8/3/13 Jesus about 25
I flagged down “Jesus” as he approached on his bike at the park yesterday! Not the One from Galilee, but a twenty-something Jesus who is here in Chicago with his brother as an immigrant worker from Guatemala. I soon found him to be very interested, but confused, about religion. He had grown up in Guatamala as a traditional Catholic with an overemphasis on Mary, lived there for some time with several friends who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, also had contact with many Mormons there, and now here in Chicago he works alongside Muslims from Turkey. He asked me about my church and I faced the task of explaining some of the differences without adding to his confusion. What is it that sets my church and the rest of biblical Christianity apart from all these other religious influences? I began by explaining the source of authority and truth. While these other religions have roots in the Bible, they all have outside influences they see as authoritative, such as tradition, church teachings, or other sacred writings such as the Book of Mormon or the Quran. I explained that the way one can identify false teaching is by becoming very familiar with the real thing, and I encouraged him to read the Bible for himself, which he already does, though not every day. I avoided getting bogged down in the particular teachings of these different groups, explaining that “ethically and morally, they are usually very biblical. but the main difference is that none of these groups or religions believe that Jesus is God’s only Son; that He is the Creator, not creation, part of the Trinity and the only worthy sacrifice that could be worthy to satisfy God’s righteous demand for a just penalty for our sin.” It took a while to explain all this, but it was worth it in the end to see Jesus smile as he said “This all makes sense! I think this is why I was out here today! I had the day off while my brother was working, and I felt lonely so I went for a bike ride in this park. I think God wanted you to explain this to me today!” …I definitely think so too!