What does “i need Jesus.” mean?

“i need Jesus.” is a simple phrase that can be broken down and further explained in its three parts. It is intentionally designed to both prompt a deeper discussion about the life and work of Jesus, and also to allow an opportunity to share a first-hand account of how that life and work of Jesus has totally transformed the person involved.

The lowercase ‘i’…

…signifies our position in God’s universe. We are created by God, given worth and dignity, designed to be his glorious servants that rule the earth. But our sins, the things we have done that either disobey God’s direct commands or that fail to live up to His perfect standard, have prevented us from doing what He desires of us. Therefore, because we have broken His universal laws, we have been made low, lower than we ever were intended to be, and instead of receiving life, we deserve the just punishment for breaking those laws – which is death. Instead of living up to the divine potential within us, we have chosen to live for ourselves, indulging in shadows of the true riches that God had intended for us.
The lowercase ‘i’ is also a reminder and an opportunity to share how we have been guilty of this very offense against God.

The word ‘need’…

…points to a very real problem that every human has with God. Since we have a debt created by the breaking of God’s laws (similar to the way in which a criminal creates a debt to society by breaking its laws), we need to reconcile that debt. The problem is that, since the punishment for transgressing God’s laws is death, there needs to be a payment of our lives – the eternal life that we could have had as God’s children. If there is ever going to be any hope of us living in God’s paradise after this earth passes away, then we need a permanent solution to this payment problem. We need a way for God to maintain His righteousness by still enacting his justice on the world for its sin, but also we need a way of escape provided for those who love Him and cry out to Him for salvation from their death.
The word ‘need’ is also a reminder and an opportunity to share how we came to realize this problem and how we were shown the solution.

The name of ‘Jesus’…

…followed by the period, is designed to emphatically point to the only solution to the fatal problem that we have foolishly created. When Jesus came to this earth, he came as the culmination of all of Israel’s history – the anticipated Messiah – and he became the mediator between God and man. As the only man since Adam with divine origins, Jesus was the only one qualified and able to fill this crucial role of Deliverer-from-death. Jesus provided the only means of escape by paying for the debt himself and taking the wrath of God upon himself. By voluntarily going to the cross as a substitutional sacrifice, Jesus provided a way that God’s justified wrath could be satisfied and a way that all of humanity could have an opportunity to escape that wrath through him. He died for us so that we might live, provided that, by faith, we (1) turn away from our way of living toward his way of life – the way that we were always designed to live – and that we (2) place our hope in Jesus’ death and resurrection, believing that just as he rose from the dead, so also we will be resurrected from the dead.
The name of ‘Jesus’ is also a reminder and an opportunity to share how we have been transformed by the gift of life that Jesus offers.


Where did “i need Jesus.” come from?

The idea for “i need Jesus.” started from a very unassuming conversation centered around the question of, “If you only had one thing you could say to anyone about your faith, what would you say?” Underlying the conversation was a frustration with the way that church organizations were choosing to interact with individuals who needed to hear the wonderful, radical, absurd and life-changing story of Jesus the Messiah. There was either an emotionally detached and scripted process that is inherent in an institution-to-individual interaction, rather than an individual-to-individual interaction; or, there was a sense of “I’m better than you” pride that swirled around the conversation
How could we share in a conversation about this incredible message, while also maintaining an attitude of humility, realizing that we, by ourselves, are not capable of changing anything about the person with whom we are conversing? So often, the goal of those types of conversations has been about assimilation; how could we make the goal of future conversations about liberation instead? The result of the initial discussion was the simple phrase, “i need Jesus.”