What Does Jesus Mean to You?

My old church had a volunteer position called, “Decision Counselors”. As a Decision Counselor, part of my job was to “sign up” new people who desired membership at our church.

Part of that “sign up” process was to first ask this question, “In your own words, describe how a person can go to Heaven.” I got some interesting answers, but most times, I’d get the “right” answer, “Ask Jesus into your heart.”, or “Ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior.” But I didn’t usually get just answer. About 95% of the time people either added a statement right before saying the “right” answer, or something after, “Do good things, read the Bible, obey the Ten Commandments, go to church, believe in God”, etc. Sometimes, the really well-versed would even quote Ephesians 2:8-9 or Romans 10:9-10, or some other verses that has nothing to do with salvation.

To everyone who gave me a “weak” answer, I’d ask a second question, “What does Jesus mean to you...personally?” These are the responses I received 100% of the time was:

“Huh?”, “What do you mean?”, “What kind of question is that?”, or my all time favorite, “Hey, I thought I was just joining the church, why are you asking me all these questions? I didn’t know I had to answer all these questions. I’m not prepared. Besides, it’s not like I’m a Sunday School teacher or anything.”

Okay, what?! First of all, “all these questions”? I only asked two. And honestly, the second question is a lot easier than the first! The first question is harder because in order to have the “right” answer, you’d have to know at least something about God or the Bible to answer it. But the second question I asked was just a personal question, “What does Jesus mean to you...personally?” There's no “wrong” answer to that. It’s actually less intimidating because I’m only asking them what their personal opinions or thoughts are about Jesus. Not something they’ve learned from church, not something their parents taught them, and not something someone who graduated from Seminary would know. This is a no brainer! Most people love to tell you what they think about anything! Most people love to share their opinion on any matter whether or not their asked! Right? Right.

I’ve not only asked this question at a 25,000 member church for 4 years, but I’ve also asked it of anyone I’ve met on the street, friends, family, and others who seem to be really “religious” and regularly serve at church or at local charities - and again, at least 95% of the people give me the same responses I stated above. Here’s the really sad part. After asking that question, and receiving those responses, I’d ask a third question to help them out, “Okay, let me put it this way. If I met you, and I found out you were headed for Hell, and I didn’t want that to happen to you, so I asked God if I could die for your sins so you could go to Heaven, do you think God would say, ‘Yes.’?” And 100% of the people I’d ask this to would smile and say, “Yeah, why not? You seem like a pretty good person!” YIKES!

Why is asking someone “What does Jesus mean to you...personally?” so hard for a person to answer? It’s not, as long as you really do know Jesus, personally, and you really are saved. But if you’re not saved because you don’t really have an intimate relationship with Christ, then I can see how difficult this question is and how it may seem like nonsense to even ask it.

Todd Friel (host of Way of the Master Radio & Wretched, a show on FamilyNet) puts it this way:

“Is Jesus precious to you?”

I love that! That’s what I’m going to start asking! Because if Jesus precious to you, then you’ll always be ready to answer that question, as the Apostle Peter stated in 1 Peter 3:15:

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”