In 2012, a group of historians honored Abraham Lincoln in a towering way. On the occasion of President’s Day, they constructed a three-story tall tower of replicated books. There were close to seven thousand books used for the project. Lincoln was the subject of them all!
I remember reading an article about the project. It mentioned there are over fifteen thousand books written about the former president. That there’s only one person who’s walked across history that has more books written about him. Jesus.
If that’s true, then the two most talked about people in the English language represent religion and politics. Go figure.
Of course, Jesus is the primary subject of most New Testament books. Even when he’s not, he kind of is.
The book of Hebrews is all about Jesus. All the Old Testament references written in the letter point to Jesus. Although the author didn’t write in chapters or verses, you can’t read any of the chapters we created without reading about Jesus.
Whether it was Paul or some other person close to the mission of Jesus, whoever wrote Hebrews hoped to encourage people of faith. The book isn’t biographical. It’s not even a testament. Hebrews is a reassurance.
Re because it’s written to people who already knew faith in Jesus. Assurance because it reminds us of the way in which Christ fulfilled God’s covenant. Most likely, Hebrews was writing before the end of the first century. That’s how soon Christians began to grow weary of trusting in Christ.
In a sense, you and I are a tower of books dedicated to Christ.
We may not have written anything about him. But I recall God’s promise told of through the prophet Jeremiah: “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33). For a world that needs peace, we are the written material that tells of the goodness of God in Christ Jesus.
As the church, we are to point people to Jesus. Not ourselves. Not even John Wesley.Not our traditions, not our favorite songs.
I very much appreciated it when my United Methodist denomination changed part of its membership vows. We used to ask people if they would be loyal to The United Methodist Church. I half-cringed when I would ask that question. Now we ask if you will be loyal to Christ through The United Methodist Church. That makes a difference.
The difference is that we are pointing to Jesus. He’s the fulfillment of God’s promise.
I read something several years ago that struck me. It aptly described what a lot of the church in the US has become. We aren’t focused so much on Jesus as God’s covenant fulfillment. Instead, we’ve made Jesus a consumable product, maybe just another book to buy:
“Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the United States Senate, is said to have observed that: In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centered on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe, where it became a culture. And, finally, it moved to America, where it became an enterprise.”
The church isn’t just talking about Jesus. We certainly shouldn’t be selling Jesus. How can we share with the world what God has written on our hearts? Our focus is on living a life centered on a daily communion with the living Christ.
How will you point to Jesus every day so that someone else can experience that kind of fellowship?