Do We Have to Mention Jesus in Every Sermon?

PGR462AToday a student asked me whether I thought it was necessary to mention Jesus in every sermon. Why would a Bible college student even ask such a question? Actually, there are several good reasons. One has to do with the nature of the Bible itself. Students are rightly taught to respect the human author’s intent in hermeneutics. If Jesus is not explicit in the text, it can be dangerous to read Him into to it. When it comes to some passages, it seems hard to make connections to the gospel without engaging in interpretive gymnastics. What does the Proverbs 31 woman have to do with Jesus anyway?

Yet Jesus makes it clear that He is at the heart of the Bible. According to John 5:39, Jesus told the religious leaders of His day: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me….” Jesus is not the express focus of every text of Scripture. But all Scripture gives evidence to the truth that is ultimately expressed in the person and work of Christ.

Jesus is the end toward which all Scripture truth tends. When it comes to God’s revelation about Himself, Jesus is the “last word” (Heb. 1:2). This means that the conscious intent of the human author is not sufficient for understanding the true intent of the text. This side of the cross, we have an insight that the Bible’s human authors lacked. When we examine Scripture, we do not look to find Christ in the text. We look at the text through the lens of Christ. Is it necessary to mention Jesus in every sermon? Yes. If Jesus doesn’t show up in the sermon, then it isn’t preaching. Not really.


Published by

John Koessler

John Koessler serves as professor and chair of the pastoral studies department at Moody Bible Institute. His most recent book is The Radical Pursuit of Rest published by InterVarsity Press.

8 thoughts on “Do We Have to Mention Jesus in Every Sermon?”

  1. I bring up salvation in every message even if the passage isn’t talking about it. First, if an unbeliever is present, then I want to give them the opportunity to come to Christ. Second, believers need to be reminded about the salvation they have received. Third, if we don’t bring up Jesus’ salvation work, then the discussion about forsaking sin and holiness becomes more man-centered than Christ-centered. Christianity becomes a bunch of rules and regulations instead of a life lived with a Savior who loved us so.

    1. Interesting thought, re. bringing up Salvation in every message, however I would respectfully point out there is every every encouragement to preach the way of Salvation in and of it’s self, it’s called ‘Gospel Preaching’
      We never can know whether our listeners will ever have the opportunity to hear again, so the preaching for men’s souls is of paramount importance, the message is URGENT

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