What a blessing to be able to work together, laboring alongside each other, in the work of the gospel. Thursday Jessi and I teamed up at U.C. Berkeley to sow some gospel seeds among the students hanging out around the Sproul Plaza area. It was a wonderful day working together with Jessi. God answered our prayers for opportunities to share the gospel.
First we went up to a table full of students promoting campus jobs. We chatted with them and asked if anyone wanted a gospel of John to read. One young man called D.J., (21 years old) took one, and as we started sharing the gospel with them, most of them began to excuse themselves and walk away. D.J. looked at us and listened intently. When we were finished speaking, he said that he had the bible at home and just wanted to hear my testimony (the gospel presentation). He said he was Catholic, and went to church and did all the Roman Catholic stuff, so he knew ‘all that’. So then I went into my Catholic testimony about trying to be a good person, earning salvation on my own, and how Jesus revealed Himself to me as the only Way, the only One who has done the work to save us. Almost all his friends had left, but when we were done talking, he said he would now read the gospel himself.
Then we walked up past the arch and sat down on a bench, next to a young woman (21 years old). We started chatting, learned her name is Charlotte, and it turns out she had just arrived yesterday, from Norway, to begin her junior year at Berkeley. This was a direct answer to prayer. We chatted a while about many things, and I asked her what she was going to be studying at Cal. She is a Political Science major and Sociology/Anthropology minor. So we asked her, “What, in your opinion, is man’s biggest problem?”
After thinking about it a while (she had not thought of that question before), she decided that hunger is man’s biggest problem right now. From that we went into the entire gospel with her, starting with the fact that, even if hunger is a problem, it is temporary, and eventually people die, and hunger is no longer an issue. Rather, the biggest, most serious problem is then before a person (with eternal consequences): their sin guilt before God, and having to face the judgment and condemnation of a just and holy God against our sin against Him. We shared law, sin, judgment, grace and mercy, the cross, redemption; the entire gospel to her, and gave her the gospel of John, which she has never read. She said she had never heard this before, in her country. I thank God for sending her here, to hear it!
Later, after saying hello to people in our group on Telegraph, (where the music and preaching was), we walked down the street. I walked into a store for a minute while Jessi went up to a parked ambulance. When I came out, she had the two young men (about 25) engaged in a spiritual conversation that she started by giving them a tract called “The facts about death”. Being EMT’s, they were very interested in this topic. It turns out that Tommy is a Christian, and the other young man was raised in a nominal Jewish home, where he learned almost no scripture. His name was, wonderfully, Joshua.
We talked with him about all the many scriptures prophets had written about the Messiah, that Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies, and that God offered salvation to the Jewish people first, that He revealed Himself and His Word to them first, that He gave us our Savior/Redeemer through them, as one of them, how God is graciously saving from among all the nations, through the Jewish Messiah. And of course we told him how wonderful it is that he has the same name as the Lord’s name, and we told him what it means. He eyes were wide as he was listening, and he was soaking it up. As he looked into the gospel booklet and read along, we recited to him the first few lines of John, and John 1:14, and told him it is speaking of this same Person, Yashua, who is Jesus; that He is the Lord; that God became flesh and dwelt among us, to take our sins away. He said he would read the gospel. Jessi and I were pretty excited to see his open-hearted response.
Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim,
And publish abroad His wonderful Name;
The Name all victorious of Jesus extol,
His kingdom is glorious and rules over all.
We’ve a message to give to the nations,
That the Lord who reigns up above
Has sent us His Son to save us,
And show us that God is love,
And show us that God is love.