But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility… Ephesians 2:13-14
Sometimes we look at Jesus the same way we look at Santa Claus. If we’re good boys and girls and stay off the naughty list we’ll get gifts. The better we are, the better the gifts. There is a contemporary viewpoint that sees Jesus as this celestial benefactor with a bag full of blessings and gifts to pass out as he sees appropriate measured against our character and behavior. Even if we don’t see Jesus in this extreme sense, maybe you do see Jesus primarily as the one who is the giver of rewards and blessings. While Jesus does give good gifts, what if there is more? What if there is so much more?
What if Jesus wasn’t just the giver, but actually THE gift. What if we could see Jesus, not just as the one who rewards His children, but as THE reward himself. What if we realized, as Ephesians 2:13-14 that Jesus doesn’t offer us peace as an accessory, but that Jesus was the peace – the Prince of Peace and He offers himself to us. Psalm 73:26 says “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” In other words – God doesn’t just offer us a side of strength to go with our daily bread, but that He is strength and He has given himself to us. Oh, and what about the daily bread that we need day to day? Jesus said in John 6:35 “I am the bread of life”. Jesus doesn’t just give you daily bread – He is the daily bread. Paul wrote in Philippians 3:14 that he wanted to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” What was the prize? It was Jesus!
The Christian life is not about what Jesus gives us, or what we can get from Jesus. It’s not about getting your best life, or finding the path of favor. It’s about getting Jesus, knowing that Jesus is more than enough. Jesus is the best gift. He is the greatest reward. Jesus is not just the giver, but He himself is the gift! When this truth gets in our heart it changes the way we see Jesus and our live’s circumstances. It frees us up live like Moses, who “choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” (Hebrews 11:25-26)
What was his reward? The writer of Hebrews explains in the next few verses: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
The reward is Jesus!