Teaching Update #10
At the beginning of the week I compared our teaching process to a puzzle for some of our folks. To do that, I had to show them one of our kids’ puzzles, but once they saw it, they understood my point. Most of the people we are teaching are familiar with all (or at least most) of the Bible stories we are sharing. The problem is they don’t know how the stories fit together or what the final picture looks like. They have been very effectively deceived and confused. I told some of our brighter folks that we had most of the pieces together and, any day, they were going to see where the last few pieces fit even before we put them in place in a lesson.
Wednesday we started the New Testament and it didn’t take long before some completed the puzzle. Before Wednesday’s lesson, I was reading through the day’s verses with Wati to make sure I would read them clearly in front of everybody. When we got to John 1:29 it started clicking for Wati.
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
He immediately recognized that Jesus would be an offering like those of the Old Testament. At first he wasn’t clear, however, how Jesus would take away our sins. He knew it had to do with the cross, but was missing the crucial link: God punished Jesus for our sins. I asked him leading questions for about twenty minutes until he connected that final point. When he did, he was silent for two full minutes with tears flowing. Eventually he said something like “He didn’t deserve any punishment, but He took what I deserved.”
After Wednesday’s lesson Elizabeth and I had a very similar conversation with Gapi and a couple of other ladies. Like Wati, they were telling Elizabeth that Jesus was going to deal with their sins on the cross. But like Wati, they didn’t understand that God’s wrath we deserved was poured out on Jesus. When they got it, they too went silent and started to cry. In a culture where people rarely sacrifice for others, God’s mercy and grace are overwhelming them.
As we discussed all this Friday morning with our small group, it became clear that Gapi thought she had to live rightly from here on. When we explained that Jesus took our punishment for past and future sins she jumped up, clapped her hands and with a huge grin reached out to shake our hands and thank us for delivering this good news.
More to come.