In his wonderful book Considering Jesus, author Dan Gallagher refers to a survey he took of random people he crossed paths with. Among many he interviewed about their outlook on Christianity, they had problems with Christians and even with God, yet with Jesus they were just fine.
This concept both surprises me and makes perfect sense. In a way, it flawlessly reflects the spiritual reality we learn in 1 Timothy 2:5 – Jesus is the mediator between man and God. Not just in how he died for us, but between opinionated humanity and the God we often struggle to comprehend. Jesus, a man like us, tempted in all the same ways, struggling with the same pain and doubt and fear and all the emotion we comprehend, makes sense to us.
This is why a relationship with Jesus is so important. Without that model of his life, that fathoming of right living and love, that bridge between us and the Father, life is so much more terrifying, more empty, more difficult.
Relationship with Jesus makes sense of the infinite. He is our mediator, our bridge, our brother. And relationship with him is vital to our spiritual, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
What is Our Relationship with Jesus?
Our relationship with Jesus is established scripturally as primarily that of siblings and Lord/servant. It can seem confusing at first that our relationships with both God and Jesus have a Lord/servant aspect, but Ephesians 1 establishes this well when saying that after Jesus’ resurrection, God placed everything under his feet. Now we, the Church, follow Christ as well as God, because they are one in purpose.
As the Son of God, Jesus is also our brother—because we are the adopted sons and daughters of God. This familial bond is further demonstrated in that we are co-heirs in the Kingdom of God. But Jesus is also called a Shepherd, the Head of the Body of Christ (of which we are all a part), our Savior, and the Way through which we come to God. He is the cornerstone of our redemption story—the key to our eternal survival.
What Does the Bible Say About Our Relationship with Jesus?
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”– John 14:6
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin.– Hebrews 4:15
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died in place of the ungodly.– Romans 5:6
How Can I Become Closer with Jesus?
Just like our relationship with God, our relationship with Jesus is one we must prioritize and tend to in order for it to grow. We must make specific time for him, a place in our sanctuary where he is our focus without the distractions of life. We also approach Jesus in many similar ways as we do God, such as:
- Reading the words of Jesus in the Four Gospels and reading about him in other places, like Psalm 101, Isaiah 42:1-4; Isaiah 49:1-6; Isaiah 50:4-7; Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Psalm 22, and other Old Testament prophecies.
- Spending time in prayer and meditating on his teachings, like the beatitudes and parables of the Gospels.
- Spending time both praising and worshiping him.
- Practicing the manifestations of the holy spirit, which is the “helper” Jesus promised to his followers in the Gospel of John.
- Training ourselves to speak of Jesus as our savior, our brother and leader, the greatest hero in history and our wonderful teacher and friend.
We also strengthen our relationship with Jesus by following the instructions he has laid out for us and by honoring the great commission he gave to his Church: to go out into the world and make disciples in his name. When we are doing the work of Jesus by walking in the revelation of God, we strengthen that unique bond with him. Jesus laid this principle out clearly for his followers in the Book of John when he said, “You are my friends if you do the things that I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his lord is doing. But I have called you friends because all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
What can you do to strengthen your relationship with Jesus this week?