They know how to keep us coming back. Give us just enough to have us running back for more. A sprinkle here, a taste there. But not too much… Just a little bit of Jesus.
Most Bible studies are very good at this. A nice story, a few interesting word studies, a little bit of Jesus and a heaping dose of personal prayer. We hear things like death and cross, pain and resurrection, of course nothing you can do. But these conversations don’t really rest on Jesus, they don’t begin here, nor here do they end. It’s just a little bit of Jesus for you.
I’ve heard it said that a little bit is better than none. At least we hear something about a savior. At least we learn to crave a righteousness from God. At least we will be coming back next week hoping we get a little more. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing. Just a little bit of Jesus.
But I wonder if this is really the Jesus we think it is. Is he a God who fully humiliated himself below his own creatures? Is he an entirely perfect sinless man who walked the unthinkable road of substitution? Is he a Christ who drank in every single sin and transgression? Is he a son of God who suffered the entire way to his last breath, completely forsaken by God? Is he a Savior who once-and-for-all abolished death? Is he a Jesus who did every last thing; including forgiving, repenting, praying in our place? Is he the Jesus that never depends on our faith or our works or our intimacy with Him?
But when it’s just a little Jesus, I end up focusing a whole lot on me. My heart. My emotions. My confession. My repentance. My forgiveness. My life. My choices. My discernment. They might tell me Jesus wants me to be this way. They might say that I must do my part. They might encourage me to change my priorities to reflect my new life. But this is leading me away from trusting in him, alone. Just a little Jesus is not really Jesus at all.
When God sent His son to save us, He did every piece, one hundred percent. Christ’s work is the beginning, middle and end of the discussion. Even now, you can’t choose your bit of Jesus. He overwhelms you in your baptism into Christ’s death. He breathes brand new life into your ears and eyes. He forgives your unforgiveness and he repents for your unrepentance. He cleans you totally and completely so that nothing can separate you from the love of God. It’s not a little Jesus. Every part of you is him.