“Jesus is the answer” is a popular slogan. Missing is the question. Jesus is the answer to what? What are people trying to convey when they claim that Jesus is the answer?
Jesus is the answer to our broken relationship with God. When God created Adam and Eve, they enjoyed perfect fellowship with Him. But Adam sinned by disobeying God, thereby bringing death into the world (Genesis 3:8–19; Romans 5:12; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:21–22). A significant part of that death is spiritual death. Humanity’s relationship with God is broken. God provided a covering for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21) and promised a Redeemer who would defeat Satan and reconcile God and man (Genesis 3:15). The Old Testament narrative gradually reveals God’s plan to save people. The New Testament shows us that Jesus is the promised Redeemer. Jesus atoned for our sin and restores the possibility of relationship with God.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 ). Jesus is the answer—the only answer—to our broken relationship with God. Apart from Him there is no salvation (Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5–6). The biblical term for God’s act of making peace with sinful humanity is reconciliation (see 2 Corinthians 5:18). Romans 5:10 reminds us that, in Christ, God’s enemies were made His friends and given life: “If, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”
Jesus is the answer to the problem of our estrangement from God. It is Jesus who makes it possible for our sins to be forgiven and for us to be children of God (John 1:12–13). It is Jesus who mends our relationship with God so that we can fellowship with Him during our lifetimes as well as eventually live with Him for eternity.
Jesus is the answer to our guilty consciences. Even after we are saved, we still sin and experience the temporal consequences of sin. Sin keeps us from fellowshipping with God fully. But we have God’s promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Jesus is the One who “washes our feet” of daily impurities, even after we have been “fully bathed” (see John 13:10). Jesus is the reason we can receive forgiveness and be purified. He is the answer to our sin problem both now and for eternity.
Jesus is the answer to our broken relationships with each other. When Adam and Eve sinned, not only did they break their relationship with God, but they also damaged their relationship with each other (see Genesis 3:12, 16). Humans have been struggling in relationship to one another ever since (see Genesis 4:8). This relational breakdown manifests in various ways, including the walls we erect between races. In the New Testament era, there was a major division between Gentiles and Jews. Jesus is the answer to all types of disharmony: “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups [Jew and Gentile] one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. . . . His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you [Gentiles] who were far away and peace to those [Jews] who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Ephesians 2:14–18; cf. Galatians 3:26–29).
Jesus instructed His followers to love one another humbly and sacrificially (John 13:34–35). Jesus prayed for unity among His followers (John 17), a unity embraced by the early church (Acts 8 and 10). Because we have received forgiveness in Jesus, we can forgive others. Jesus is the answer for our relational turmoil.
Jesus is the answer to a meaningless existence. The writer of Ecclesiastes bewails the meaninglessness of worldly pursuits apart from God. When we are spiritually dead, life is ultimately empty. Nothing in this world will fully satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts (see Psalm 73:25). But, in Jesus, we have purpose. He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). The Christian life is a fruitful life. We are invited to be part of God’s work in the world, tasked with sharing the gospel and making disciples (Matthew 28:18–20). We can do nothing apart from Jesus, but in Him we bear much fruit (John 15:5).
Jesus is the answer to our worries and doubts. Life involves hardship, and with hardship come worries, fears, and doubts. Jesus told His followers, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus reminded us of God’s love and care (Matthew 6:24–33). Jesus also gave us the Holy Spirit to live with us forever (John 14:15–21; 16:7–15). Jesus is the reason we are not alone. Jesus is the answer to our fears and heartaches. He is able to sympathize with us because He has lived a human life in this broken world (Hebrews 4:15–16). Jesus gives us peace and equips us to endure, and even rejoice in, the hardships of this life (James 1:2–5).
Jesus is the answer to the problems of the world. Experience tells us that the world is broken and in need of repair—sometimes its brokenness is rather obvious. Jesus is the answer. He has a plan to fix this broken world: “The government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:6–7). World peace has proved an elusive goal in our war-torn world, but one day Jesus will set all things right, and the Prince of Peace will rule in true justice, ushering in a time of blessing and bounty the world has never seen (Isaiah 11). Revelation 21 predicts a new heaven and new earth: “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:3–5).
A day is coming when the world’s problems will be solved; everything will be made new, and peace will reign. This is because of Jesus. We eagerly await His return, trusting that “the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
No matter what our individual needs, Jesus is the answer for our lives today, and He promises a better future to come.
Prophet Nathan Emol