When Jesus is Not Enough

January 24, 2024
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Luke 3:21-22 is one record of Jesus’ baptism. Luke’s version reads, “Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.’”  

Notice how much Jesus’s life was affected by His Father and by the Holy Spirit. All that we marvel at in the person and work of Jesus did not happen just because He was Jesus. Jesus is resolute, calm, determined, empowered, joyful, compassionate, and victorious because of His relationships with His Father and the Holy Spirit.  

Too many of us who have been raised in evangelicalism suffer from too much Jesus in our faith! Is that even possible? YES. You can have too much Jesus when your faith is just about Jesus or mostly about Jesus to the neglect of the Father and the Holy Spirit. Who you are, and your ability to experience fullness, comes from your relationship with Jesus AND the Father and the Holy Spirit!  

(As an aside, if you want to see how heavily Jesus your church is, pay attention to the worship songs this week. How many of them are only about Jesus? How much of the songs celebrate, glorify, or even mention the Father or the Holy Spirit? I have participated in many worship services where every song was about Jesus!) 

We are exploring what it means to BE. To soberly, powerfully answer the question, “Who am I?” We have seen in King Jotham’s life that he was called mighty because he ordered his ways according to the LORD. Further, we discovered that the three elements he ordered were his BEing, BUILDing, and FIGHTing.  

One of the secrets to Jotham’s success was to embrace the LORD’s definition of his life. The LORD called him to be King. At 25, Jotham embraced his identity and stepped into his kingship.  

In our last Overflow, we saw that for Jotham to take this step he had to identify an area in his dad’s life (King Uzziah) that was wrong. He had to reject this aspect of his dad to avoid a generational threat to his identity. I hope you have done some earnest work in allowing the Holy Spirit to excavate your family background and graciously show you generational blind spots. While I know the work can be excruciating, our Father sent Jesus for you, in part, to deliver you from the pain and woundedness of your generations. He cares. And He works to heal you. The work will be exceedingly beneficial and life restoring!  

Now, so many persons and forces work against you believing and feeling great about yourself. Jotham shows us the importance of locking in your BE. In His life and ministry, Jesus does the same. Whatever limitations you have in your life, whatever you are not able to control, you can absolutely choose who you are going to allow to define your life. Both Jotham and Jesus show us the benefits of embracing the LORD as the one who defines.  

What I love about Jesus’s baptism is the obvious roles of the Father and the Spirit. You must see that their presence in His life were major difference makers. Many times I have read books and heard sermons that exhort me to embrace my identity in Jesus but say nothing about my identity in the Father or the Holy Spirit. Yet, Jesus’s identity was Father and Spirit filled! This is the danger we incur when we limit our faith to just Jesus or mostly Jesus. Rich benefit awaits us through our intimacy with the Father and the Holy Spirit.   

Don’t take it from me. Even in His teaching Jesus regularly described the impact that His Father and the Spirit had on Him.  

About His Father Jesus says in John 5:19, “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing.” A father takes his child into the garage and shows the kid his new wood-working project. Jesus and His Father have such a healthy, defining relationship that Jesus prayed, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son my glorify You…” (John 17:1). Jesus loves His Dad and wants His Dad to be seen in all that He does. 

He trains His disciples in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” And in the Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11:2, Jesus teaches us to pray to our Father.  

If God is our Father then we have been made His children. Embracing our identities as sons and daughters of our Father, and experiencing His present day blessings, is essential to enjoying a solid identity.  

Jesus is amazing. I love Jesus. I thoroughly enjoy and am energized by my relationship with Him. But, according to Jesus Himself, I am supposed to receive blessing from my relationship with my Father that I cannot get from Jesus. This is not either Jesus or my Father it is BOTH/AND. 

And there is more! For Jesus’s core is also energized by the Holy Spirit. We saw Jesus baptized in the Holy Spirit in Luke 3. Then we read this in Luke 4:1, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.” Notice that Jesus was FULL of the Holy Spirit. When you conceive of Jesus walking in His ministry, you must see Him full of the Holy Spirit. When you see Him heal you must see that as an overflow of the Holy Spirit. When you see Him deliver one from demonic issues you must see His power as oozing from the Holy Spirit. Jesus loved the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit loved Jesus. 

So you can imagine Jesus’s eagerness (Could Jesus have been giddy?) knowing that His crucifixion and resurrection would pave the way for His disciples to experience the Holy Spirit! “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:25).    

Jesus’s core, who He was, was secured, not just because He was God the Son, but also because He was the Son of the Father and a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. He received different benefits from His relationships with each. Each loved Him and He loved Them. 

Jesus NEVER told us that He, alone, was sufficient to quiet our interior wars. He demonstrates and teaches the roles of the Father and the Spirit.  

If you are in Christ… 

You are a son or daughter of our Father 

You are a brother or sister of King Jesus 

You are a temple and a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit 

You are alive in the middle of full Trinitarian love. Rest in each. Be present. As you read Scripture, see the work of each come to life in the stories and teachings. Observe how each actively works in you throughout the day. And smile.  

Your core is secure in the overflow of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.      

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