Jesus is Truly Better

Shane Pruitt

DBU Patriots welcomed the National Next Gen Evangelism Director for the North American Mission Board, Shane Pruitt, as a guest speaker at Chapel. Pruitt has been serving in ministry for over 18 years, is a monthly guest on the Point of View radio show, a writer, and an author.

For students on the Hill, he brought one simple message: Jesus is better.

Reading out of John 1:43-51, Pruitt shared four truths on how Jesus surpasses everything in this life. In the passage, Jesus approaches Phillip, a fisherman, who decides to leave what he's doing in order to follow Christ. This, Pruitt explains, points to the truth that Jesus is better than what you are currently doing.

"Here's Phillip, minding his own business and fishing--and there's nothing wrong with fishing. But in this moment, Phillip could spend the rest of his life fishing or he could spend the rest of his life following the One who made those fish."

So much of the American life is looking ahead to what's next. A kid wants to be a teenager, and a teenager wants to be in college. Then, that college student wants a career, marriage, kids, and the whole American dream until--as Pruitt illustrated for students in Chapel--that person nears the end of their life and wonders where it all went.

"That's when the American dream turns into a nightmare. When you are so busy, always looking forward to the next stage of your life that you totally miss what Jesus has for you today. Yes, plan for the future. But see the Prince of Peace in the presence of today."

In verse 45, Phillip tells Nathanael that Jesus is the One they have been waiting for. Not only is He better than your current situation, but Jesus is, as Pruitt reminded students, the better and perfect promise. The Savior who follows through on His word.

"Genesis through Malachi, the writings of Moses, the writings of the prophets...they are all one big promise: that there would be a Deliverer coming, a Messiah, a Savior," Pruitt explained. "And this is what Phillip says, 'He is here. The promise is here, and His name is Jesus.' Jesus is the perfect promise. He makes a promise and can see it through. He might not always do what you want Him to but He will always take care of your needs."

Jesus is better than what you are doing now, Jesus is the better and perfect promise, and Jesus is also better than your own opinions. Reading from the same verses, Pruitt shared how Nathanael's opinion distorted his understanding of Jesus as the Messiah.

"Nazareth was a small and poor town, a town most people didn't like," Pruitt said. "Because they were so poor, they would house and feed Roman soldiers to make money; the Israelites thought they were traitors. So, Nathanael thought if Jesus was from Nazareth, then there was no way He was the Messiah. He had an opinion about Jesus."

For those in Chapel, Pruitt went on to illustrate how culture has projected subjective opinions onto Jesus's character throughout history. He did this by pulling out playdough and showing how we can shape and mold something into whatever we want, recreating it to fit our individual imaginations.

"It's really that culture today doesn't have a problem with Jesus, they have a problem with the Bible. When Jesus is talked about by culture, culture is not often talking about the Jesus of the Word of God. They are talking about a Jesus created and shaped by opinions. They are talking about a 'play-dough' Jesus." Pruitt reminded students that this is not only a problem that enters culture but one that can enter the church.

"We'll begin to shape and mold Jesus to become who we want Him to become, and we'll say 'I want my Jesus to care about what I care about,' 'I want my Jesus to be a Republican or Democrat,' 'I want my Jesus to tolerate the lifestyles that I tolerate.' At the end of the day, Jesus doesn't need to change. I do. The Bible doesn't need to change. Culture does."

Opinions do not change who Jesus is, but through faith in the Jesus of the Bible, we are able to change. Jesus is unchanging; He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

To close, Pruitt shared one last truth: Jesus is better than anything the world offers. In verses 50 and 51, Jesus explains that He is greater than all things and that greater things were to come as He was about to die for the sins of man and be resurrected to give us life. 

And now that Jesus has given life, we are able to have a relationship with Christ and an eternity with Him. We are able to live this life with Him, which is infinitely better than without. And how do we do this? Pruitt encouraged students to remember that Jesus is the Word and that He has spoken already through the Bible. He walked with students through how each book of the Old and New Testaments point to Jesus as God, as Savior.

"We never mature past the gospel, we mature in the gospel. All books of the Bible point to the truth that Jesus is better," Pruitt explained. "May everything you do in life be about Jesus. Everything points to the truth that He is better. There should never be a moment when we're pleading with God to speak to us if we have His Word closed, collecting dust. If you want God to speak, open His Word."

At the end of Chapel, Patriots were left encouraged to look no further than Christ. He is infinitely better than what the world offers. He is unchanging in all of His ways. And He is the better and perfect promise.

Written by Faith Myers

Faith Myers is a member of University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.