Very often during the ministry of Jesus, attempts were made to draw him into some controversial issue of the day. Whether the concern was healing,working on the Sabbath or defining neighbors his critics were anxious to involve him. But their agenda was too transparent and Jesus refused to allow himself to get caught up in these debates. He always redirected these discussions to refocus on more important matters. Jesus and his ministry were about people, not issues. “The Son of man“, he said, “came to seek and save the lost“. He had no time to get lost in issues. Reaching people was his priority.
It is still is, but how about his church? Issues remain and if we allowed ourselves we could be forever focusing on them instead of the gospel.
Jesus knew. Our world does not need more issues, it needs more servants. Issues do not save, Jesus does. So why get lost chasing the latest issues when so many need the blood of Christ?
- Issues splinter, the gospel reconciles. When issues become the focus we tend to divide. Just check out the Corinthians. The gospel has the opposite effect. It unites us in God’s presence and brings about togetherness among believers.
- Issues are nothing new. They have always been around and always will. And they always will redirect attention from more important matters. (Consider the Grecian widow issue for example in Acts :6:1-7 or the issue of evangelizing non-Jews in Acts 15:1-35) If issues must be dealt with we can learn from these examples to handle them wisely, decisively and graciously, but never allow them to distract.
- People want Jesus not issues. The truly unchurched do not know or care about our issues. They make absolutely no difference to them. “Jesus Christ and him crucified” will make a difference. All issues vanish at the foot of the cross. Our foremost concern should be allowing Jesus to be seen in us, not issues.
Issues come and go, but people’s need for Christ is constant. Issues should never take precedent over him. People not issues- it’s the way of Christ.