February 16, 2016
Three Truths about Jesus Christ
Post by Brittany Tedesco
One of the indigenous ministries we support in northern Iraq, where close to 2 million Iraqis have fled, used Christmas as an opportunity to present Jesus in a very poignant way to this group of displaced people: as a child of refugees.
Jesus' mother and father fled their home in Palestine to protect their young son after King Herod ordered the murder of all male babies in Bethlehem. The Savior understands their situation because He lived it.
Unlike the Islamic god, who is aloof and unknowable, our Lord willingly descended from glory to experience the full spectrum of human suffering. The bible tells us that Jesus Christ can empathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15) because of His humanity.
But Jesus Christ does so much more than just empathize with us. The suffering servant is also "head over all rule and authority" (Colossians 2:10). He is sovereign above all that's happening in the Middle East right now. He is in control of a situation that's caused masses of people to have to leave their homes for a new place to live.
"God aims to be sought, found, known, and enjoyed by all the peoples of the world, and He oversees their travels toward that end," David Platt, president of IMB (International Mission Board), wrote in a recent blog post. "In His goodness, our God turns even the tragedy of forced migration into the triumph of future salvation."
The book of Colossians tells us that it was none other than Jesus Christ who created the universe, including mankind (1:16). In Acts, we read that He determines people's "appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation" (17:26). Why? "That they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us" (17:27 NASB).
He's brought multitudes of people to a place where they can be received by God's people and hear the truth for the very first time.
First truth: He enters into and redeems our suffering.
About a week ago in staff meeting, I learned of a situation in the Hindu nation of Nepal. A man, hostile to the gospel, led a group of Hindu fanatics to set fire to a church that had been built by native missionaries we support. Though I'm sure the believers were discouraged to find their meeting place reduced to ashes, they gathered what little resources they had and worked together to rebuild it.
And then it happened again.
The very same man who'd initiated the burning of the first building set fire to the second building. I know I would feel disheartened at this point, but those believers rallied together again and rebuilt their little church.
What's more, they actually invited the man who led the church burnings to a special service where they dedicated their new church to the Lord. The Nepali Christians shared the gospel with him and laid their hands on him in prayer.
Though the man did not accept Christ as Savior during that meeting, I'm certain something began to change in his mind and heart. What must he have thought as those whom he harmed reciprocated with such love and warmth?
These believers experienced the power of Christ, "which mightily works within them" (Colossians 1:29). Where was their outrage, their anger, their indignation? It had all melted in the fire of Christ's love. They had His eyes to see the situation. They didn't see an evil man who'd sought to do them harm. They saw a man in need of a Savior. They denied themselves in pursuit of another.
"Look at the selflessness of Jesus," writes Alistair Begg and Sinclair Ferguson in Name above All Names. "'I am among you as one who serves,' he had said."
The love of Jesus is a love that completely denies self, and His Spirit can empower believers to demonstrate the same humility.
I've heard some describe the humility of Jesus Christ as bordering on ridiculous because of the lengths He was willing to go to redeem us. His humility knows no bounds.
Second truth: He endows His followers with supernatural grace.
At the beginning of every month, I read through the reports that Christian Aid Mission has received from ministry leaders around the world. This month, I was struck by the unusually high number of reported healings from South Asian ministries.
A man from the Korwa tribe, one of the most primitive tribes in Central India, suffered from a mental illness for six years that, at times, caused him to fall into a trance and wander in the nearby jungles. Sometimes he remained there for days at a time. When he heard about Jesus Christ through one of his friends, he walked 30 miles to reach a Korwa congregation planted by an indigenous ministry we support. After a native missionary prayed for him, he accepted Christ as Savior and was completely healed of his illness. He started visiting villages to preach the gospel, and has led more than 400 Korwa people to Christ.
A paralyzed 18-year-old was scheduled to have his leg amputated after he lost sensation in it. Rats gnawed on it at night. When his mother heard about Jesus Christ, who has the power to heal, she and others carried her son to a house church meeting. After native believers shared the gospel, both she and her son accepted Christ as Savior. They applied oil to the young man's leg and prayed. To everyone's surprise, he started walking. The doctor canceled the operation.
A ministry in Sri Lanka reported multiple stories of healing, from people being delivered from evil spirits to a blind man receiving sight.
Christ, who is our Maker, is also our Healer. The same God-Man who called the universe into being has the power to repair each and every cell in our beings. He still heals today, all over the world, for His glory.
Third truth: He is before all things and by Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17).