The Bible teaches us Jesus is the center of divine revelation. For all we learn in Scripture of ourselves, our world, and our sin, the message of Jesus Christ is paramount.
The angel told John, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (English Standard Version, Revelation 19:10). This means Jesus is the center of Old Testament prophetic and biblical revelation.
After His resurrection, Jesus met with two unnamed disciples. They were fortunate. Jesus taught them from Moses and all the Prophets." He "interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself" (Luke 24:27).
In a different episode Jesus told the religious leaders, “It is they (the Scriptures) that bear witness about me” (John 5:39).
That Jesus is center of Scripture is telling. Of course, many believers don't need any reinforcement to the idea that it is all about Jesus. He died on the cross for us and, like we do in miniature every Sunday, we will forever rejoice over His great salvation. We know He is the center.
Still, knowing Jesus is the center of the Bible helps us see that He is the center of all things. Jesus is the most important figure ever.
The words of Paul come to mind: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” (Colossians 1:15–18).
I repeat: in everything He should be preeminent.
Since He is to have preeminence in everything, it is reasonable for our church vision to be "Jesus Famous." There are, of course, many ways to say this. But we’ve chosen to say it as our greatest wish. What we want to see more than anything is the fame of Christ. We want His name and life and death and resurrection and promises and implications to be celebrated like nothing else. We want our whole community to become overwhelmed and infatuated with Jesus. Other communities, too. We want the fame of Christ to invade the mind of every person who is ever part of the Calvary Monterey.
But why? What does the fame of Christ produce? Why would this be so wonderful to see? Why is it a vision worth laying down our lives for? What would result?
If Jesus were famous in our entire community we would see massive healing. Perhaps “healing” is not strong enough of a word. We would see resurrection. The great resurrection is future, but when people receive Christ it's like a resurrection now. His Spirit enters them. He becomes preeminent in their lives. You begin to see results described with seemingly no other word - resurrection. Health. Restoration. Life.
Poverty begins to decrease as people become overwhelmed with a generous heart like Jesus. Marriages and families begin to grow strong as people learn to forgive and serve like Jesus. Adoptions begin to occur as people learn of the family of Jesus. Sin begins to be cast off as people learn how much God paid for them: the blood of Jesus. Worship begins to be fervent as people learn the unsurpassed value of Jesus. Prayer begins to align with God's purposes as people learn the priority of the kingdom of Jesus. Justice begins to flow as people learn of the just heart of Jesus. Disciples begin to develop as people learn to have the mind of Jesus. Those enslaved to sin begin to be loved as people learn of the compassion of Jesus. Churches begin to be planted as people embrace the mission of Jesus. When Jesus is famous the core motivations of our hearts are deepened. The applications are endless.
Perhaps another way to understand this is by thinking of the converse. If a church or a man becomes famous there are serious shelf-life issues. A church cannot satiate a human soul. A man cannot be the answer in the quiet moments of life when only the Savior can deliver. A church cannot be worshipped as it will only crumble under that idolatry. This leaves the worshipper scarred, broken, or embittered. A man cannot provide the endless motivation necessary to surrender daily to Christ.
When a man or a church is famous a semblance of fruit exists, but it is artificial. It perishes. For a vision to be beautiful enough to die for, Jesus must be King of the heart.
Growing up I knew about Jesus. When I finally began to know Jesus I began to say with Paul, “the love of Christ controls me” (2 Corinthians 5:14). He became my engine, my drive, the One for whom life was worth living. I began to see that He was to be my everything in everything. More than just a guiding light, He is to be an all consuming fire. I'm to fix my eyes and mouth and ears and life upon Him, Jesus Christ, the One who could take all of me and somehow leave me more whole than before.
So we fix our eyes on this, the fame of Christ. We know fulfillment in no other. We know when Jesus becomes famous in an individual heart or community great health flows. This is our vision, this is our prayer: Jesus Famous.