I was deeply moved by the all-consuming power and presence of God this past weekend at church. Yes, church is a place I often feel the presence of God, but this week was something entirely unique. The hushed gentle breeze that blew through our midst was full of impact in an extraordinary way. Simply because of the name of Jesus, the Name that is unlike any other and has no equal.
Our pastor courageously placed a panel of leaders representing various faiths on the stage for a Q & A. Risky? Yes. Would I have thought this a good idea? Probably not. Will some hear about it and criticize? Maybe. You see, the entire service was centered on Jesus. Our pastor had given the religious leaders (personal friends of his) questions ahead of time so that they could come prepared to accurately answer according to the beliefs of their faith. Those present on the panel were a Muslim, a Rabbi, a Hindu, a Baha’i Faith representative, and a Christian. They were asked one by one to answer who Jesus was according to their faith. They were also asked if Jesus was still relevant today. Their answers varied, of course, but every last one of them believed that Jesus lived. None disputed His fame or His reputation as good. They each made their own beliefs about Jesus known, but when some chose to quote verses from the Bible in an effort to explain who He was, I couldn’t help but to beam at what we know to be true – that the word of God will never return void.
The name of Jesus was spoken over and over and I had the sense that God was having His way in a most unorthodox way that evening. Here were all these faiths represented and Jesus was given the spotlight. I could not stop the tears from flowing at various points of the service. I just kept thinking, Jesus, You are Lord of all and you love those precious souls up there on that stage who are so genuine in their beliefs. Save them, Lord. Show them who You really are. May they know and believe that You are the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through You. I was overcome with the love that God has for all mankind. For me, this exercise didn’t confuse or diminish the truth, it distinguished it somehow. It’s as if He was whispering to every heart there. That was what I hoped. He is the Light that was shining.
It was remarkably impressive how much love and the welcome our congregation showed to these precious souls who willingly stepped into an uncertain situation to spend their own time to come to our church. I felt the love and grace we all (us for them and they for us) showed each other. What a timely reminder that we can generously love those who believe differently than we do. We should never let fear lead the way. Our interaction and relation to every other human being should mirror Jesus’ approach to truth and love. The Holy Spirit is the one who will lead to salvation through the only name that can save – Jesus. May we be led by His love for the lost in our endeavors to share the gospel of Christ. May we never waver or veer away from the Word of God.
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. John 1:1
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16