What difference does Jesus make?

I’ve read a lot of articles and watched videos by apologists and preachers trying to explain to us why Jesus matters. It usually takes on the form of logical arguments, historical proofs, and theological answers to questions that, frankly, many people aren’t asking. What are people looking for? What I believe is we’re all looking for authentic love. We look for it in our relationships, we sing about it, and lament over losing it. This is because we’re wired for love. When we experience it for real, it resonates deeply in our souls. And we find it profoundly in Jesus Christ.

I personally did not decide to follow Jesus because of clever theological arguments…did you? But threats of punishment or hell didn’t change my life forever either, which I don’t think are very compelling reasons to follow someone.

I decided to follow Jesus because I encountered a love and kindness I never even imagined possible. I can’t fully explain what I experienced because it happened to my soul. All I can tell you is every cell in my being came alive on that day when I accepted His invitation.

I talk a lot about love on this blog, and there’s only one reason for that. There’s nothing more important. Some well-meaning Christians will respond to this by telling me that God is so much more than just love. Well, they’re wrong. Very seriously wrong, actually.

Of course, you can describe God theologically in other ways,  just like you can say I have blue eyes and graying hair and I’m six feet tall. But that doesn’t really describe me. Theological attributes don’t describe how we encounter Jesus either. And they won’t tell us what’s the most important thing we’re to be learning about this life. For, as Paul told us, if we haven’t learned how to love, we’ve learned nothing.

If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal.

And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God’s hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains, but have never learned to love, then I am nothing.

And if I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value. (1 Cor.13:1-3 TPT*)

This passage is so familiar we risk completely missing what’s being said to us, for all the things we think are so important to God are turned on their head here! He’s telling us that love is all that matters. And, happily, that’s exactly what we’re all looking for, even if we don’t see it yet.

As David learned the hard way, God doesn’t want our sacrifices, He wants our heart (Psalm 51:16-17).

Think about it. Even God saved us, not for appeasement, but because He so loved us… (John 3:16-17).

On that note, while we’re fortified in our Covid bunkers, there’s a way to experience His love that will bless you immensely more than binging on Netflix or your favorite cat videos.

Binge Jesus!

I’ve talked about this unique TV series already, but I want to go a little deeper into this here. It’s on YouTube and it’s called “The Chosen.” If you haven’t seen it already, you definitely should. Here’s the official description:

“The Chosen is the first-ever-multi-season TV show about the life of Jesus. Created outside of the Hollywood system, The Chosen allows us to see Him through the eyes of those who knew him. No matter where you are at in your journey with Jesus Christ, this TV show is for you.”

Here’s a teaser….

Right now, all eight episodes of season one are available for free on The Chosen YouTube channel. They also have an app you can download to watch the episodes on your smartphone or iPad here.

This isn’t some boring, poorly made religious depiction of Jesus like so many biblically-based offerings by Christian movie-makers in the past. And it doesn’t just quote Jesus from the Bible, it goes much deeper. We see Jesus deeply connecting with people, showing them great love and kindness, and perfectly illustrating why He’s so compelling and has transformed so many lives over the centuries.

My wife and I watched this series all last week (We watched the “The Chosen Global Watch Party” playlist that includes interviews and behind the scenes clips).

This series moved us to tears many times, but more than that, it beautifully depicted Jesus in the way I’ve personally encountered Him over these last 42 years. Not physical encounters with the man like in the movie, but in the deepest part my soul. It’s how I’ve experienced His nature toward me and how He has changed my heart toward others. How I continue to be transformed by His love.

Like Jesus Himself, this unique series speaks to everyone, including those with disabilities (depicting Matthew with Asperger’s Syndrome)…all ages and even children (especially episode 3!)

I’m genuinely blown away by how this series answers the question, “What difference can Jesus make in my life?” so beautifully.

As Mary Magdalene told the bewildered Nicodemus, “I was one way, and now I am completely different…”

What perfect timing for a series like this to come out when the whole world is locked in their houses! The love and kindness they will see in Jesus is exactly what the world needs now.

Do your soul a favor this week….binge on Jesus….immerse yourself in His love and life. Watch an episode, or two, every night…ponder it, be moved by the stories, see how He speaks to your heart. And spread the word!

* All emphasis added.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 41 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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11 Responses to What difference does Jesus make?

  1. Cindy Powell says:

    Amen, Mel—a single encounter with the REAL Jesus changes everything! And regarding The Chosen—I LOVED it! Didn’t catch the livestream but binge watched all 8 episodes last week. I SOBBED at the end of the first episode and knew I was hooked. I’m always leary of onscreen representations of Jesus, but they do a good job of representing the Jesus I know ❤️ Easter blessings to you!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yeah, we cried a lot, too. The way some of the scenes hit me were like mini-Sozo sessions. 🙂 As I said, His love and kindness and being able to touch people at the deepest level came through so well throughout the series.

      Like you, I’m leery of these kinds of shows but very pleasantly surprised by this one. We may binge on it again this week! Easter blessings to you as well, Cindy!

      • Cindy Powell says:

        Right?! The things they get right are really stunning. I started round two last night, ha ha!

        • Mel Wild says:

          We have the app and they have some great bonus clips, too. I like the interviews with the stars, just about all of them cry at some point during their interview! 🙂 You know there’s something very special going on there. Praise God!

  2. jonahzsong says:

    Thank you, Mel. I, too, am a bit leery of shows that depict our L-RD. I hope I’ll be able to watch this series soon.

    Authentic Love. I like the way you’ve described it. The love that the world teaches is inadequate, and misses the wholeness, fullness, of G-D’s Love.

    L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

  3. I agree when you said that the reason why you follow Jesus is because of His love and compassion and I feel the same way too. Love this first visit on your inspiring blog. Will surely be back always.
    By the way, I am new in blogging and I hope you can support me. Just recently, I made a challenge for myself to visit at least 10 blogs daily for the next 21 days. During my visit, I will leave comment and have your link posted on my blog. Please come and visit my blog and leave a comment as well.

    I followed your blog too.

  4. Pingback: This is what Love (actually) looks like | In My Father's House

  5. Phillip says:

    “I personally did not decide to follow Jesus because of clever theological arguments…did you? But threats of punishment or hell didn’t change my life forever either, which I don’t think are very compelling reasons to follow someone.”

    John Henry Newman makes a similar argument that it isn’t a certainty that leads people to assent to faith in God, but rather it is the probabilities of several different factors: some theological, historical, personal, emotional, desire for love, etc.

    Of course, why does man search for God? As you posit love as the reason, how does one come to know love? Can someone know love without the sense of a hug? Without the care of a parent or spouse? A loving look? A passionate kiss? The knowledge of love comes from the sense just like any other knowledge. And so, God does indeed reveal to us His love, but our desire to seek Him out comes from our desire to know all things as explained by Aristotle. And it is the very love to which you speak that does indeed satisfy that desire because unlike a material conclusion, one continues to move forward in love in the Godhead

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