I sat next to a beautiful woman I have met only twice, and she told me about her divorce and liturgical background, her ex-husband's remarriage and her newly discovered growth as a single mother. Then she said to me, "I like the idea of following God. But I don't really understand Jesus."
When you grow up as a Christian kid, you hear many analogies of the Trinity, the egg, the apple (complete with illustrated picture book or water.) You hear God preached as three in one, Father, Son and Spirit. It wasn't until last year that I realized how insanely difficult it can be to explain a Trinitarian God to someone who is new to faith or exploring Christianity.
Add it to the list - of new wine in old wineskins, tongues of fire, Pharisees and Sadducees - include it on the long list of concepts and Scriptures so ingrained in our Christian vocabulary that we sometimes forget how impossibly strange they sound to a generation that have forsaken belief in God as antiquated, restrictive and just a little bit weird.
About a year ago, I was studying the passage in Hebrews: “By faith we understand that the universe was created (framed) by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).
The picture that God gave me at that time in that study was this picture of creation: Imagine that in the Trinity (God, three in one), the Father gave the vision of creation. The Son built the framework, and the Spirit hovered over the details or the deep.
And where there was nothing in the beginning but God, there became something, the revealing of a triune Creator who created us and called His handiwork, "Good."
This same work is what God is doing as He recreates us.
God, ever the creative designer, sends His Son, Jesus, the Carpenter, King, Friend, Servant, Savior, Miracle Worker. All of this is revealed by the Spirit of God who is changing us from glory to glory.
I shared this analogy because it felt more real than the apple, water droplets or egg, while this woman, who I've only met twice, sat, listened and nodded.
Yesterday I saw her, for the third time, at a church I've visited. Before she slipped out, she leaned over and said, "Thank you for telling me that story of Jesus. I told my friend and for the first time ever, it helps me want to know Jesus. It helped us understand why we want to know Him."
There are a thousand ways we can tell the story of Christ and the message of the Gospel. There are many pictures, examples and far richer theology than eternity can contain on the joys of the Trinitarian God who was perfect in relationship and created us to be with Him.
My conversation with this woman reminded me to passionately learn theology. Know scripture. Study well. Share it broadly. If the message of the Gospel is one that we only parrot because our pastor told us so, it will immediately be seen as fake and insincere.
Who is Jesus?
Jesus is the Son of God who came in the likeness of God. When we see him, we recognize and trust who God is.
The stamp of His character reveals His love. Jesus is the builder. In Him all things consist and are held together. He built a world. Became God's word to that world. Loved us in life and to death. Overcame death and hell to live forevermore. Made us holy. Sat down in heaven. Will return with nail-scarred hands to build a new world and give us life forevermore.
I leaned over to the woman and whispered back, "I'm so glad you are learning to love Jesus." The more you know Him, the more you love Him.