Me and my wife recently met this new couple who moved into our neighborhood. As a friendly gesture, we invited them over for dinner to get to know them better. During dinner, we learned that they came to America from Africa. They explained to us about their culture and how it was growing up and living in Africa. At some point during the dinner they looked over at our wall and saw a few bible verses and a cross, that we have hung up. They asked us why we had those and what they were.
We explained that they are bible verses and the cross is a symbol of our salvation for Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. They did not understand this as they do not believe in God, they believe that everyone is born good and there is no such thing as sin. This is how our discussion started and how we led our new friends to Christ.
The dinner took an awkward turn after they found the scripture verses on the wall. However, it gave us an opportunity to share God’s story with them for the first time. They asked why we believed in this man called Jesus, and why was he so important to us? This led to an interesting conversation that eventually would change their lives forever.
Since, they asked us who Jesus is, we wanted to paint an accurate, but simple picture for them to grasp. We decided to go back to the beginning and simply tell them the first two books of Genesis as to explain in a story. We explained to them that God did not want to be lonely anymore, that he wanted to have a relationship with something. So, he ended up creating us as we are today. He created us in his image and gave us free will. This was told in Genesis 1:27, which says, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” He did this so that we could think for ourselves and we could do what we wanted with the world.
This was until the humans that he created, decided to disobey and let evil loose in the world. We told them the beginning to make sense of why Jesus came to earth and eventually died for our sins. They didn’t understand what this had to do with Jesus, as he was not even mentioned yet. We asked if they would let us continue the story and they obliged.
We continued where we left off. The humans that God created decided to disobey him and take the side of the devil. This unleashed corruption and death onto our world. This moment in time is the reason why we have death, diseases, hatred, corruption, and evil in the world. The birth of sin was shown in Genesis 3:17-19, which says, “cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
This evil dwelt and grew in all of creation. This evil we refer to as sin and it is what makes us ugly inside. This is where Jesus’s importance comes into play. After we told them this they said that it makes sense, because they saw in their country all the corruption and diseases and it never seemed to slow down, but continued to increase every year.
After we established that sin entered the world, we reassured them that this is important to understand who Jesus is and why he did what he did. We explained that God loved his creation, even after it turned its back on him. He hated seeing the world crumbling and so he devised a way to fix what we broke. This plan of his consisted of him coming down to earth and taking matters into his own hands personally. This is Jesus’s origin story. God loved the world so much, that he decided to come down and fix it. This is described in John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” So, the perfect God came down and lived among us humans to show us the right way to live.
He lived a perfect sinless life and used his life to help and love others. However, it didn’t stop there. His purpose wasn’t just to show an example, but also to lead the way to change the world. So, he built relationship with the people and worked on changing and molding them. He was doing this to prepare them for work. See, he did not want to swipe his hand and poof all our problems are gone, but instead he wanted to show us how we can fix our world with his help.
After we told them this they started asking questions, like what was he going to do to fix it? How could humans be a part of the solution if we are so corrupt? These questions and more made us want to continue the story.
This is where we decided to give them a sneak peek behind the mind of God. We wanted to show them that during this whole time, God had a plan and was implementing it perfectly. When Jesus first started his ministry, he started building relationships and gathering followers. He did this for a few reasons. The first reason was because he wanted to rebuild that relationship that he used to have with the humans that he created. He wanted to give them a way where they could talk and communicate with him whenever and wherever they wanted to. Therefore, he taught them about prayer. This way anyone could come to God at any time.
The next part was to prepare his followers for his upcoming departure. He needed to teach them and prepare them to become teachers themselves. He needed them to self-sufficient. He did this to ensure the future would focus on learning more about him and his plan for all our lives.
The final reason he did all this, was to show us the proof that the world desires. He wanted to show us his power, so that we would believe. The first disciples needed to see with their own eyes, that Jesus was God. So, he gave them this proof by displaying his overwhelming powers to the world.
After explaining this, they were shocked that God would go this far to correct our mistakes. It was easier though for them to understand after we compared God to a father. This allowed them to see that they would do anything to help and save their child.
This made us want to tell the ending as they were very excited to hear it. So, we wanted to review what was already said. We reviewed that Jesus’s plan was to rebuild our relationship with him, teach and train us, and to show us that he is God. The final piece of this plan though was very surprising to those that he was around. This final part of this plan was the main part of the plan. It was the way to fix what we had broken so long ago. He intended to destroy sin in one fell swoop. However, to do this, he had to give himself up. He had to willingly get sacrificed.
This is the reason why the cross is so important. The only way to reverse the effects of sin and to save the world, was to die and have sin die with him. At that moment that Jesus was on the cross, he took all the sin that was in the world and that would be in the world and took it all on himself. This was necessary to rid us of this evil curse. He died with the sin of the world on his shoulders and then resurrected himself three days later. He did this part to allow the sin to die and then he rose again conquering sin forever.
With his resurrection, we have the same gift to conquer sin if we put our faith in Christ and believe in him. This is told to us in John 11:25-26, which says, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
They were blown away as they never heard such a story before. We ended up finishing dinner and then they said their good byes. We found them the following week at our church and after a few weeks, we had the privilege of watching them accept Christ into their hearts.
Do you have a similar story?