Jesus Saves: Jesus Son of God
Welcome to the first week of our new message series we are calling Jesus Saves. Today is Trinity Sunday in honor of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. For this message series, we are taking a very close look for five weeks at the Son of God, Jesus. We will take each letter of Jesus’ name and apply it to a message for five weeks. This first week we are looking at the letter J, and our theme is Jesus, the Son of God.
Jesus, as the Son of God, came to do something for you. Jesus Christ came not to condemn you but to save you, knowing your name, knowing all about you, knowing your weight right now, knowing your age, knowing what you do, knowing where you live, knowing what you ate for supper and what you will eat for breakfast, where you will sleep tonight, how much your clothing cost, who your parents are. He knows you individually as though there were not another person in the entire world. He died for you as certainly as if you had been the only one living. He knows the best about you and the worst about you, and HE is the One who loves YOU the most.
With that little bit of knowledge what are we supposed to do? We are to do this: We seek to give ourselves entirely to Jesus through a deep, personal relationship with him.
Does that sound strange to you, to give yourself entirely to Jesus through a deep, personal relationship? Maybe that is language you are not familiar with or comfortable with. Another way of putting it is to ask yourself, “Do I know Jesus, or do I only know about him?”
For 2000 years popes have been telling us the same thing. Just a few years ago Pope Benedict XVI declared: “Christian faith is not only a matter of believing that certain things are true, but above all a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
He also said: “Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One, do we truly become Christians.”
Maybe think about it this way When you date someone, you spend as much time as possible with them. Why? Because you want to know them personally. You want to know what they like and what they don’t like. You want to get to know their pet peeves and what their passions are. You want to know everything you can about them. But, above all, you want to learn how to make choices to show them that you love them.
This is what happens when you love someone – you want the closest, most intimate, and most personal relationship you can; appropriate to the kind of relationship it is, of course.
The same goes with Jesus. If you are a Christian, you are called to have a close, intimate, and personal relationship with him. But, many are unsure about what this is all about. If you are one who is not sure how to do this, it is simple. Don’t make it complicated.
As with any relationship, you choose how close you want to be with Jesus.. It is a choice only you can make. Your parents (once you get old enough to do it yourself) can’t choose your faith for you, nor can the Church. Many who are Catholic (and other Christians also) have only an intellectual or emotional connection to God, but not a personal one they have chosen in faith. To intellectually know Jesus (to know about Jesus) or have a movement of the emotions (to feel good about Jesus) isn’t enough.
Remember, in the bible we read, that even the demons know about Jesus and that we will all have times we don’t feel good about Jesus, like when he says “deny yourself and take up your cross.” This is why we must choose Jesus in faith, which is done through an act of our will. Faith is a gift God is offering you right now, and thus you being able to say “yes” to Jesus is only possible because God has chosen you first. He is offering this gift of faith, this relationship to you here today.
Once you choose Jesus in faith, you have to do it again and again. It isn’t a one-and-done deal. You choose again and again by making choices in your life, through which you live out your relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Your relationship with Christ is lived out primarily in prayer, participating in the Sacraments, service to God and others, and by helping others come to know, love, and follow God by making disciples of others. We do that by sharing Jesus with the world.
This is what the Son of God, Jesus, commands of us if we are to be his followers. This concept of having a personal relationship with Jesus sometimes sounds too “Protestant” to some Catholics. That simply isn’t true. We have been using the language long before our Protestant brothers and sisters were ever around, and the universal Church has never lost touch with this language, even if some individuals or communities have. Earlier we heard from Pope Benedict XVI. Just before him, Pope John Paul II said:
“It is necessary to awaken again in believers a full relationship with Christ, mankind’s only Savior.”
Very recently Pope Francis said: “Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won’t be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you, and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.”
So not only should we not be intimidated or frightened of talking about a personal relationship with God and his Son Jesus, we need to continue to work on our own. Think of it this way – every time you do the following things you are working on your personal relationship with Jesus, as long as you choose him intentionally.
Pray. Let’s say a bit about prayer: Prayer is our daily and intimate contact with the Lord. It entails the lifting of our hearts and minds to him who is with us throughout the day. Prayer is more about listening than speaking to him, but it involves both. A personal relationship is built upon personal prayer. Therefore you must make time in your day to be with him and not just when it is convenient. We make time for friends and important people, and there is no better friend or more important person in the life of a Christian than Jesus Christ himself. Second to Prayer: Read the bible. Read the word of God and there you will come to know Jesus as Son of God. Participate in the sacramental life of the church. go to Mass, go to Confession. Share him with the world. When you love someone you want to tell others right? So we should too with Jesus, the Son of God. Examples of a person you love, and a restaurant you really enjoyed.
In order to understand the meaning of your life and what you are supposed to do with it this personal relationship is necessary. It is in this relationship with Jesus as Lord and Redeemer, and as His intimate friend, where we can hear His call to us
So we are going to give you a prayer today. Notice how the prayer honors the Trinity, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Father, thank you for loving me and making me your son/daughter through your Son Jesus Christ. Before I even knew you, I belonged to you, and you adopted me in Jesus. Thank you, Jesus, for taking me into the life you share with the Father. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for helping me to know the truth of who I really am.
Jesus, Son of God, I invite you into my life. I forgive all others for what they have done against me. I come before you just as I am. I have sinned. Please forgive me. I renounce all sin, all evil spirits, and any way I have opened myself to them. I give you my entire self, now and forever. I accept you as my Lord, the Son of God, and my Savior. Heal me, change me, strengthen me, in body, mind, and spirit. Use me as you wish. Send the Holy Spirit into my life and flood me with your presence. Thank you for wanting to be with me. Thank you Lord. I will follow you every day of my life. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen