As Roger* and Lorraine testify of God’s ongoing work in the lives of people in their church and community, they can only say, “We give the Lord all the glory and praise for what he’s doing in our incredible weakness.”
Jed is one example of what God is doing through their ministry. He is an Australian aboriginal, active in his community despite extremely poor health. About five years ago, he started attending evangelistic meetings. Each month he would show up and sit through the gospel messages. He liked what he heard about Jesus and finally, after four years, was ready for some more in-depth study of the Bible.
For Roger, this was an exciting opportunity. Ever since he and Lorraine had attended a TERM Seminar presented by Paul Humphreys in Australia, they had both used GoodSeed’s materials extensively to teach others the message of the Bible.
When Roger started going through The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus with Jed, he discovered that Jed’s knowledge of the Bible was basically at zero. For starters, he didn’t know who Cain and Abel were and, as time went on, it became apparent that the Bible’s story was completely new to Jed. Despite the fact that Jed had heard many fantastic gospel messages over the last few years, in reality they had meant nothing to him. He had no understanding of who God was. Neither did he understand what sin is and how it impacts our relationship with God.
Jed was into the study right from the start and each session opened his eyes to things he had never heard of. The Stranger gave him a framework that helped him understand. He began to grasp the truth that he was a sinner before a holy God and was in big trouble.
As Roger walked through the Old Testament stories of the sacrificial lamb, Jed took the need of a sufficient substitute very seriously. So seriously that, after a few months, he said “Hey, Roger, I’m going to have to buy a flock of sheep so I can get right with God for all the bad stuff I’ve done!”
Then they got to Jesus. As they read about Jesus’ arrest, Jed became very concerned. “They’re going to kill him, aren’t they?” he asked Roger. Despite the fact he had heard about the cross many times before, he didn’t know the background of what had actually happened. The stories surrounding Jesus’ death were new to him.
But by the end of chapter 14 of The Stranger—the chapter that goes back and puts all the pieces of the gospel together in a comprehensive “big picture”—Jed’s concern had transformed into joy. In response to the truth of who Jesus is and what he accomplished on the cross, Jed’s simple statement was, “Well, I understand it and I believe it.”
And he really had. A few months later, Roger wrote to Paul Humphreys about Jed:
“He’s so excited about his new life in Christ and wants to learn it all real fast. He wants all of his family and friends to know and he gets upset that they don’t show much interest. We are praying for them and would love others to pray as well.”
Jed’s story illustrates that though one can hear the gospel message many times, if a person begins from a place of biblical illiteracy, it’s too easy to miss the meaning of the empty cross and empty tomb. It was good that Roger did not rush but took the time to give Jed the biblical background he needed. His story demonstrates how the Holy Spirit works through faithful ambassadors of Christ. Like Roger, our job is to clearly present the gospel and then trust God to do what he does best—bring people to saving faith in him.
To learn more about how GoodSeed resources help people with no Biblical knowledge gain an understanding of the gospel, read A Unique Architecture.
(* All names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)