There is a generation of young people that have absolutely NO idea who Jesus is.
They were not sent to Sunday school as a child, didn’t go to a Christian school and never went to church with their Grandparents. They’ve not heard about the Cross, and don’t understand words like ‘Salvation’, ‘Resurrection’ and ‘Sin’.
I was faced with this harsh reality over the years working with young people in the Social Care system. These were some of the most broken, abused and troubled young people in my City. There were countless opportunities to share who Jesus was with these young people, but due to constraints of the Job I had to wait until they broached the subject with me first. What amazed me was the amount of times they did.
This was great. Wonderful even. But the problem was; how do I answer the question of who Jesus is to someone who is clueless about Him? Where do I start? How do I avoid using words that could potentially alienate them?
What surprised me the most was the genuineness of the young people’s interest. They REALLY wanted to know who Jesus was. They sat, listened and asked questions. There was such an openness and willingness to take in the information I shared.
I would love to say that I explained who Jesus was eloquently and thoroughly, neatly wrapped in a 5 minute mini sermon. But the truth is, in those moments I would hesitate and stumble trying to find the right words. I would mention a word like ‘Salvation’ and then backtrack to explain what that meant.
Eventually I began to only share what I felt that young person needed to know most in that moment. Jesus is so many things all at once; to even attempt to do Him justice by way of an introduction to an unbeliever is a daunting task.
I realised that the responsibility did not wholly rest on my shoulders, but it was the Father’s work to reveal Jesus to people (Matthew 16 v 15-17).
I shared about how Jesus valued them and cared deeply for them, how He was the Son of God who came to Earth, How He died on a cross so that they could be forgiven of all the wrong in their lives and so they could know God the Father for themselves. I told them that Jesus was in fact God and had a plan and purpose for their lives.
I avoided saying that Jesus ‘loved’ them. Many people have no idea what true love is anymore, their experience of love having been so tainted and corrupted by the sin in the world.
I’m sure I left them with more questions than answers. But after encouraging them to read the bible, visit a church and praying for them in my own time, I entrusted them to the God who was drawing them to Himself.
‘I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd’ –John 10v 16
We must not give up on this generation. Jesus has many others in this generation that desire to know Him.
Who do you say He is?