Theme for 2023: "Jesus Is All the World to Me"
Scripture reveals God’s plan for the redemption of man through His Son, Jesus Christ. Throughout its pages, the Word of God tells us who Jesus is and how God’s grace toward us is demonstrated through Him. As Christians, we love Jesus not only because He is our Savior, but also because He means everything to us. As the hymn says, “Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all; He is my strength from day to day, without Him I would fall; when I am sad to Him, I go, no other one can cheer me so; when I am sad, He makes me glad; He’s my friend.”
Jesus is not merely a historical figure who inspires us to live and do better. Historical figures or famous people may inspire us through their lives, but we typically do not have an opportunity to have a relationship with them. Jesus is different. He calls us to have a relationship with Him. Likewise, Christianity is more than a philosophy or lifestyle choice or family tradition. Christianity is not a social group where we may have better friends or a humanitarian effort to physically help others. It is about having a relationship with Jesus Christ and deals with much deeper matters of life. In order to have a relationship with God, we must have a relationship with Jesus (John 14:6). Furthermore, Christ is not merely in our lives; rather, He is our life (Colossians 3:4). Because He is our life, everything we do is guided by Him (John 1:4). Hence, Jesus is all the world to us as Christians – He is oxygen for our soul, food for our mind, harbor from the storm, hope for our future, and the reason for our existence.
Having a relationship with Jesus Christ requires three things. First, we must know who Jesus is. God has perfect knowledge of us, to include our thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12-13). If we have a meaningful relationship with Christ, then His knowledge of us should be an encouraging thing. As our knowledge of Jesus increases, our appreciation for Him grows. Paul counted his accomplishments and status as a Jew as rubbish (garbage) in order that he may know Jesus, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering (Philippians 3:7-11). Second, having a relationship with Jesus requires us to give Him priority in our lives by loving Him first (Matthew 10:34-38). He requires of us what no other person could legitimately ask. He asks this priority because of who He is and because of how such priority orders everything else in our lives. Third, having a relationship with Jesus requires us to bear our cross (Luke 14:25-27). If Jesus was willing to come to this world in human form and suffer for our sin, then what should we not be willing to do for Him? Bearing our cross may require us to sacrifice things we want to do or achieve if such things work against our relationship with Christ. Hence, our relationship with Jesus requires us to be an active participant in His crucifixion through work, sacrifice, pain, and turning away from the things of this world (Galatians 2:20).
A relationship with Jesus Christ requires many things of us in this life, but it comes with no eternal regrets. As we study in 2023 what it means for Jesus to be all the world to us, let us resolve to grow in our relationship with Him.