Is Jesus Irrelevant?

Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man (Jesus) came to seek and to save what was lost.

I unplugged my alarm clock. Well actually it was my husband, Scott. He took one look at the web of cords dangling from the outlet next to my end of the bed and pronounced it a fire hazard. That clock has sat on my nightstand for over twenty-five years. Honestly, it has become a bit of a "security blanket" for me.

It has seen me through college all-nighters, midnight feedings and early morning runs. It is my silent friend that greets me throughout the night. My alarm clock has granted me hundreds of extra hours of sleep over the years, one blurry-eyed peak at a time.

I wasn't entirely certain I could function without it. Nevertheless, I decided I'd attempt to creep out of the 1980s with a test run of waking up one morning to the sound of an iPhone app. I have managed for over a week now. It appears my alarm clock will join my typewriter, corded phone and desktop in the pile of electronics labeled "irrelevant".

This morning I am studying Matthew 4. In this passage, Jesus takes a trek through the desert that honestly sounds like zero fun to me. He fasts for forty days and nights. The thought alone is invoking Chewbacca-esque noises from my abdomen. Then He endures a show-down with Satan in which He is tempted body, spirit and soul.

As Jesus marches out of the wilderness bolstered by a victory seen only by God, He moves into the true ministry phase of His life. Matthew records for us that Jesus, like His cousin John, preaches a singular message. From the wilderness on His basic sermon outline was "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." (Verse 17)

I could under no set of circumstances imagine the pastor of a modern day American church standing up and delivering such a simple sermon. Every seminary graduate learns that an effective sermon requires a minimum of three main points. In fact most churches would consider this sermon to be far too negative, condemning and judgmental to be deemed acceptable. Should Jesus' model for preaching go the way of my alarm clock - outdated and irrelevant?

But Jesus isn't irrelevant. He transforms every aspect of my life. He isn't just relevant to my life. He is essential. So what of His sermon?

Jesus came for one reason only: to seek and to save the lost. Without repentance, there is no salvation. Without repentance, Jesus came for no purpose. Without repentance, Jesus becomes irrelevant.

Jesus, today I see my sin through a magnifying glass. Your grace was poured out on me because I needed it so desperately. I still do. Today help me focus on just one area in my life where I need to repent. Through repentance I will experience a fresh shower of Your amazing grace and draw another step closer to Your precious heart.

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