I never thought that when I started ministering to a tribe with no knowledge of Jesus Christ or Christian theology, my own understanding of the gospel would be so deepened. There’s no need in ministry here to dig and strive for a new concept to teach every few days, as even the most basic concepts are brand new. Even recently, when I made the statement, “Jesus is the son of God,” the response of my disciple who was translating was, “That’s too complicated—they don’t know what God is.”
And so, for the past two years, I’ve been teaching the most simple, most profound thing I could; God, who created everything, loves you and became human to be near to you. He died in your place so he could give you his life and fill you with his very own spirit.
The more I’ve taught this, the more I don’t want to teach anything else. Even my personal growth with the Lord has become less about what new things I’m learning, and more about how much I actually believe in the redemptive work of Jesus’ life and death.
In Luke chapter 4, Jesus reads the scroll from the prophet Isaiah (specifically what we now call chapter 61) about the spirit of the Lord being on him to preach good news to the poor, liberty for captives, sight to the blind, and so on. Then he sits down and gives what may be the simplest sermon ever spoken: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
These nine words, simple as they are, have a profound effect on everything we know. This statement breathes life to the beautiful, hopeful words of Isaiah 61. Good news has come for the poor. Sight is available to the blind. Freedom is available to the oppressed. Joy and beauty are available to those whose lives are in ashes. Redemption isn’t something we hope for, but instead something we trust in. When we simply teach the story of God’s redemption, we’re not avoiding or ignoring the hardships of life; we’re actually unleashing the potential for true, genuine transformation, which can only come through the power of Christ.