Jesus is in between you and your problem. Jesus is in between you and your sin. Jesus is in between you and that person who gives you a hard time. Jesus is in between you and the Law, and the crushing requirements of the Law that you can never fulfill. Through baptism, Jesus is in between you and eternity, inviting you to experience the joy of eternity right now.
The image of Jesus in between is not my own but has resonated with me as it was so beautifully woven throughout The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This book will certainly get your theological mind lit up. Our ministry team has recently engaged in robust “faith and works” debates based on Bonhoeffer’s provocative writing.
In 1936, when Bonhoeffer wrote this book, he was grieved that church leaders were cowering under the umbrella of “seeming protection” by the state, namely, the Nazi party. He challenged the leaders to put their faith into action and stand up against the evils of Hitler and the Nazi party. Many pastors remained silent, and millions lost their lives. Bonhoeffer was one of them. He was willing to put his faith into action, counting the cost of picking up his own cross and following Jesus.
How could Bonhoeffer, or any martyr, be a witness to Christ, even to the point of death? Jesus stands between us and death. Jesus has conquered death. Faith in Christ given in baptism has signed, sealed, and delivered forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. What do we have to fear? We have been yoked to Christ. It is an easy and light yoke. Jesus is doing the heavy lifting now and forever. We are simply following Jesus, who dwells in between us and all of our good and hard days to come.
For Christian leaders, the image of Jesus in between creates three powerful emotions.
Risk. Move. Go. Try. Fail. It’s not fatal. Jesus is near. Build teams. Dream dreams. Identify problems. Ask the Spirit for wise solutions. It’s not me at work. Jesus is in between me and the future. I’m simply following Him, listening for His Spirit, immersed in His Word.
LCMS leaders, Jesus is in between us and our future as a church body. Have the courage to dream new dreams and to discover, develop and deploy the next generation of leaders. I am hopeful the current and future leaders of the LCMS, and her institutions, can demonstrate this type of courage. Please join me in prayer.
Joy is infectious. People want to be around joy-filled people. The more we recognize Jesus is in between us and our fear, the more our fear will turn to joy. Jesus yearns to give us joy. Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice!
LCMS leaders, feel free to display the joy of the Lord on your face while preaching—the Gospel is the best news ever! Ask for joy when you are leading your team, debating in meetings and problem-solving around spreading the Gospel! You have such an amazing calling! Have joy in your calling! Jesus is in between you and your grumpy self. He smiles over you. Smile back.
If you look solely at this world, you will be left hopeless. I could go down the laundry list of awful things happening in our world. That would be depressing. This fact gives me hope—Jesus stands in between us and the world. Jesus reaches out His nail-scarred hands to those living without hope. Jesus rose to defeat death to give us hope. Jesus is coming again. This is our ultimate hope. All things will be made new.
The next time you’re courage-less, joy-less, or hope-less, picture Jesus in between you and your problem. He is so near. Call on Him. Jesus is in between you and the Father. He will hear, and He will answer.