It was a beautiful, crisp morning on a picturesque day in the city. An older gentleman was on his daily walk which he really considered to be a mission of sorts. You see, this kind old man was very wealthy and would walk the streets every day looking for people who were in need. As you can probably imagine, he encountered all sorts of people; some were hungry, some were homeless, and sadly, some were suffering because of their own poor choices. Regardless of why they were in need, he had one purpose: to show them genuine love. To some he offered a warm meal, to others, a place to stay for the night, and to yet others he offered the opportunity to break free from their destitution.
One fateful day, the gentleman happened upon a young man who was badly beaten and bleeding. The older gentleman took off his own shirt and tore it into strips which he used to dress the wounds of the young man. Then he took his own shoes and put them on the young man’s feet so they wouldn’t get injured as he dragged him along the cold streets towards the hospital. Completely exhausted and covered in the young man’s blood, they finally reached their destination. Before the older gentleman left, he secretly slipped an envelope full of money into the young man’s pocket with a note that read, “To pay for your healing.”
After a long-fought battle, including several brushes with death, the young man finally recovered. He didn’t remember the kindness of this stranger who had saved his life, but he knew that someone had helped him, so he started asking questions. He went to the hospital and they told him that some shirtless old bum had brought him in. They said they didn’t know his name, but there was no way that he could be the one because he was so poor and couldn’t have possibly paid for all of the expenses of his treatments. He searched and searched, seeking out the wealthiest people in the area inquiring as to who had helped him. Some of them suggested that it must be one or another, but in the end, all of his searching yielded nothing tangible.
At the point of nearly giving up, the young man was sitting alone one day in a back alley. Suddenly the thoughts of the young man were interrupted by a gentle voice asking if he was alright. As the young man looked up and into the eyes of the older gentleman, he shared his story only to see a gentle smile push against the wrinkles of the old man’s face. The gentleman, stretching out his hand and placing it on the young man’s shoulder, told him to stop searching because he was the one. The young man jumped to his feet, embraced the older gentleman, and showered him with words of thanks and gratefulness. At last and after all of his searching, the young man was finally face-to-face with the one who had saved his life.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT
Searching For You
Similar to the older gentleman, but so much more, God is searching for you. You may ask, “Why is God searching for me?” The simple answer is that He knows what many of us do not:
1. We were created in God’s likeness and as such, we have a soul
2. Our soul will live forever
3. Through the fall of mankind, our soul has become corrupted with sin
4. Sin cannot exist in God’s presence
5. There is a forever place of punishment for sin: the lake of fire
Much like the young man, we are in need of someone to rescue us. God knew this, so He sent His son Jesus to do just that. The older gentleman gave so much to rescue the young man, but Jesus gave so much more. Just like we have physical laws such as the law of gravity, there are also spiritual laws, and one of them requires payment for our sin. We, like the young man, are not able to help ourselves, so, doing the only thing that He could do, Jesus paid for our healing. Instead of taking off His shirt and shoes for us, Jesus was humiliated by being clothed in the grossness of our sin. Instead of ripping His shirt, Jesus allowed the Roman soldiers to rip His flesh. Instead of paying with cash, Jesus paid with His blood and, ultimately, His very life.
Thankfully the story didn’t end with Jesus’ death. Three days later, Jesus rocked the world by raising Himself from the dead, proving once and for all that He is God.
God’s Mission for Us: It’s Your Choice
Although Jesus paid the price for all of mankind’s sin, He gave each of us the option of choosing to accept His free gift or not. It’s not an accident that you are reading this today. God is giving you the opportunity to start a personal relationship with His son, Jesus. If you feel Him tugging at your heart and you want to take that first step towards Him, then pray something like this:
God, I want to begin a relationship with You through Your son, Jesus. I believe that He is your son and I believe that You sent Him into the world to save me. Please forgive me for all of the bad things that I have done. I surrender my life to You; please guide me and show me Your will and Your purpose for my life. I love You and thank You for loving me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
If you just started a new relationship with Jesus, here are a few suggestions to help you start growing in your faith:
1. Start reading God’s word. Be sure to get a version of the Bible that is easy for you to understand—the book of John is a great place to start.
2. Spend time talking and listening to God. Check out the Hearing God article for more info about listening to God.
3. Find a local church to connect with other followers of Jesus
4. Share your good news with others