There they were, a boy and a girl hitchhiking. It was 1971, and I was on my way to Lafayette, Louisiana. We had just completed our last revival. My former company asked me to come back to work with them. Off I went to scope out everything.
It never bothered me to pick up hitchhikers if my family wasn’t with me. After all I had hitchhiked all across the country from California to Louisiana. The two young people got in the car. I asked, ‘Where are you going?’ ‘To the Maranatha House across from USL.’ (University of South Louisiana.)
And thats where our friendship began. These kids were part of the tail end of the Jesus movement of the 60s. The Maranatha House was an unofficial sorority for campus kids. (It was known earlier as the Mustard Seed.)
How I fell in love with these young people. They were so idealistic in their antiestablishmentism. But their love for Jesus was refreshing and even a bit disarming. It wasn’t long before they ask me to share Bible studies with them. What a joy. They would sit around me on the floor in rapt attention. They were all like sponges.
Now I must tell a precious story. At that time I was still involved in a very conservative Pentecostal church group. As things went a number of the Jesus kids asked me if I would baptize them. Checking with the pastor to make sure it was alright to use the church Baptistry, he gave his OK. It was on a Saturday. Several of the church people wanted to see the baptism. They heard of my work with these young people. But there was a problem that I had not prepared everyone for. In fact I hadn’t even thought about it.
I had failed to tell the Jesus kids how to dress. Here they came with their swim suits, some two-pieced for the girls and shorts for the guys. You should have seen the faces. Chins began to drop and eyes were wide open. It was certainly a new experience for everyone. The Jesus kids got to meet the church kids. (By the way the Jesus kids were often mocked at with the term ‘the Jesus freaks.’)
And, yes, the Jesus kids had their own struggles and failures just as we do. But they could make beautiful music. Their love for Jesus radiated. I guess you could compare them to diamonds in the rough. Aren’t we all? Oh how I could tell some hilarious stores about these kids. Maybe some other time.
Well, if you would like to see what the Jesus kids looked like back in the 60s and the 70s, here is a clip you will truly enjoy. Just look at their faces and the sincerity in their worship.
Children of the Day. ‘For Those Tears I Died.’
Sometimes a song will reach deeper into our heart than anything else. Let’s move forward a number of years and listen to another group who loves Jesus dearly. This song is entitled, ‘He Understands My Tears.’ It is by the Jewish Christian group, the Isaacs.
Jesus gave the most important object lesson to be had about life’s struggles…
The point is that we all sin. We all miss the mark. We all have issues where we’ve been the cause of our own failings. It is like the apostle wrote,
“There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turn aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.” (Rom3:10-12 nasb)
Did you catch it? There is not a person on this planet who can claim personal righteousness before God. Did you know that Paul called himself the chief of sinners?
So, what is the object lesson that Jesus gave us. It is found in this simple statement, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7 nasb)
What does this mean? It means to stop pointing your finger at others when you yourself have your own struggles and failings and sin issues.
The Lord was not excusing sin. He was dealing with two very important issues. His first words were to the accusers of the lady caught in adultery. Those who dragged her before Jesus were guilty of a sin that can be very damaging to our own lives. The sin of self-righteousness.
What about the lady? Her sin was not self-righteousness. Jesus also had words for her. See if His words tell you anything:
“Straightening up, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.'” (Joh 8:10-11 nasb)
Again did you catch it? The only one who could have condemned her was Jesus, and He would not. He did not come to condemn her, but to save her. Jesus came to help her get her life straightened out.
Our job is not to go about condemning people. We are in the business of helping to save people. It is like the preacher who said, ‘We preach best when we preach out of our own wounds.’
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged…” (John 3:17,13 nasb)
Lord, save us from ourselves…
We need someone who can reach into our lives and save us from ourselves, from our foolish mistakes, from our own self-destructions, as well as from all the destructive forces at work in the world. We need grace! We need a mighty Savior. And that is what Jesus came to give us. Jesus saves eternally.
This is what Paul was talking about when he said that the letter kills, while the Spirit gives us life. The Lord give us His Holy Spirit to help us walk the journey of life. There are too many situations in life where only the Spirit of the Lord can help us to maneuver correctly. Our problem is that we tend to beat each other up with the letter, or even beat ourselves up, rather than allow the Lord to bring healing where it belongs.
So, does God understand our tears?
Yes He does. He actually weeps with us. He knows our heart, our pain, our struggles. But He also knows our future. The Lord decided in eternity past that He would be our Savior. And He decided in eternity that He would give us the victory of the cross, and that no weapon ever formed against us would ever prosper.
He decided to take our place in this sin filled world, and to share with us His place in His eternal kingdom.
This is why I often make the statement, ‘Jesus saved us. Jesus is saving us. Jesus will save us.’
What about the Jesus kids?
Well, we are those kids. People will always be the same. Maybe it is a good sign that the world calls us ‘Jesus freaks.’ We should consider it a great honor.
I will never lose my love for ministering to those the world sees as misfits. Seems I will always have the heart of an evangelist.
Think about it.