And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:16
I was looking back in one of my old journals, and read this entry from July of 2015. It captures the Christmas message in such a poignant way, that I thought it fitting to share it again today:
I was up at the County jail for a Bible study, which I host 2-3 times a month with whatever women will come. Sometimes they come just to get out of their cell, but I’ll take that. As long as they’re not disruptive, they get a chance to hear the Gospel. Romans 10:17 says that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Anyway, this particular evening in July brought out three Native American women. Though they are from my community, they have a world view that is miles apart from my own. I’ve learned that from the years of jail ministry. I was to learn more this evening. Two out of the three were women that I had known for years. The third had come one other time, maybe a year before. She seemed agitated from the start. She sat flipping through another book until we got switched out of the library to another room.
My Bible study was on three different responses to Jesus–mad, sad and glad. Mad, the people from Nazareth that tried to push Jesus off the cliff (furious); Sad, the rich young ruler in Luke 18; and I didn’t even get to glad and Zacchaeus in Luke 19. I was still explaining what sin was. I had already gone into a bit of detail about who Jesus was, that He was God himself who came from Heaven and took on human form as a baby and grew up and began His public ministry and then began His public ministry, doing miracles, announcing that He was the Promised One who came to save them from their sin.
I could see the one gal’s face get more and more angry, read to launch into an argument. Wait for it, wait for it. It was right around the sin explanation that she jumped in. She said that Natives don’t have sin and Hell. She said she knew a Catholic who just did what she wanted and then went to confessional and she thought that was lame. I explained that that’s not repentance, which is turning from your sin. “I get why you think that’s lame.”
I told her the Zacchaeus story was a good example of repentance. We just started to read it when she yelled, “I would never place my trust in someone who put on a meat suit.” I quietly said, “Come again?” I wanted to make sure I heard that right. She said firmly, “A dude that would take on a human form. I would never let him be my God.”
I quickly answered, “That’s exactly what He had to do to pay the price for our sins, otherwise we would all face the death penalty and be sentenced an eternity in Hell.” She countered, “We don’t have a Hell.” I came back, “Oh yes, we all face that.” I picked up my Bible and said, “This is the truth and Jesus declared, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life–no one comes to the Father, except through Me.’ One day we will all stand before this Jesus to give an account of what we have done.”
Her answer was, “That’s disrespectful. That’s hateful.” I answered, “Actually, in me telling you that, it’s the most loving thing I could do so you could have a chance to hear it and to ponder it. The choice is then up to you.” Then she backed down.
We both took a breath, and I said, “I like that ‘dude in a meat suit’ thing. You’ve hit the nail on the head. We went off on to a different point and kind of relaxed to move away from the intensity. At the end of the night I said to her, “I hope I see you again some place, just not here.” We both smiled in mutual respect. I haven’t seen her since, but I still pray for her.