You have heard it before. Little kids ask the question of “Why?” all the time. Right? We used to call my youngest son, Jacob, Mr. Question. Everything asked of him or just out of curiosity was with answered with the question, “Why?” “Why do I have to go to sleep?” or “Why are butterflies so beautiful? or “Why did Jesus have to die?” He has asked me all these why questions before; some of which are really hard to answer. But like him, when I understand the “why” of something, whether I agree with it or not, helps me define, develop, or appreciate my own thoughts and beliefs as well as those around me.
Over the last couple of months, I have been wrestling with the question “Why Jesus?” I love the way how Pastor Erwinn McManus of Mosaic in Los Angelos, California answers the question “Why Jesus?” He says, “Because Jesus is the why to my soul and your soul.” Meaning there is no better fit to your soul than Jesus. (Check out the podcast!)
Just like our bodies, our souls crave attention as well. Sunday morning worship is a great place to start. At my congregation, we will dive deep into the underbelly of God’s story to address the question of “Why Jesus?” from Epiphany to Transfiguration. Using the Gospel of Matthew to guide our conversations, we will learn that Jesus is relationship, light, blessing, and love; that Jesus sees the possibilities in us, that he knows our hearts, and loves us as saint and sinner.
This question of “Why Jesus?” has taken hold of my heart and the desire that St. John’s people be able to answer it for themselves. But God has a bigger plan for this question. Ten churches around the Twin Cities joined together to create a movement within the larger church to address “Why Jesus?” We have created a blog, a theme that addresses the question “Why Jesus?” for each week, Sunday School curriculum, a video series and confirmation materials, special music, a coloring book, and other resources for pastors and church workers. Check it out at www.whyjesusproject.com. We have now shared this “Why Jesus?” resource on social media with around fifty churches participating in some way nation-wide. At my church, staff will work together to integrate these resources into Sunday School, Affirm, Youth Group, and That Baby Thing!
My role in all this as a pastor and preacher comes down to one thing that I deeply believe in as an evangelist, and that is “Pastors can’t ask their people to share a story they don’t know!” Meaning we have to spend time in God’s story and asking ourselves, “Why Jesus?” “Why does Jesus matter to me?” It’s only when we can answer “why” to ourselves that we can share the message with others. My guess is that many people are able to do this already, and we can go deeper into “Why Jesus?” together in Epiphany.
So why is Jesus important to you? Because [you fill in the blank]!