There was once a time when the world knew not of its Savior. Yet there was hope because it had been foretold that a child would be born and called Emmanuel – God is with us. In Lent, we prepare for his coming anew. During this season, we discover for ourselves the call of salvation and the promise of eternal life.
Is it true?
But how could it be? It’s so preposterous, rife with impossibilities. And yet here is the testimony:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
A man was sent by God to save the world? Who could believe it?
John believed it because John was a witness. Here is what he saw.
John and his brother, James, came upon a man. Joined by others, this man said to them:
“Follow me.” (John 1:43)
These disciples began to follow this man named Jesus. He told them they would see amazing things. And they did.
During their travels, they came upon an ostracized woman collecting water at a well. Jesus befriended her and spoke of the coming of the spirit. She wondered if he was a prophet. Then she spoke about the coming of the Messiah. Jesus responded:
“I am he.” (John 4:26)
They encountered a man crippled all his life. Jesus looked upon him and said:
“Stand up, take your mat and walk.” (John 5:8)
The man stood and walked. Soon, a congregation of people began to follow him. After a time a large crowd had formed. When it was time to eat, the food they possessed was insufficient. Yet Jesus distributed the fish and the bread and fed thousands. Afterwards he told them:
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)
Some people were offended by Jesus. They felt that he was undermining their authority and their laws. They scoffed at the notion that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus told them:
“The one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” (John 7:28 – 29)
Jesus continued in his ministry with his disciples at his side, John among them. He brought sight to the blind, he walked on the water, he brought a dead man to life. At the end of the journey, they entered the town of Jerusalem. Jesus gathered his disciples to give them instructions. He told them his purpose:
“I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” (John 12:47)
Jesus then said he would be gone from them soon. He told them how others would know they are Christians:
“As I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34 – 35)
Skeptically, his disciples asked how they would know what to do. Who will show them the way? Jesus said:
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)
To ensure his continued guidance, he disclosed the gift that God would endow in them:
“The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
They took heart in his words. Understanding was finally theirs. Jesus offered one last exhortation:
“Take courage; I have conquered the world!” (John 16:33)
Before he was taken away, he bowed in prayer. His prayers were not for himself nor to ease his coming suffering, but for those who kept the faith. Jesus prayed:
“I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.” (John 17:11)
Then Jesus was apprehended and taken to the rulers of the world. He was falsely convicted, ruthlessly punished, and crucified on a cross.
Now, his disciples were left confused and depressed. They questioned: is Jesus really gone? He gave so much and promised so much, but now he’s dead.
Is this the end?
These Gospel stories are re-imagined in the book series:
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