Is Jesus Enough?
This is not a question that we hear discussed in the taverns of our city, nor in the country clubs after a round of golf. It is, rather, a question that comes to the hearts and minds of those who have begun the journey of following Christ. Last year, Beverly and I attended a conference in which one of the speakers described some extremely difficult times in his life and yet concluded that in all of them, simply having Jesus was enough for him. In thinking about his statement since that time, I am reminded of Jesus’ words to us in Hebrews 13:5. “Keep yourselves from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said ‘Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.’” Surely these words were given to us for such times as our speaker described and such times as all of us, sooner or later, will experience. The reference here is to Deuteronomy 31:6, where the children of Israel were told not to be terrified or afraid of the people on the other side of the Jordan. Their insecurity about the future was to be answered by the fact that God was with them. The writer to the Hebrews uses this reference to instruct his readers (and us) that the presence of the Lord is adequate to meet the needs of the future (as opposed to attempting to meet our own needs in the future by the love of money) and the needs of the present. (contentment) In this passage, Jesus is saying that He will never, never, never leave us and that He is enough! Despite this assurance, however, there are times when our gaze is directed from the Lord to ourselves, to others or to our circumstances. If we do not have the possessions, the position, or the prominence that we desire, is Jesus enough? If we struggle to find employment, or find ourselves in a dead end job, is Jesus enough? If we are treated unfairly in business, criticized by others, suffer unjust financial loss, have continuing struggles in our marriages or families, or are in the midst of severe health issues, is Jesus enough?
Many have had severe, and at times, lifelong adversity. The experience that I describe is slight by comparison, but nevertheless was used by the Lord to help me better answer this question in my own life. Several years ago, I was admitted to the hospital with bladder cancer. The biopsies revealed an aggressive form of bladder cancer which had a poor likelihood of control. Was Jesus going to be enough to see us through the unknown future? To answer this question arising in my heart and mind I decided to evaluate more deeply His love, His power, and His ultimate plans for me. Paul says in Ephesians 3:17-18 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” The width of God’s love in Christ is displayed in an infinite variety of ways throughout the universe. The length of His love was described as beginning before the creation of the world in His reference to the “Lamb slain before the creation of the world.” This length will extend throughout eternity. The height of God’s love will be expressed to us throughout the ages to come. “That in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:7) When God wants to define His love toward us, however, He directs us to the depth of His love in I John 4:10. “This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” The human agony was reflected in the words “I thirst” and included the scourging, the crucifixion and all that went before it that evening. The deepest darkness was spiritual and reflected by the words “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?” G. Campbell Morgan comments on these words in his book, Crisis of the Christ. “The words are recorded, not to finally reveal, but to reveal so much as it is possible to man to know, and to set a limit at the point where men may never know. It is the cry of One who has reached the final issue of sin. It is the cry of One who has fathomed the deepest depth of sorrow. It is the cry of One Himself overwhelmed in the mystery of silence. The pains of hell that were man’s portion, gat hold of Him, and man passes into the light of the heaven which was His by right, and which He brings to him.” In the light of this love, I am compelled to answer that Jesus‘ love is enough!
Turning to the book of Job, I began looking at, not Job’s questions to Jesus, but Jesus‘ answers to Job. They are contained in Job chapters 38-41. I read through the verses in these four chapters multiple times finding His wisdom and might displayed in an infinite variety of ways. Surely, Jesus‘ power is enough! Jesus‘ plans are described in II Corinthians 4:17. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all, “ and in II Corinthians 5:1, “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands,” and in II Corinthians 5:5, “ Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come.” If these are His plans for me, then I am able to trust Him to use everything He allows in my life for His glory and for my good. Yes, Jesus’ plans are enough!
All of us are permitted to experience situations in life when we confront the question “Is Jesus enough?” Part of the reason is that we may deepen our understanding of Him and grow in dependence upon Him. It is in answering that question that we enter into the work of the ages-eternal life- the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. John 17:3 states. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (KJV) We conclude, then, that not only is Jesus enough, but He is infinitely more than we will ever be able to measure, contain or understand. Throughout the ages to come, He will continue to unfold the glory and beauty of His Person in new ways to His bride, the church.
May the Lord grant us His Grace so that in these passing hours of our earthly life, we may even now make a practice of declaring that “Yes, Jesus is enough.”
In Christ, Richard Spann