I am currently teaching a Bible study by Ray Jones and David Lelong titled Engage: Gospel. This study comes out of the Office of Evangelism and Church Growth of the Presbyterian Church (USA). I have enjoyed this study thoroughly, and I recommend it to any church looking to reconnect with why they are a church and to learn about evangelism. This week, our assignment is to write about what Jesus means to each of us. I thought this would make a good blog entry.
I have been seeking to know Jesus since I was three years old, which seems amazing to me now, because my son is that age. Like my son, I had been going to church all my life, but it just did not sink in to me what all this God and Jesus talk was all about until a friend of mine died. My mother explained to me that my friend Kelly had gone to live with Jesus. Then, she explained more about who Jesus is. I thought Kelly was lucky to live with Jesus, and I began wanting to learn more about Jesus.
As a young child, I could not get enough stories about Jesus. I always wanted to learn more. I knew Jesus was special and that by believing in him, I became a part of Jesus’ family. Family meant a lot to me as a small child because my father moved away to another country when I was four. I felt the loss of my father rather acutely because I adored him. Not long after my father left, I became aware that I had a heavenly father, who loved me and would never leave me, no matter what. At that point, I thought of Jesus as a really cool, older brother.
Eventually, I became a Vacation Bible School junkie. I was the kid all of the local churches would pick up to go to their VBS programs. I think I knew all of the ministers in my area. In VBS I finally understood that Jesus is also my Savior. I understood that I am a sinner and that I need to constantly ask for forgiveness for my sins. I knew that Jesus saved me from eternal separation from God because praying for forgiveness through him allows me to experience God’s grace.
My faith in Jesus Christ has been strong since I was a young three-year-old. Yet, what Jesus means to me has grown through the years. Jesus is my Lord because I pledge my allegiance to God alone, the three-in-one. I believe that Jesus is God, though don’t ask me to explain that strange math to you. Jesus is the example that I try to live into, not that I can ever be as perfect as him. I try to be a good person. I try to help others. I try to be a part of Jesus’ mission here on earth. I try to spread the knowledge of the saving love of Jesus.
Most of all, the one word that describes Jesus best for me is “love.” Jesus loves me, and Jesus loves you. Jesus loves us so much that he died on a cross so that our sins could be forgiven. I believe the ultimate act of love is giving up our lives to save others. I have heard recently that when people are asked if they would be willing to let their children die for God, they always reply that they would die in place of their children. I understand that. I would die for my child. Of course, Jesus, who is the Word, who was there in the beginning, who is God, would die for us. What greater love is there than that?