We just finished reading the Bible as one continuing story of God and His people. For so much of The Story a Redeemer and King was anticipated. We see the promise fulfilled in Jesus. He personifies God’s grace, compassion, and His dedication to restoring lost relationships.
Lives are transformed when people encounter Jesus. The woman at the well went from avoiding contact to spreading the word to the whole town about Jesus. (John 4) Paul saw Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), and turned from zealously persecuting Christians to boldly proclaiming Christ and planting churches throughout the known world. My own experience is outwardly less dramatic, but I know that He has changed me from the inside out. That process continues as I encounter Jesus daily through His word and through His people.
I was challenged by a recent newsletter from Cru missionary Todd Mathews where he shared the experience of a student on a short term trip who was jolted by the awareness of a great need for people to encounter the real Jesus.
“I was sitting on a flaky blue foam mattress pad in a little dorm room in West Africa across from a young Muslim student. While he prepared traditional tea for us, we discussed his views about Jesus. I will never forget when he turned to me and said, ‘We are eager to learn about Jesus, but there is no one here to teach us anything different.’”
This Muslim student was aware of Jesus, but only knew him in the Islamic view as a great prophet and a good moral teacher. The Cru student is now preparing to return to West Africa to build relationships with Muslim students.
God may be calling some of us to reach out to Muslims as this young friend of Todd’s is doing. We don’t even need to leave the Twin Cities. Many of us interact with Muslims in our schools, at work, and in the community.
There are plenty of others around us who don’t recognize Jesus. In Dave Lenz’s blog post last week, he pointed out that approximately 35% of Millenials (ages 18-33) are religiously unaffiliated, and it appears that many not only dislike the church, they don’t much like Jesus either.
Who has God placed in your life who needs to encounter the real Jesus?
Peggy Turnbull, Missions Coordinator