by Tini Tadeo-Castillo
JESUS UNBOXED: Jesus Came to Save
Reflection on the message of Pastor Jess Lantin
I never truly understood the gospel despite many teachings I heard of when I was younger. All I had was head knowledge. I knew facts but not reason. And even when I was given reasons, I had questions deep within. And even when my questions were given answers, I still refused to accept. My heart never understood what kind of love God had for His children, for a sinner like me, what it took to save me. What did it really mean that Christ died for me while I was still a sinner? What did it really mean that Jesus' mission was to save me? Am I that significant? Did I matter that much? I was perfectly fine in my little kingdom, refusing the gospel for it was convenient that way. I was self-sufficient. Who needs Jesus? What made it worse was pretending I understood it. Oh the hypocrisy! I'd go to church to hear it week after week yet never actually living it out. I led a double-life, pretending I had Jesus yet refusing to let go of my favorite sins. I was bankrupt, morally and spiritually and eventually my career, finances and my relationships followed suit.
Even in that state of all sorts of bankruptcy, I was afraid to come to God. Two reasons--one, I was afraid He'd take away something I had set my heart to keep, my idol, the favorite sin that I still held on to, even in that hapless state. Second, I thought I wasn't good enough to come to Him. It took me a while to turn to Jesus, to accept Him and finally acknowledge His Lordship in my life. That one moment when I was hapless and broken, was what it took for me to come to Him, speak honestly, confess my need of Him. He met me in that helpless moment.
He met my shattered heart with compassion. Psalm 147:3 became very real to me. I loathed myself as I realized what it truly meant that Jesus died for me while I was yet a sinner, but He took my shame, carried it and nailed it on the Cross. He told me there was no condemnation because I am with Him. Exactly what Romans 8:1 and 10:11 promised. I had expected judgment and a deaf ear to my plea but I got a God who told me He loves me and hears me.
As I deepened my relationship with Jesus after that fateful day, I finally had the full comprehension of the breadth, depth, height and length of God's love for me. God had planned everything all along. As prophesied in the Scripture, Jesus would come with that singular mission. To save. Who? The lost sheep that was me. He was the seed destined to die. For who? For a sinner like me. Yes I am significant in God's economy that way! There was no way I can pay for my sins so His Son Jesus Christ had to come so I can be saved. It is not just true for me, but for all of us. If that thought is not enough to soften hardened and proud hearts, not enough to assure doubting hearts, not enough to make us lay down our proverbial guns and surrender our little kingdom...then I don't know what does and what will.
What Jesus did for you and me deserves so much more than just our excess time, more than just Sundays, more than hurried prayers and . He deserves glory. In every corner of our life, He must reign. In every action, thought and word we utter, we must be careful that our life draws other lost sheeps to Him. He is King whether we make Him king of our life or not. He deserves a life that is dedicated to serving Him, glorifying Him and making Him #1.