By WALTER ALBRITTON
The popular Baptist preacher Peter Lord got an “Amen” from me when I heard him insist that churches need to “make the main thing the main thing.” Jesus, he said, is the main thing and should be the central focus of ministry and preaching.
I could not agree more. Nothing is more important than lifting up Jesus so people may understand the absolute authority of Jesus as the Son of God. Christ alone is worthy of our love and our worship because he reflects and represents God himself. God has fully revealed himself in the Son. Jesus himself said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
All the scriptures point to Jesus. Their overarching goal is to make Christ known. Look, for example, at the well-known 23rd Psalm. David wrote, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want….” Hundreds of years later, a man is born who is known as “The Lord.” That man was Jesus, who said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me….” (John 10:14). Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the early disciples said, “Jesus is Lord, and He is our Shepherd!” And that Gentle Shepherd was sent by the Father to become our great Guide, Protector and Provider.
The writer of Hebrews, in chapter one, hammers home the superiority of Jesus. In the beginning, he said, God spoke. Over the centuries God spoke again, many times. God is not remote and indifferent. His love moved him to make himself known. He did that supremely when he sent his Son to be born in a stable. In the coming of Jesus, God spoke again, decisively. He made it clear he expected people to listen and heed the word he proclaimed in Jesus. Remember God’s words spoken during the transfiguration of Jesus: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him” (Matthew 17:5).
Consider, according to the writer of Hebrews, what God said about Jesus. He is the “heir of all things,” having shared in the creation of all things. So everything belongs to Jesus. This is consistent with the teaching of John and Paul that all things were created by Christ, and for him. All things are held together by the “powerful word” of Christ. Christ, then, is the “glue” that holds us together. Without him, we are constantly coming apart at the seams. With him, the pieces of life fit and stay together.
Christ radiates the glory of God because he is “the exact representation” of God. He took care of our sins by taking them to the cross so we have redemption through his blood. When his work was finished, Christ returned to heaven where he was granted the place of highest honor by being seated at “the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
The early Christians, recent converts from Judaism, were at risk for slipping away from the faith. So the writer of Hebrews issued them a warning which we today need to heed: “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away” (Hebrews 2:1). The fire of our faith can dim when we become absorbed with mundane affairs. Like the early disciples we need to become aware of the grave danger of ignoring our “great salvation.”
We can become so busy with endless activities, work and recreation that we slowly drift away from keeping Christ first in our lives. Many “good” things can thwart us from keeping “the main thing the main thing.” Parents can use so much energy helping their children become “All Stars” that there is no energy left to help them embrace basic biblical values. Neglect, more than evil deeds, can rob us of our love of Jesus and prevent us from teaching our children the value of regular worship and Bible study.
Today is a good time to remember what God said when he spoke, and to pay more attention to doing what pleases Him. Wise parents can get off the merry-go-round, gather the children for prayer, and resolve to put Jesus first in the family. Doing nothing may be to neglect “the main thing” until it is too late.
While life remains, we can choose to listen to God, give Jesus his rightful place of honor in our lives, and make new priorities out of gratitude for the great salvation God has offered us in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Answer the question: Is Jesus the main thing in your life? If not, start today! It’s never too late to start making the main thing the main thing in your life.