Does Jesus want you? We typically think of this in the reverse, as in, “Do I want to accept Jesus,” but for many of us–because of who we are or what we’ve done or what we believe about ourselves and the world around us–the unspoken question in our hearts and minds is really “Could Jesus ever want me?”
“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He [italicized word is not present in original text], you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
God is utterly and unapproachably holy; yet regardless of the degree of our own personal goodness (or lack of it), none of us is–NONE OF US. Yet the irony of our existences is that we seem preprogrammed to assess ourselves, typically in comparison to others (that’s why we hear people asking, “I’m not that bad, am I?”). And while God call us to obedience, that is not what saves us. But you know this; you’ve heard it a thousand times.
Yet because of this tendency to self-assess, those of us who are honest with ourselves consciously or subconsciously rightly arrive at the determination that I am unworthy of God, and that there is nothing I can ever do to change this. And this correct assessment can cause me to conclude that Jesus does not want me–which is dead wrong! The truth of the matter is that Jesus came to save sinners.
Matthew records a dinner Jesus attended at his house shortly after his conversion:
“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners (people who knew they weren’t right with God) came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners [their presumption was that Jesus would reject those who didn’t meet their standard of right living]?’ On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'” (Matthew 9:10-13)
The joke, here, is that none of us is healthy–we are all sick and need Jesus. The Pharisees (the “holy people,” the religious leaders of that time) didn’t recognize their need for Jesus and didn’t come to Him–hence, they remained sick. Those who did recognize their unworthiness–their sins and imperfections, the problems and circumstances that alienated them from God–and came to Jesus, He accepted!
Jesus accepts sinful, imperfect people. That is the great truth that we cannot underestimate or under-proclaim, because this is the message of salvation and forgiveness! If we waited to become perfect before we came to Jesus, we would never come because we will never be perfect (we could, for example, clean up some part of our life only to mess up another). Yet if we come as we are, He accepts and forgives us!
But, we must believe in Him. What does that mean? Jesus said, “If you do not believe that I AM [a declaration of divinity, the name God identified Himself with in the Old Testament] He, you will die in your sins.” The word “He” was added by the translators, but it is not there in the original text. Jesus is the One whose death pays for our sins, and the Bible tells us we are “accepted in the Beloved [Jesus]” (Ephesians 1:6), but it is more than even this. We must not only believe that Jesus paid for our sins; we must recognize why He could pay for our sins, that He was not merely a human being. John explains “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made…The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us…” (John 1:1-13)
Granted, Jesus is not the Father; during His time on earth, Jesus prayed to the Father. But Jesus also said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) and He admonished Philip when asked to show the Father, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father…” (John 14:9) John the Baptist furthermore explained about Jesus:
“The one who comes from above is above all…He testifies to what He has seen and heard, but no one accepts His testimony Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” (John 3:31-36)
Want more? Here are some other verses that clarify who Jesus is:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity [of God] lives in bodily form.” (Colossians 2:9)
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).” (Matthew 1:23)
“The Son is the image of the invisible God…For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17)
“…Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that Your Son may glorify You. For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. I have brought You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave Me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began.” (John 17:1-5)
“I and the Father are one. Again His Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone Him…’we are not stoning you…for blasphemy, because You, a mere man, claim to be God.” (John 10:30-33)
So, are you worthy of Jesus? Absolutely not, regardless of how good you think you are. But does He want you–will He accept you? Yes, if you recognize your need for Him and come to Him! None of us is good enough–we are all human beings with a sin nature incapable of holiness. But, if I believe who Jesus is and come to Him in faith, He will take who I am and make me into the person He wants me to be. And I will be saved. And forgiven. And holy by virtue of His holiness.
Dear Lord Jesus,