“I was a stranger, and you welcomed me, I was naked, and you clothed me, I was sick, and you visited me, I was in prison, and you came to me.” – Matthew 25:36
A few weeks ago we were invited to serve a group of young men and women who were working hard to overcome the troubles in their lives. A dear friend of the ministry, Chuck Davies, asked us to share a few words on Experiencing Jesus. Driving onto what seemed like an abandoned military based tucked in the woods of Maryland, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of separation from the world. Dilapidated buildings and rusted out Humvees were on every side as I looked out the window. This, I said to myself, is no man’s land. But this is also where we would have the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus to a group of troubled teens.
In light of our bleak and disconnected setting, I felt it most appropriate to share a brief devotion on the reconciling power of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2 is a reminder to believers of our once far off and helpless condition. But Paul reminds the saints that Jesus was ripped apart so that we could be reconciled to God and Jesus also came and preached peace to those who were outsiders making them family.
This is a beautiful truth in light of those whom I was speaking over. These were young men and young women who the world has pushed aside. Their families have abandoned many of the children in the room. Institutions that should have taught them skills and the basics of knowledge in the world have deemed them unteachable and unreachable. In light of their physical distance from the world and their social distance from society, Jesus comes near to them. Seeing their eyes light up as the Scriptures were explained brings tears to my eyes even now.
This is why we go to boot camps for troubled youth and why we are working to plant a church in Baltimore. Jesus came near to those whom the world had cast off and marginalized. Jesus was torn in pieces so that outcast could become family. And Jesus preached peace so that we could be called, “children of God.”