Consider Jesus . . . According to the Scriptures: Why He Gives the Spirit to Us is Better Than “He Gets Us”

gift-habeshaw-QDP10NbwcyE-unsplashConsider Jesus.

Those two words are a simple command found in the book of Hebrews. More completely they read.

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. (Heb. 3:1–2)

In Hebrews, Jesus is the main subject. And his person and work are compared and contrasted to everything in the Old Testament. Jesus is like Moses, only better. Jesus is like Abraham, only better. Jesus is like Adam, Aaron, Joshua, Melchizedek—only better.

Jesus is the true and lasting high priest, the king whose throne will never end, the Son who speaks a better word than all the prophets, and the sacrifice who ended all sacrifices. Indeed, Jesus is better. And therefore, we who possess a holy calling must consider Jesus.

But importantly, when we consider Jesus, we must do so in the way Scripture speaks and not just in the way the world speaks or we thinks.

He Gets Us Remakes Jesus in Our Own Image

Right now there is an evangelistic campaign called He Gets Us, and if you watch the Super Bowl, you may see some of their commercials. Even if you don’t watch that game, you should know about this movement that plans to spend one billion dollars marketing Jesus and has made connections with Southern Baptists, until Kevin Ezell reversed course. Long story short, this is not a small movement, which makes their truncated gospel not a small problem.

The message of He Gets Us is one that focuses on Jesus’s words, example, and life. The goal, it seems, is to present a gentle Jesus to a harsh world, so that all who follow him might make the world might a more open, inclusive, and loving place. He Gets Us is meant to appeal to people who want to feel understood as they are, instead of being confronted by who Jesus really is.

As far as I can tell, He Gets Us does not focus on Christ’s death, why our Lord had to die, the judgment we deserve, or the beautiful provision of a sin-atoning sacrifice. Rather He Gets Us turns Jesus into a rebel against the status quo and presents his disciples as gang members who are spreading love, not hate.

In a word, He Gets Us is remaking Jesus. In the name of Jesus, He Gets Us appears to fall down the same well as the old Protestant Liberals. That is to say, paraphrasing George Tyrell’s critique of Protestant Liberals, that when they looked into the well from which historical Jesus was drawn, they saw their own face.

I fear He Gets Us is making the same error. In an attempt to appeal to the “nones,” who have no interest in God, the Bible, or church, they are trying to paint Jesus as a kinder, gentler, empathetic friend. This tune has been played before, and it has not gone well. Excuse the pun.

What Does The Bible Say About Jesus

Instead of making Jesus in our own image and likeness, we need to consider Jesus as he really is. This is what Hebrews 3:1 calls us to do, as it defines Christ by means comparison to all the types and shadows of the Old Testament. And this is where a passage like John 16 comes in too.

In that chapter, Jesus tells his disciples that he is leaving them. And worse, he tells them that he is leaving them in the midst of wolves (see vv. 1–4). And so, we might say that Jesus is like us, in knowing that his impending departure from earth would produce unbearable sorrow for those whom he loved. Yet, the point of the passage is the opposite. For instead of weakly leaving and hoping things go well for his own, Jesus words communicate this simple point: Jesus is fundamentally not like us.

For when the Son of God returned to heaven, he tells his disciples that he will send the Paraclete to come and dwell with them. Importantly, as Jesus’s face death, he proved to be entirely unlike us.

As he said earlier in John 10:17–18, he would lay his life down as a sacrifice to save his sheep. And then, because he, as God, has power and authority over life and death, he would take his “dead” life back up. All of this is proven in the rest of John’s Gospel.

For this reason (and many others), Jesus is not like us. And because he is not like us, we have the good news, that the one who died for our sins, and was raised for our justification, is one who can intercede for us before the Father in heaven, and the one who can send his Spirit to us, that we might live by his life.

This is the good news of the gospel, and the good news that is far better than “he gets us.”

Consider Jesus . . . As the Spirit Glorifies Him

When we consider Jesus as Scripture presents him, we must realize we are considering the Jesus that the Spirit of Truth is glorifying (John 16:14). Remarkably, in the same place that Jesus said, it is better than I go away (John 16:7), he explains why this is good. It is good because he will send the Holy Spirit, who will in turn glorify him.

Already in John 14:26, Jesus told his disciples that he will bring to their remembrance all that he said while on earth. And now, in John 16:13–15 he promises that the Spirit will come and report to them all that he hears in heaven. In short, the Spirit will come to glorify Christ in their midst. Then, through the work of the Spirit, he will lead his disciples into a true and accurate understanding of who Christ is. Bear in mind, until the Spirit came, the disciples still erred in their understanding.

Today, we have a true knowledge of Christ in the New Testament, because of the gift of the Spirit. And this apostolic testimony, in conjunction with the Old Testament prophets (see 1 Pet. 1:10–12), is what brings glory to Christ. And for us, it brings us “face to face” with the Son of God who is like us and not like us, In every way that we need and in all the ways that we could ever want, Jesus is who the Bible says he is. And those who know him truly, do not need him to be just like them.

Even more, as Jesus says in John 16, he has not given us instructions to follow, nor has he merely provided a model to emulate. Rather, when he was received into his kingdom, he sent his Spirit to dwell with us and to make us like him. This is the good news—not that he is like us, but that he has made a way for us to become like him.

On Sunday, I preached on John 16:1–15 and explained why this gift of the Spirit is better than the news that Jesus get us. You can find that sermon here. Next Sunday, when the Super Bowl airs the Jesus-friendly half-gospel of “Jesus Gets Us,” let us return to Scripture to see what it really says. And in returning to Scripture, may we remember that the gospel—when it is preached in all of its unalloyed truth—is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16–17). But when the gospel is cut off from the truth of Scripture, it is message of Jesus that does not save.

Why? Because it is not the Spirit’s message. For this reason, let us consider Christ as the Spirit reveals—which is to say, let us consider Christ according to the Scriptures.

We can pray that He Gets Us stirs up conversations about Jesus, but let us not put our hope in its ad campaign. Backed by billions, it presents a Jesus of our own cultural moment, not the Jesus of the Bible. And sadly, this hashtag Jesus won’t save. But the true Jesus, the one glorified by the Spirit, the one found in the Scriptures, he will save—absolutely and without fail.

So let us consider Jesus, and preach Christ—the one revealed in the Word of God.

Soli Deo Gloria, ds

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash 

4 thoughts on “Consider Jesus . . . According to the Scriptures: Why He Gives the Spirit to Us is Better Than “He Gets Us”

  1. Thanks David for this piece. Last night (2/6), while watching the news, “He gets Us” advert came on during the commercial . I turned to my wife and said NOPE. I didn’t have any background information of the organization but the message says it all. Once again we see another gospel (false gospel), one that is culture sensitive and man centered.

  2. Pingback: Salvation from Judgment: A Survey of John’s “Good News” | Via Emmaus

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