I need Jesus.
There is a myth that because I am your pastor I am somehow closer to God than you, have a special ability or am uniquely qualified to speak for God. That my life is somehow protected from the struggles of the “every-man”. This is a dangerous myth. For me and for you.
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. (1 Timothy 1:15 ESV)
When the Apostle Paul penned those words he was at the end of his life. He had led people to faith in Jesus, planted churches, healed the sick, preached the gospel and, let’s not forget, wrote a huge chunk of the bible. Yet, he says HE is the worst or foremost of sinners and that Jesus came to save him. Paul. Church planter. Pastor. Bible writer. Sinner in need of a savior.
When pastors believe the hype that we are “special” and somehow different from the men and women we lead, it is dangerous. We can fail to believe that we too need the grace we proclaim each Sunday. Or we can believe the equally devastating lie that we are not welcome to “draw near to the throne of grace to receive mercy and grace in the time of need” (Heb 4:16). At least not with the same confidence the gospel affords us. We can fail to sense the deep need we share with the men and women we lead.
Your pastor needs Jesus because I can be prideful, arrogant, resentful, bitter, petty, obnoxious and sinful. I need Jesus because I can despair, grow weary, get sad, and, and, and…I need Jesus too because I need mercy and grace. Just like you.
Believe that your pastor needs Jesus and you will begin to pray for me.
I not only need Jesus because I’m a sinner too, but because I can’t save sinners. Only HE can. If I believe that the work is dependent on me I will overwork and over extend myself. I am not Jesus. I can’t save you. I can’t even save myself.
But something amazing happens when I sit in the shadow of the cross and in view of the empty tomb. I grow humble because Jesus saves sinners of whom I the worst (No quotes, because I feel like I’m saying it and not Paul). I don’t have to hide or deny my sin. I can point to Jesus. I also grow bold in proclamation of His great gospel because the Tomb Is Empty! When he died he took my sin with him and when he walked out of the tomb he left my sin behind. Sin debt paid!
So I can with humility say that I need Jesus. And with boldness I can say, with Paul, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”
I want you to know that I am a man who wants to know, love and follow Jesus and have been entrusted to lead a local church in helping others do the same. As Martin Luther is famously quoted as saying, “I am just one begged telling other beggars where to find bread.” And I’m happy to point the way.