It is Thursday night before Easter. Eight adults and teenagers from our Sunday night support group meet at the Grace Theater in Houston to see “John, His Story,” by Jeannette Clift George. In this play, which has been performed Off-Broadway as well as in this A.D. Players home arena, the ensemble cast of four actors and actresses play twenty-five different characters who tell the stories of the supernatural signs reported in John’s Gospel (as Jeannette describes it) “in terms of ordinary people confronting extra-ordinary miracles.” It is powerful drama that elicits chill-bumps, chuckles and tears. These “signs” still “sign-ify.” We all leave the theater with fresh appreciation of Jesus as God’s Son and our Savior.
I am impressed anew by Jesus’ agenda as portrayed in John’s Gospel. In a dark world he is light. In a dying world he is life. To a sinful world he speaks forgiveness. To a sick and broken world he brings healing and restoration. Where Jesus goes, joy follows. Tears are wiped away. Laughter erupts. Heavy hearts lighten. Hope replaces despair. God is for us, Jesus says, not against us. God actually loves the world, which means each one of us. Do we really dare to believe that?
Jesus did not come to bring religion. He did not come to bring laws and rules. He did not come to judge and condemn. He reaches out to the needy, the unpretentious, the humble and ignored. He has time for social and religious outcasts, for sinners, for the sick and the poor. He talks about a Father who longs to embrace his children. To those spiritually hungry and thirsty, Jesus offers heavenly nourishment and refreshment. He lives his life for others and his living reveals the heart of God. Finally he gives his life for others, to take away their sins and to bring them home to God.
This is the Jesus agenda, I reflect. If I want to be his disciple, it must be my agenda also — in some sense and in some way. Books are important, but this is far more than academics. Morality is important but this is more than do’s and don’ts. Church has its place but that place is surely to foster and to encourage this agenda. When I encounter people, do they sense the presence of this Jesus also? When others interact with me, do they intuit that God is for them . . . that he “so loved the world” . . . that he weeps at our sorrow and wills our fullness of life? What exactly do others detect about God from knowing me? From knowing you?