12/14/13 Jesús about 20
“Really? You would just give this to me?” A young man named Jesús, 20, was so grateful when I offered him a Bible near the end of a gospel conversation at the grocery store. He had initially told me he believes that by being a good person, God will allow him to go to heaven when he dies. But as I took him step by step through the Gospel, helping him to see how he has already sinned and deserves punishment rather than heaven, but that God has given Jesus to take the punishment he deserves, Jesús began to relate what I was telling him to what his best friend – a born-again Christian – has been telling him all along. He needs to put his faith in Jesus as his hope for salvation. “You need to trust in the real Jesus, not in Jesús – yourself- and your ability to do good things or be a good person and earn or deserve salvation. Imagine that a good friend gives you a very valuable gift, and all you do is try to offer a small amount of cash for it. Not only is it an offence to try to offer money for what is to be a gift, but the amount of money you do try to offer is also an insult in comparison to the value of the gift. In the same way, we disrespect God when we try to “pay” for the gift of forgiveness and salvation found in Jesus with our good works or by trying to prove we are worthy. We just need to receive Him as a gift and respond with the gratitude that God truly deserves.” I went on to tell Jesús how God offers us a relationship with Himself – not a cold religion full of rules and rituals – and we have the chance to live a life of gratitude for what He has given us. Jesús had told me he didn’t have a Bible, so I gave him one. “I promised my friend I would read the Bible” - he said very excitedly - “Now I can keep my promise”. I hope and pray he does read it, and that he receives Jesus with the same kind of gratitude that he received that Bible.