Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.--John 21:25
I've agreed to give the lesson at youth this week. We're working with these 30 questions which cover everything from how to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit to spiritual warfare to end time prophesies. I picked one question I thought I could handle--Who Is Jesus? I knew it wouldn't be easy per se but I thought I could handle it.
But trying to capture Jesus in words, phrases, and metaphors has proven to be very difficult. There's a great song by Josh Wilson called 'Three Minute Song' on this very topic. How can you fit Jesus into a 3-minute song or a youth lesson? How can you summarize the man who changed history for all time? Now, I understand that I don't have to cover everything in one lesson so I'm not going to try. What I've decided to do is like a Jesus overview...a crash course....of our Lord and Savior. Let's cover the basic facts--when He lived, who He claimed to be, and who Christians believe Him to be. And then get into why any of it really matters.
Because after several false starts writing an outline...I finally just said,
"Jesus, tell me what You want me to tell them about You.
This is Your gig, I'm just the mouthpiece.
And don't let me get in the way of Your message."
And the response I received was to really get into the why of it all. Maybe that's because teenagers always want to know why they need to know something. How many times did you ask in high school why you really needed to learn geometry or biology or Shakespeare? Or maybe that's just humanity and not only teens. If we're honest we'd have to admit that we are likely to have the same attitude at church only we're not as apt to vocalize it. But internally I think we sometimes wonder why we really need to know all this stuff. Isn't it enough to just sign up and join the club? Sure, we think, I'll sign up for that no-hell-forgiveness-of-sins-thing. That sounds good. But we don't really know Jesus, and when people talk about it we wonder why that's even necessary. We believe in Him and asked for Him to save us, isn't that enough?
Maybe that's just me...part of me used to think that way, albeit unknowingly. Because of course, I already thought I knew Jesus but that's because I knew about Him. I didn't really know Him. And it was the moment I learned the difference that my whole world changed. That was my big conversion moment even though I'd been 'saved' for many, many years.
So...somehow in language that falls short and probably through rambling and 'ummm-ing'...that's what I'm hoping to teach the youth. A little bit of who Jesus is and a whole lot of why you need to know Him. Kinda like that TV show from back in the day 'Reading Rainbow.' The host would tell the kids watching at home how great a certain book was and would always end with: "But don't take my word for it!" (for years, I thought that meant he was lying...and then I realized...he wants me to read it myself. I guess I was a little slow back then.) I really want to get them curious about Jesus and digging into their Bibles to find Him for themselves.
When I get it all hammered out I'll have material for several posts so be on the look out for my crash course on Jesus. Hopefully I'll be able to post a couple of them this weekend. As difficult as it is to try to capture Jesus on paper (imagine how hard it was for the gospel writers!) I have to say it's a challenge I readily embrace. Because while I know my words will always fall short, it seems I can never write enough about the One who Saved me.