What is Jesus Doing?

Most of us are better at thinking about what Jesus has done than about what Jesus is doing. We know the cross brings forgiveness, but we forget that the ascended Christ continues to rule and reign over us so that we can live with courage and hope in the present.

One person calls this “the gospel gap.” We know that back then Jesus atoned for our sins. We also know that Jesus will bring a day of shalom and then we will be free of sin and struggle. The gap comes when we forget the gospel doesn’t only matter then, it also matters in the now between the two thens!

Here is a nice quote that can help us fill in the gospel gap:

While it is popular to ask, “What would Jesus do?” the better question was always “What is Jesus doing?” The first question assumes that the Savior is on the sidelines and that the burden of life and work is on our shoulders. But in that case the Savior is not really saving but is setting impossibly high standards that we attempt to imitate by doing what we assume he would do if he were in our situation. On the other hand, the question “What is Jesus doing?” is built on the conviction that he is alive, reigning, and at work in our lives. In other words, he is in our situation, and that changes everything thing about our mission. Rather than believing that the work of Christ is completed and that now it is our turn to try to imitate his life and work, we take on the identity of being witnesses who watch and testify to his continued work of salvation that is unfolding before our eyes.
— Craig Barnes

We are Dispensable

You and I are both dispensable.

God has given each of us particular gifts, callings, and tasks to perform. But none of us is indispensable to God’s work or the ultimate accomplishment of his purposes.

Here are some humbling and encouraging words from Francis Schaeffer in a sermon titled “Only Jesus”:

Our conscious practice should be that Jesus Christ is the only Person who is indispensable. By this, I mean that other people can take our place. God does use individuals. You and I are not two interchangeable building blocks. The individual person has importance to God. But we are dispensable in the sense that as we come to the end of our work for God in this life, because of either death or failure, there will be someone to carry on, because Jesus Himself is the center of the work.

Schaeffer shows how whenever one servant — through death or failure — finishes his work another servant picks it up. Cain kills Abel, but God raises up Seth. Abraham is followed by Isaac, who is followed by Jacob, who is followed by Joseph. Moses is followed by Joshua, Eli by Samuel, and Saul by David. The list could go on and on. Schaeffer concludes:

None stood at the center, but at the center was a Person greater than any other, a Person who gave meaning to each man’s noncenteredness. Similarly, Christ must be the center of the perspective of every Christian—not only in his doctrine but in his day-by-day outlook.

We are loved by God. We are redeemed by God. We are called into his service. But we are not the center. Only Jesus is.