I was in a Kindergarten classroom Monday afternoon and watched a cute little girl leaning over a piece of paper and a bucket of markers. She wrote the letter, “I” and then carefully drew and colored a large heart. I wondered what she might write next- mom, daddy, or maybe, a fellow classmate.
She answered my silent question when she asked, “Ms. Paula, how do you spell Jesus?” After I told her, I allowed myself to bask in the glory of working in a public school system in a small Christian community. However, my thought was brought to a sad realistic end when another child looked up and asked, “Who’s Jesus?”
Many are asking that question but I wonder if the Church’s greatest problem is Christians who don’t truly know him? I remember feeling that way. My father, grandfather, and uncles were ministers. Sure, I knew who Jesus was. I had heard his name my entire life but that’s all it was, a name, a name in a song, sermon, or Bible class.
I had grown up in church and was well aware that it was the Messiah who cured the sick, quieted the storm, and restored vision to the blind. I was very familiar with the Jesus of the stories of the Bible but I had no clue about the Jesus of my story.
Had I ever realized that he had the power to heal my brokenness, calm my storms, or open my eyes? He was always within my grasp but for so long I kept him limited to the pages of my closest Bible.
It took years before I finally heard Him say:
- I am the bread of life; come to me and you will not hunger, believe in me and you will never thirst. (John 6:35)
- I am the light of the world. Follow me and you will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)
- I am the door. If you enter by me, you will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)
- I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for you. (John 10:11)
- I am the resurrection and the life. If you believe in me, though you may die, you will live, and all those who live and believe in me shall never die. (John 11:25-26)
- I am the way, and the truth, and the life. You cannot come to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
- I am the vine; you are the branches. Abide in me and I’ll abide in you. (John 15:5)
Who’s Jesus? Years ago, he was just a name. Today, he’s the Name by which I have salvation, healing, mercy, love, and an eternal home.
Rise up, Christians. The whole world is asking who Jesus is and looking to you for an answer. Through him, you have the power to better the lives of your spouse, children, co-workers and others but you’ll never succeed if you don’t know him first. Open the Bible and follow him from creation to the empty tomb and then take him to a broken and dying world. Tell others what he is doing, right now, in your life.
Step out of the boat of fear and routine, get off the pew, keep your eyes on your Savior, and walk on water. Experience the amazing freedom, peace, and encouragement that comes from having a sincere and abiding relationship with the Son of God. Believe it when he says that he loves you and will guide you through this life.
There are people in your community who don’t know Jesus. Take his hand and go show them. It’s time.
Paula Harrington is a columnist for Forthright.net and compiler of the books A Sunday Afternoon with the Preacher’s Wives and A Common Bond. Her work has appeared in Christian Woman magazine and the Christian Chronicle newspaper. Additional information can be found at her blog www.paulaharrington71.