It sounds almost contradictory when spoken. How can Jesus be simple? I mean, after everything that we learn about Him, about Who He is, what He has done, what He will do, how could He be simple? He is the living Word of God and was with God in the beginning! It was in Him, through Him, and for Him that all things were made! He is the glue that holds the fabric of creation together… but He’s simple?
Jesus Christ is so full of complexity but He is also so wonderfully simple! This man came and lived a perfect life, not once for Himself but for the sake of those around Him and those to come, no stain or blemish can be found in Him! He altered the course of history, religion, understanding, wisdom, and most importantly of all love. The very foundation of the world was set by His voice and shaken by His death! His resurrection utterly demolished the realities of the world and shattered human understanding! He took what mankind knew to be in the realm of possibility and showed us that we know very little in the grander scheme of things!
When we look at the life and teachings of this man, Jesus Christ, we tend to have a very generalized idea of who He is and what He did… Son of God, Son of Man, performed miracles, died, rose again, ascended to heaven, will one day come on the clouds to establish His kingdom in full on the earth… We take the Word of God and try to apply our human understanding to Him when in truth we should be applying Him to our human understanding! Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, the world’s most underrated love poem!
Imagine for a moment how grand He is! Think about how truly full of glory He is! Try to wrap your mind around the fullness of His majesty! I promise you, every single time that you try, you will always find yourself applying your human understanding to define Him! Why do we do that? Why do we take the most beautiful thing that has ever walked on this earth and limit Him to the confines of what we can comprehend?
What if, instead of limiting Him to the realm of our own comprehension, we simply stopped doing that? What if we actually just quit trying to put a label on the King of Kings? He doesn’t need one! God has already given Him many and no name that will ever exist could possibly be greater! Hear my heart here, really hear it! What if we stopped trying to define who Jesus is, what Jesus is, or how Jesus is and just started trusting in Him? I’m not talking about the superficial trust that we so often throw over ourselves like the finest silk, calling it true when in reality it only lasts until something hurts us! I’m talking about a trust that never wavers! What if we trusted Him when it hurts? What if we trusted Him when we bleed because of it? What if we trusted Him when every single person around us hates us on account of it, or when we are at our absolute lowest and see no way out?
What if we stopped trying to define the Son of God and let Him define us? What if we stopped trying to put Him in a box, better yet, what if we destroyed the box?
There is a point behind all of this, I promise! Jesus Christ is so infinitely complex yet, for our sake, He became a carpenter with dirty hands and calloused fingers. He is so unimaginably elaborate yet, for our sake, He became evident! He made Himself known. He made Himself apparent. He made Himself simple. All for us, who spend more time trying to define Him than we spend trusting Him.
We grow up hearing about Him and learning about Him— at this point in time it is rare to find a person who has never heard of Him— and as we learn we begin to try to fit Him into our lives. How does Jesus work for me? Who is Jesus for me? What has He done for me? Oooh, ooh, what can He DO for me? The Lord of Lords reduced a genie in a bottle for a people who want a God who will give them everything that they want, rather than giving Him everything that they are.
It would be difficult to say that none of us have ever heard even one thing about Jesus at some point in our lives! I mean, look at Christianity as a whole! We are all professional theologians when it comes to sharing our extensive knowledge of the Lord with others! How many of us are unable to fully grasp the immeasurable beauty of Jesus Christ, or are willing to admit that we are?
We all know Him. We all know His message. We all know His ministry. Right? We say yes, and point to the cross because that’s we’re supposed to do… Right? It’s always the best answer! This may hurt a few toes but the ministry of Jesus wasn’t the cross, the purpose of Christ was the cross. The result of His love was the cross! His ministry was “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The ministry of Christ Jesus was “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” Someone so inexhaustibly complex gave us something so simple.
It can be so easy to jump on the bandwagon that goes this way, or that, getting caught up in the mundane and taxing processes of western Christianity. It can be tempting to fall into the appealing doctrines that rise up every day, preaching grace while condoning sin and materialism. It can be alluring to fall into the teachings of modern spiritualism, with its promises of enlightenment. It can be so easy to do these things and is often much more appealing because Christianity is hard! Let’s face it, it can be painful! It isn’t easy but it is simple!
If we would stop for a moment and let ourselves break away from the hype and the promises of modern western Christianity, stop burdening ourselves with the overwhelming amount of chores that we give ourselves in order to appear more Christian, and stop trying to cram the Son of the Living God into a box that can fit in our tiny brains we might just learn something important! It is not and never has been about how much we know! It’s not about how much we understand, how good we look to others, or how wise we are! It’s about loving God with every facet of our lives and loving every single person that we come into contact with, with the same amount of tender affection and care that we love ourselves!
We can get so caught up in trying to be the smartest, wisest, most righteous, the most extravagantly theologic Christian in our church that we forget that one of the very last things Jesus spoke before He ascended to heaven was “feed My sheep… feed My lambs.” Granted, that conversation with Peter was, in many ways, Jesus giving Peter the opportunity to profess his love for Him after having denied Him but it was also an expression of Christ’s will for us all! “Do you love Me?” He asked, “Then feed My sheep. Feed My lambs.” He didn’t say, “do you love Me? Then learn as much as you can and be better than everyone because only those who fully understand Me and who can define Me will see the kingdom of God.”
I’m not saying that knowledge, wisdom, and understanding don’t play a very important role in our lives or that righteousness isn’t something we should chase passionately! I’m saying that every single one of those things is the product of His love and life in us! Our goal isn’t to gain as much knowledge, wisdom, and understanding as we can but to love God entirely and to love others unconditionally! That love results in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding! After all, the Word of God itself tells us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” that “Christ has become for us wisdom and righteousness” and “this is how we know that we have come to know Him, that we obey His commands.” Jesus Himself said, “if you love Me, you will obey Me.”
Simple. If I love Jesus, I will obey Him. He said to love God with every part of myself and to love others— follow me here because this can seem complicated— to obey that is to love Him! We cannot possibly do one without doing the other! He made it so simple that if we just do one part of it we will naturally do the other! That isn’t about how much we know but it certainly has an effect on how much we know Him, even whether or not we truly do! We don’t have to worry about how much we know, can quote, how wise we sound, or how righteous we appear! We only have to obey Christ, Who is all of those things for us!
We walk around like the greatest thing we have to offer is profound and life-altering truths about God and Jesus when, far more often than not, it is the innate babblings of people who think too highly of their own opinions! The greatest thing that we have to offer is the unfailing, unfathomable, unconditional love of God! It is a simple thing yet the most powerful thing to have ever touched the face of this earth!
Our greatest weapon against the darkness in this world isn’t our ability to quote endless scriptures but to love others in the middle of the darkness! Our greatest achievement will never be how wise we became but how deeply and honestly we showed compassion to those who hate us! Our greatest ability will never be enough, but His will! Instead of fighting for these things and trying to climb the ladder of Christian success why don’t we stop and let Jesus be these things for us, in us, through us, and just be obedient?
The greatest thing that we will ever have to offer to this lost and broken world is not how great we are… it is simply, Jesus.