Luke 24:27
The central focus of the Bible, I would suggest, is the Lord Jesus Christ, who he is and what he has done for us.
What does this mean for us as we seek to reach out to those around us? First and foremost, I believe we need to start speaking more about him. We need to put the name of Jesus on our lips far more often and tell our stories about what he has done and is doing in our individual lives.
I’ve noticed that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury never fails to mention Jesus when he is interviewed: it doesn’t matter what the subject is, he always makes sure that Jesus is spoken about. I like that!
There’s no need for us to be intimidated. Sometimes we can end up thinking that some non-believers feel quite negative about ‘Christians’ and there is some truth in that. But there is all the difference in the world between what people think about Christians in general and what your neighbour or work colleague or family member feels about you! Chances are pretty high that they like you!
So, yes, the world has changed over the past 60 years in many ways; but what remains the same is that God loves people and through Jesus Christ he has opened up a ‘new and living way’ back to himself. (Hebrews 10:20)
I’m praying that our lives and our mouths will communicate the living Lord Jesus because he is the one who fills our hearts!