June 03, 2024

Thinking about Jesus

Sinclair Ferguson
Thinking about Jesus

As people constantly bombarded with fragments of information, we can find it difficult to focus our thoughts on what is most important. Today, Sinclair Ferguson provides a framework for thinking clearly about Jesus Christ.


Our daily podcast is called Things Unseen, and a warm welcome to you if this is the first time you’ve joined us for these, well, really few-minutes-long reflections when we think about various topics and various issues that are important to us as Christians. But in fact, on Things Unseen we sometimes think about things that are very seen. And we try to do that, however, to borrow an expression from Hebrews 11, as seeing Him who is invisible.

More than any other culture in history, ours is one that I think has made it increasingly difficult for Christians to clear their minds of the noises and the voices that crowd in on us. And we’ve become a generation of people who possess vast amounts of fairly detached pieces of information.

One thing that’s changed, I think, is that we used to learn things by researching books and finding out information usually in its proper context. So, say you had a question about George Washington. It used to be that you had to find a book on the American colonies in the eighteenth century and then find the sections that dealt with George Washington. And two things happened. One was that, in the process, you learned more than you’d set out to learn, but also importantly and secondly, you’d find what you were looking for in its proper context. So, it wasn’t like keyboarding in your question and getting a specific one-paragraph answer that was isolated from everything else that you might know.

I was a bit slow on the uptake in technology, and actually it was only reading the work of some of my students at seminary that made me realize I could do what they were doing. Instead of getting up and going to my bookshelves to find out something, I could just key in my question, and hey, presto, the answer would appear on the screen. But then it dawned on me that I was collecting fragments of a picture, but I didn’t really know where and how these fragments fitted into the frame.

Now, if you listen to Things Unseen regularly, you may be wondering what I’ve been eating or drinking to cause these meanderings on information gathering processes in the twenty-first century. So, what’s the point? Well, I hoped you would wonder where all this was going, hoping that it might make my point just a little more memorable, because it’s really very simple.

The point is this: What I found in myself, and I think also seen in others, is that this bombardment of instant and often disconnected information has not made it easier, but actually more difficult for all of us to be able to stop and reflect—even for a few minutes—on the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to do what Hebrews 12 tells us to do: to look to Jesus and to consider Him.

Sometimes when preaching I’ve asked this rhetorical question (I’m not expecting people to reply out loud): Can you sit down and think for five uninterrupted minutes about the Lord Jesus and how great He is? Or is it the case that we can’t concentrate on the Savior for a few minutes without our minds being distracted and bouncing around to other things, or just shutting down because the effort seems to be beyond us? If that’s the case, it’s pretty worrying, isn’t it?

I’m not trying to come down with a ton of bricks on our failures. That probably would just have the effect of discouraging us all instead of encouraging us and lifting us up. But unless we recognize we’re struggling in this area, we’re not going to make much progress. And the first step to making progress is usually recognizing how weak we are and that we need help if things are to change.

So, I want to spend the next four podcasts this week, a few minutes at a time, thinking about the Lord Jesus Christ—or perhaps, more accurately, thinking about how we can think about Him. Because you see, what we need is not to make up our own thoughts about Jesus. I sometimes think that what we need is not so much to think about Him, but to be “thunked” by Him. What I mean is for truths about Him to be brought to bear on our minds and our spirits that will lead us and help us to think about Him. And that will happen only when our minds are informed and filled with the truth about Him.

One thing that always helps us to think clearly is having a clear framework or an outline for our thoughts. So here’s a simple framework Christians have long used for meditating on the Lord Jesus, and we’ll come back to it tomorrow. He is one person, and He has two natures. And the rest of the week we’re going to fill in bits of that outline. So, I hope you’ll join us again tomorrow and also for the rest of the week.