I bet all I have on Jesus

I’ve just been listening to a song called “Real Hope” by Colin Buchanan. We’re thinking about using it for our Men’s Breakfast at the Golf Club on Saturday (now looking for someone who can play and sing).

Ed Frost is speaking about being “Real Men” under three headings: Blood, Sweat, and Tears. The idea is to take us through Jesus’ tears (weeping over Jerusalem’s sin and rejection); then Jesus’ sweat (the image of anguish and suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane); and Jesus’ shed blood on the Cross.
Jesus’ real humanity was expressed in these concrete, dirty, gut-wrenching experiences. That’s what it means to be a Real Man.

I was really struck by the chorus of Colin Buchanan’s song. It goes:

I bet all I have on Jesus,
I throw myself on him.
The one who died a real death, for real sin.
I bet all I have on Jesus,
And throughout eternity,
I’ll marvel at the real hope,
My Saviour won for me.

Poker MachinesIsn’t it interesting that he’s used the language of gambling to describe what Christians have traditionally meant by ‘faith’?
It’s a potentially risky move, but he’s given us guidance to what he means by “bet all I have on Jesus” in the next line, “I throw myself on him”. The payoff is that “to bet the lot” is a concept which really works in our culture, where the concept “to have faith” really doesn’t. “Faith” basically always carries a religious, and increasingly, oppressive, set of connotations, it is often used in contexts where people are discouraged from doing due diligence before making a decision. In contrast, no one (sensible) “bets the lot” without making sure you’ve got really strong odds, without checking the sources and thinking about the consequences. The betting metaphor also has a great sense of all-in commitment. Once you’ve ‘put the house’ on something, you’ve got a serious interest in what happens next: you’re committed to actions that promote the outcome in which you’ve invested.
I think this is what lies behind Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount:
“Invest all your investments in heaven” (Matt 6:19)
He’s having a go at those who claim to be waiting for the Kingdom of Heaven but have all their assets invested in the status quo. Anyone like that has a deep-seated conflict of interest, “double-vision” (Matt 6:22-23) when it comes to prayer, to discipleship, to genuinely following Jesus. “You cannot be slaves of both God and money.” (Matt 6:24) Or as Colin (who, incidentally, is probably one of the most influential Bible teachers of our age) would put it:
“bet all you have on Jesus.”

Read the rest of my Mission Diary
image by dennis
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