In 1983, I was 7 years old. My second grade teacher at Mira Mesa Christian School asked a question that made my little heart race.
“Would any of you like to invite Jesus into your life today?”
My mind quickly went to the amazing stories I’d heard about Jesus. He fed thousand people, he healed the sick, he died on the cross for my sins. Did I want him in my life? YES! My teacher knelt beside my desk and led me in prayer. I invited Jesus to be the Lord of my life. I confessed that I was a sinner, and I declared, “I believe.” Twenty six years later, I still believe. Studying scripture strengthens my faith and compels me to ask questions: What does scripture reveal to me about who Jesus believes in? The answer takes my journey from belief in him, to an unfathomable quest to risk, love and serve those he would embrace.
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Jesus believes in the outcast.
In the gospel of John Jesus risks his life to save a woman accused of being an adulterer. The accusers leave when Jesus challenges, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Now the woman finds herself alone with the only person involved in this situation who really is without sin. Did he stone her? No. He believed in who she could be, when no one else believed in who she was.
Jesus believes in thieves.
In the 23rd chapter of Luke, Jesus is enduring the most painful death imaginable. Yet through his suffering, he is still attentive and hears the request of the thief next to him, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Everyone else had given up on this thief. Had Jesus given up on him? No. Even when the thief’s crimes had sentenced him to death, Jesus believed the thief had chosen him over the sin that sentenced him.
We can look at Jesus’ life and see it as the proof we need to believe in him. But we can also look at his life and see it as proof that he believes in us, in our darkest hour, when everyone else has given up, and sentenced us to death.
I do believe in Jesus. But I pray for his strength and love to consume me, giving me the audacity to believe in those he believes in.
Jesus was willing to risk his life for those others had given up on. This week, decide to take a risk on a teen others are ready to give up on.
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