Is Jesus better than His own Life?

 

So today I heard another piffy contrast that is unbelief disguised in false humility and nonsense.  I have seen a trend in some Christian circles that think coming up with nifty-piffy contrasts is the height of spiritual wisdom. It is usually a man-centered view in what it means to be God-centered. If it is self-disparaging and puts, “to the glory of God,” or “gospel-centered,” in it, then it does not matter how heretical it is, people will eat it up.

We don’t come to Jesus because He makes life better.

We come to Jesus because He’s better than life. – Matt Chandler

This is my question. Which life is Jesus better than? Is Jesus’ life better than a sinful life? Well of course He is, because He will personally punish sin, and such a person will end up in eternal death and torment of hell fire. Sin is sowed and death is reaped. A sinful mind is a mind blinded to a correct understanding of reality. It is intellectual death. Thus, sin is a life of death; its not life in the truest since.

But, what about being healed? Is Jesus better than His life that heals our life? Is Jesus better than His own life itself? Is that even possible? If you remove Jesus’ life from Him, is He still alive? This sounds really dumb, right? Yet, I need to ask it, because some define Jesus’ life so wrongly that it turns this discussion into nonsense.

It might be helpful to see a similar problem said from a different angle. Here is Vincent Cheung, in “All Things are Yours.”

A well-known pastor and professor was teaching a group of children something about biblical theology. They came upon a passage in which Christ performed a healing miracle. The pastor persisted with one of the children until the poor thing finally surrendered to the interpretation that the passage was not about the healing miracle, but about Jesus Christ. But the passage was already about Jesus. Why did the pastor forbid the child’s initial understanding? The advocates of biblical theology and the redemptive-historical approach are fond of boasting that they find Jesus on every page of the Bible. The problem was that this particular page revealed Jesus Christ the healer, and as one who would heal those who ask by faith. You see, this is what the theologians resent. This is the thing that the pastor and professor refused to permit. He had to destroy it before faith in this Jesus grew in the heart of the child. He had to murder this Jesus before he could take root in the next generation. And so he did it. And then he wrote a book and boasted about it. But Jesus said that someone like this should go kill himself (Matthew 18:6).

He claimed a miracle is only a “sign” that points to Jesus Christ. But which Christ? What does the sign tell us about this Christ? Does the sign “Christ is a healer” point to a Christ who is not a healer? Does the sign “Christ heals those who come in faith” point to a Christ who does not heal those who come in faith? How do you pull this off? Magic! What would a sign have to say to actually tell you that “Christ is a healer” and “Christ heals those who come in faith”? You just won’t let it happen, will you? You will allow Christ to be only that one thing about him you still believe in and nothing else. You will let Christ be only as big as your microscopic faith, instead of increasing your faith to embrace all of Christ. When the Bible reveals a Christ that is bigger than your faith, you cry heresy. This is what you mean by Christ-centered, but you make everything, including Jesus himself, centered on what you decide.

They are always going on about “Christ-centered” this and “Christ-centered” that. But this is not Christ-centered interpretation. This is voodoo. This is a bait-and-switch scam. …

A Christ-centered approach does not only see Jesus Christ on every page, but it sees Jesus Christ as he is revealed on “that” page. Who is the Christ in this passage? How do we deal with this Christ, or this aspect of Christ? If it reveals a Christ who dies for sinners, so that they can become righteous before God, then that is the Christ we see. We should believe in him and receive righteousness. If it reveals a Christ who heals the sick, so that they can come to him by faith and receive healing for their bodies, then that is the Christ we see. We should have faith in him and receive healing. If it reveals a Christ who baptizes his people with the Holy Spirit, so that they can become his witnesses by preaching the gospel and healing the sick, then that is the Christ we see. If it reveals some other aspect of Christ, some other perfection that he possesses, or some other blessing that he provides, then that is the Christ that we believe and preach. This is Christ-centered interpretation. This is Christ-centered preaching. A Christ-centered approach to the Bible will listen to what the Bible tells us about Christ…

Jesus said, “All things are possible to him who believes.” When you have faith, all things are possible to you. Of course the healing miracles are signs that reveal Christ. They are signs that reveal a Christ who is willing to heal us and who heals when we believe him. They are signs that reveal a Christ who thinks that all things are possible to us when we have faith.[1]

The point is that Jesus’ life, and His life He gives to believers, includes healing and material blessings for everyday things. There is only one God, one bible and one definition of Jesus and His life. There is more to Jesus’ life than healing and wealth, and deliverance for this life; however, it is not less than these. To subtract these from Jesus’ life is to belittle the blood and suffering of Jesus, that gave us this life, as a little and worthless thing. Moreover, one cannot do this without bringing in a foreign epistemology to the bible. Thus, the Scripture to these people is not their starting point for knowledge; rather, their human speculations are. The kingdom-of-self is their god.

 

———-Endnotes———

 

[1] Vincent Cheung. All Things Are Yours. Found in Sermonettes Vol. 9.  2016. Chapter 3, 16-22.