Monday, January 23, 2017


We have to stop preaching that Jesus came for everybody, that the sacrifice of Christ was made for all. Not only is it not true, but it has led us to a sloppy theology that lessens both the power and the promise of Christ.

It is precisely this teaching that has gotten up to a place where most of the world believes that Jesus was "a nice guy." And if He is a nice guy who came for the sake of all, then He can't possibly condemn anyone. Therefore, it doesn't matter if I'm good or not. It doesn't matter if I do right or wrong. It doesn't matter if I go to church every week or even once. In fact, I don't have to do anything at all because this nice guy who came for all can't possibly condemn me. And even if I do not believe in Him, I'm covered. Either way, I'm good.

Yes, this is actually what people think, and what is even more troubling is that this is what many Christians think. Many Christians honestly believe that God does not condemn anyone because He came for everyone, and His atoning sacrifice covers all, whether they believe in it or not. Whether they ask for it or not.

But that's just not the story that we see in the Bible. And we have to stop pretending that it is.

It is true, yes, that in all the Gospels, we do not see Jesus turn anyone away from Him. We do not see Him refuse to heal anyone. We do not see Him refuse to forgive anyone. The Man forgives sins so often that the Pharisees don't even know what to do with Him. We do not see Him condemn even those that the law says should have been condemned. So we think, of course, He really is just a nice guy.

But all of these characters in the Gospel stories, every one of them that Jesus had an interaction with, had one thing in common, and this is the very key to the entire exchange: they came to Him. Some of them came of their own volition; some of them were brought by others; some of them were dragged into His presence. But every single man or woman we ever see healed, forgiven, or fed by Jesus came to Him first. They called out to Him first.

There were blind men all over the region; Jesus healed every one that called out to Him, but there remained blind men in the region. Not all had called out to Him, so not all were healed. There were men and women struggling with health issues all over the region; Jesus healed the woman who wove through the crowds to touch His coat, but there were still men and women with health issues in the region. Not all had come to Him, so not all were healed. There were weary travelers and hungry souls all over the region; Jesus fed four thousand and five thousand of them, but there were still weary travelers and hungry souls in the region. Not all had come to the hillsides where He was, so not all were fed.

For some reason, we love preaching this Gospel that Jesus came for all, but then the astute world looks back at us and says, "How can that be? There are still blind men, bleeding women, and hungry souls." And there are. And most of us struggle to answer this question because we have bought into this broken theology that says Jesus came for everybody.

Really, He came for anybody.

That's the difference, the subtle little difference that changes everything. Jesus didn't come for everybody; He came for anybody. He didn't come for all; He came for any. Any who would come to Him. Any who would cry out. Any who would beg. Any who would weave their way through the crowds. Any who would touch Him. Any who would hear Him. Any who would seek Him. These, Jesus came for, and these, Jesus healed.

Not everybody, but anybody. Anybody who would come....

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