Jesus is the Center

In his book “Why I Am a Lutheran,” Daniel Preus captures the reason why the people of Zion Lutheran Church gather together for worship and service.

Why am I a Christian? Because Jesus is at the center and it’s all about Him. I am a Christian by grace, a simple yet profound work of the new creation in water and Word. I know Jesus loves me because “[His] Word gives life to water poured.” Because of Jesus, I face no punishment for sin, nor do I face an eternal death. I am God’s child, and He has given me His family of believers wherein He feeds me. God is so kind and gracious. Thus I live with faith in Him and hope that is born from His promises.

I am a Lutheran for the same reason I am a Christian. It is not by choice but by grace. The teachings of the Lutheran Church place Jesus at the center because the teachings of the Scriptures place Jesus at the center. No other confession demonstrates such fidelity to the truths of God’s Word. No other confession so glorifies Christ by placing Him at the center of all it confesses and teaches. Being a Lutheran is truly all about Jesus.

  • The entire sinful world is loved by Jesus.
  • God saves us through the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
  • The Holy Spirit creates faith by showing us Jesus.
  • In Baptism, we die and rise with Jesus.
  • In the Lord’s Supper, we receive our inheritance with the body and blood of Jesus.
  • The pastor proclaims and distributes the merits of Jesus.
  • All our prayers go to the Father through Jesus.
  • All our good works flow out of hearts that trust in Jesus.
  • In the bearing of all crosses in this veil of tears, our eyes are fixed on Jesus.
  • We wait with joyous hope for the day when we will see the face of Jesus.

Thus the Christian faith is all about Jesus. Being a Lutheran is all about Jesus. St. Paul says, “No one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). St. Peter says, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). That’s why we sing: “On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.” Christ the solid Rock remains always at the heart of our confession as Lutherans and as God’s people. The mission of the church becomes clear when it flows from Jesus and His work. Faith is living and grows where it is confessed because Jesus enables it to live and grow. We lift high the cross because on that cross is Jesus, the Savior, the hope of the entire world. Him we proclaim until everyone throughout the world praises Him with us.

Why I Am a Lutheran,” by Daniel Preus, ©2004, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, pp. 194-6.