I had just picked up my kids from school and we were riding in the car headed back home. We had one of the radio stations on that plays Christian music and sometimes they have little sound bytes of various pastors/speakers/preachers inbetween the songs.
I don’t recall who it was that was speaking during this particular sound byte, but his focus was that so many people of the world “need Jesus.” He talked about the fact that yes, we have basic needs that need to be filled–food, shelter, water, safety, but another “basic need” should be the need for Jesus.
My 10 year old and I had an interesting conversation about that. What exactly does that phrase mean? “People need Jesus.”
Putting Jesus in with a list of basic human need is a pretty bold move. As my daughter and I talked about what that means, I like where we landed. (I also love that the opportunity to have this unplanned faith development moment with her!)
Sometimes, Christians believe that others “need Jesus” SO much that “Jesus” gets shoved down the throats of anyone nearby who will stand still long enough. Maybe that works for some people.
Still, others believe that people “need Jesus” to save them from their sins. Again, maybe that works for some people, too. He is our Savior after all.
But for some reason, that day, as I was listening to the radio and wondering how to process this “need” with my children who were also listening (wondering how to take the abstract and make it concrete for these young minds and hearts), I found myself saying, “Yes, the world does NEED Jesus.”
As the conversation with my children (mostly with my oldest daughter) evolved, we landed on this…
The people of the world need to BE LIKE Jesus. Imagine… If all of us spent our days focused on helping others, on welcoming strangers, on accepting our neighbors, on breaking bread together, on loving radically, and on and on and on.
What if we approached each day with the “need to be like Jesus” prioritized as a need as important as food and shelter and safety?
My daughter and I wondered what the world would be like if everyone in the world would find the need to be like Jesus, the world would know peace everywhere.
It’s not about our personal opinions on any of the “issues” facing us like guns or refugees or marriage or education or political candidates.
It’s about living a life of surrender–surrendered to the need to be like Jesus.
A friend and ministry colleague of mine recently spoke to a group of high schoolers at camp. She said that the world knows Christians (the good, the bad and the ugly), but the world doesn’t know Jesus. How can we help others know Jesus and understand this need to be like Him?
In this Advent season of anticipation, of coming, of waiting, of longing…we need Jesus. We need to be like Jesus.
O come, o come, Emmanuel.
God with us.