Fix your eyes on Jesus

We’ve made it too difficult, too complex, this Christian faith of ours, this life we get to live.

Oh, that’s not to say it isn’t hard, but how to make sense of it all is easy … in a way.

We want to know how the world works, what God is like, what we’re supposed to do, what He wants of us, why bad things happen to good people, and on, and on.

And to answer these questions we have a way of looking at the world. Sometimes this is called a world-view, or a frame of reference. It interprets the world for us.

Maybe we interpret the world and God through science, or through religion (Christian or not) or in terms of a moral code, or the idea of karma, or any number of philosophies in any number of combinations. For a while they work, until something happens that they don’t explain. It’s like this world-view is a hypothesis which is fine until some facts come along to disprove it … and we have to think again.

Maybe like the apostle Paul, it’s that when we were children we thought like children, but then we grew up and put away childish things: the faith we grew up with, the religion that was perhaps imposed upon us. We became adults and those explanations of life no longer satisfied us. Having unburdened ourselves of these views we felt free … but something nagged at us and, sooner or later, the new frame of reference was no use either.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

1 Corinthians 13:11

But I’d like to suggest that there is one world-view, one frame of reference that will make sense of everything. And it’s not a philosophy and not a religion.

It’s a person: Jesus!

backlit cemetery christianity clouds

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews – 1st-century Jewish believers – explains it well and sums it up in one phrase:

Let us … fix our eyes on Jesus.

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Do you want to know what God is like?

Fix your eyes on Jesus!

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

Hebrews 1:3

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “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. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.

John 14:8-11

Do you want to know how the world was made?

Fix your eyes on Jesus!

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

Hebrews 1:1-2

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

John 1:1-3

Do you want to know how to live life?

Fix your eyes on Jesus!

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.

Hebrew 3:1

Therefore … let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Do you want the life you were meant to have?

Fix your eyes on Jesus!

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Jesus recorded in John 10:10

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Jesus recorded in John 17:3

Do you want a world-view that makes sense?

Fix your eyes on Jesus!!

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

C.S. Lewis

“This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”

God’s voice from heaven, recorded in Luke 9:35

Jesus is the beginning and the end of our faith, the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the author, pioneer, perfecter and finisher.

Focus on Him – not on church, religion, the Bible or anything – or anyone – else! These may be good – meeting together with other Jesus-followers (church) and reading the Bible are particularly good – but they cannot be your focus.

Fix your eyes on Jesus!

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13: 8

I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever!”

Jesus recorded in Revelation 1:17-18

“Therefore … let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Hebrews 12: 1-3

For more on this – and a far better explanation – I recommend Andy Stanley’s three-part talk: Welcome to Wonderland.

You can watch it all on YouTube. You’ll be glad you did!

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Are you ready?

Are you ready?

This was the question the speaker put to us last Sunday: “Are you ready?”

But ready for what?

He quoted the apostle Paul who, when warned by a prophet not to go to Jerusalem because of the danger there, said this: “I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.”

Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’” When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.”

Acts 21:10-13

Paul was ready! Ready to suffer, and ready to die if needs be.

But surely we do not need to be ready to die? At least not in the countries or continents where most of us live: Europe, America, Japan … We won’t be persecuted, imprisoned or killed for our faith, will we?

Maybe not, but let’s think of it another way. Suppose you only had 24 hours left to live. What would you do with those 24 hours?

The speaker showed us a video where people on the streets of London were asked that question. At first they were taken aback and didn’t know how to respond. They didn’t know what they would do. Then came answers like “Go to Australia”, “Spend time with my friends and family”, “Go shopping and max out my credit card!”

Some were good answers (great to spend your last hours with friends and family), some pointless ones (why buy things that you won’t live to enjoy), and some unrealistic ones (you can’t make it to Australia from London in 24 hours—or barely!)

It made us think about how we would answer.

The speaker—the pastor of a Japanese church in London—said he had thought about the question too, and concluded that he would not change a thing. He would continue sharing the love of God with people just as he always does—day in and day out.

He said that if you’re ready to die, then you’re ready to live!

Here’s Paul again:

My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

Acts 20:24

I trust that my life will bring honour to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.

Philippians 1:20-24

Can we say that? Would we change anything in our last 24 hours? Maybe be a bit bolder about telling other people about Jesus?

I would certainly change some things, but not the essentials.

  • I would go to my last Japanese lesson (if it fell in that 24 hours – or perhaps crash someone else’s if it didn’t!) to tell my teacher about Jesus rather than to learn Japanese.
  • I would post more openly about my faith on social media and especially what it meant to me to have only 24 hours left to live.
  • I would certainly Skype or call my children and grandchildren, who live on another continent, just to say, “Goodbye for now, I love you—see you on the other side”.

But in the main, I think I can say that I’m ready. Not in any morbid sense of longing for death, but simply being prepared and having no regrets when Jesus calls me home.

You see, one day, each one of us will have only 24 hours left to live; we just don’t know when that is—sooner or later.

We need to be ready all the time.

Are you ready?


The video below starts by asking a question about the point of life, and what we would do in our last 24 hours (in English) and continues with Pastor Tateyama’s talk in Japanese with consecutive interpretation into English.