Jonathan Parnell on the Preeminence of Jesus
I love this article by Jonathan Parnell. It is especially good for parents of young children, but good for the rest of us as well. Though our life demands are different, we can all relate to what he is saying.
I do recommend getting away to the library, or sitting by yourself in silence, or putting your apron over your head to pray as Susannah Wesley did in the midst of a dozen-plus children. But this is to renew ourselves to live the lives Jesus called us to. The point is not to live only for the times when we can get away, but in those times—whether they are a week, a day, an hour or 15 minutes, to draw from the infinitely deep reservoir of the person of Christ that will help sustain us moment by moment throughout the day as we call upon Jesus for His grace, and reach out to others with His love.
by Jonathan Parnell
I recently spent a whole day tucked away at a local library. It was a golden spot. Quiet. Secluded. I sat beneath a shower of grace: an open Bible, a hungry soul, a copy of Owen’s The Glory of Christ. I spent several good hours there reading and praying and preparing for a sermon about Jesus and his glory. It was easy to walk close with Jesus alone in the library.
I left that spot and within an hour found myself quickly ushered back into the mess of everyday life in the form of my defiant three-year-old and her younger sister who really needed a diaper change. I longed to be back at that library, tucked away from the mess and headache of real life — that is, until it dawned on me that in the middle of such a mess is where I really live, and that Jesus wants it that way. This is where most everyone lives, and if the supremacy of Jesus doesn’t land on us here, in the mess of the everyday, then we’ll spend our days oblivious to its wonder. I didn’t need to escape back to the library. I needed Jesus right then and there.
Talk About Jesus, A Lot
Our lives are not polished and shiny and set up on a mantle. They are cluttered and complicated. We get tired. And frustrated. But the preeminence of Jesus can’t be an “out there” sort of thing that we save for special days at the library. We must bring this home to the everyday. And one of the simplest ways to do that is to talk about Jesus, a lot.
We should talk about Jesus often and be clear about his identity, resisting every temptation to make him peripheral, secondary, or assumed. And we may find that talking about Jesus often brings his preeminence to have a deeper bearing on our lives. It helps to remind us of his role in two things we deeply care about — the gospel and the glory of God.
The gospel is not a mantra we repeat over and over again to power up spiritually. It’s not merely some divine mechanism that primes us for loving others. But the gospel is, first and foremost, about a Person.
A person, Jesus Christ, is the one who suffered in our place under Pontius Pilate. He died and was buried, and on the third day, the person, Jesus Christ, was raised. The events in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 that Paul summarizes as that which is of first importance are further summarized by this one word: Jesus. We can speak of the "person of Christ" and the "work of Christ," but rightly understood, they cannot be separated.
The gospel is about a person and that person is Jesus.
The Glory of God
The glory of God is not an abstract idea or motivation that we aspire to live for. God's glory is the radiance of the fullness of who he is, and that radiance is a Person.
A person, Jesus Christ, is the one in whom all the fullness of deity was pleased to dwell (Colossians 2:9). Jesus, the Person, is the Word of God made flesh as the ultimate revelation of the triune God (John 1:18; Hebrews 1:1-3).
The glory of God is a person and that person is Jesus.
We want to feel the supremacy of Jesus in our everyday, not just alone at the library. We love the gospel and the glory of God and we want the small and apparently menial moments of our lives to connect these massive realities. And at their heart is a person named Jesus.
So seek to stay conscious of him. Talk about him. And in doing so, bring his significance into your seemingly insignificant. The preeminence of Jesus is about our everyday lives.