5 Quotes from ‘The Jesus I Wish I Knew In High School’

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Here are five quotes from five contributing authors to give you a sense of what you and your students will find in the pages of The Jesus I Wish I Knew In High School.

Michelle Ami Reyes, Vice President of the Asian American Christian Collaborative, author, speaker, and activist in Austin, TX

My life has always been one of straddling fences and living in the in-between. Being Indian American means being a mestizo: a person in between worlds and never fully fitting in anywhere. It means being misunderstood, miscategorized, and misplaced. But Im not the only one who was created as a mestizo. Jesus was a person between worlds long before I was. In his incarnate form, he too had a bicultural identity…

You see, Jesus understood loneliness. He was rejected for many reasons, including the color of his skin and his ethnicity. Luke 9:58 tells us, “’Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’” Jesus knew how it felt to be misunderstood, to not ever feel at home in this world, and to be rejected. But for Jesus, all of these experiences were worth it. Despite the pain and the hardships he endured, he embraced being a misfit to meet us where we are. He acquired our customs, languages, and pains in order to care for us, to heal us, and to unite us. In fact, it is through his death and resurrection that Jesus embraced the way of suffering, the taunts, the pains of rejection, and even death so that we could be invited into his family among equals.

Watson Jones III, senior pastor of Compassion Baptist Church in Chicago, IL

A lot of times we are proud and arrogant because we feel the need to prove ourselves to God and to ourselves.

Grace takes that off of the table.

It doesnt matter what youve done. It doesnt matter how broken you feel. You do not have to bear the burden of your own performance. Gods love for you is immense and he demonstrates it through the death of his only Son Jesus. Therefore, you can never be good enough to gain more love and acceptance; you can never be bad enough to lose it.

Lauren Hansen, writer, speaker, and deacon of womens ministry at Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, AL

But for the first time in that Bible study, I read the whole story of Jesus, and John 3:16 finally made the gospel come alive to me: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” It struck me: for God so loved me that hed given up his Son, his only Son, to win me. Me! It may sound overly simplistic, but that truth was the affirmation Id always searched for; from the moment that verse clicked, I was saved and on the path to physical healing, just weeks into the Bible study.

What I needed—a Savior—I had; and it had nothing to do with my appearance or efforts. My worth, bigger and more beautiful than I ever imagined it could be, was a gift from God. I had nothing to do but accept it. Everything else paled in comparison to the light and gift of Christ.

Peter Ong, community engagement facilitator at Redeemer City to City in New York City

Christ traveled downward in pursuit of rescuing us, not only to deal with our sin but also to be Emmanuel—which means God with Us”—in the midst of our pain and weariness. He knew the implications of our shame and troubled hearts. He came into the world as the agonizing Shepherd facing the cross. As he went to cross, he experienced the full measure of our despair and yet responded with the full measure of his love to comfort us. He gathered us as the rejected, for we have a Sovereign who was rejected by the very people He sought to rescue. And on the cross, he experienced the cosmic rejection of his very own Father (see Mark 15:34).

When we cry out to God and lament, You dont understand and you dont care,” we are met by a God who does understand, and who cared for us so much that he went to be abandoned. He did all of this so that we would never be abandoned by the One who went to the depths for us.

Davis Lacey, lead pastor at Autumn Ridge Community Church in Ellijay, GA

The gospel alone gave me courage to confess my sins and to ask for help, because the gospel alone assured me that Christ had freed me from shame, and that his love would never depart from me. By the mercy of God, the friends to whom I confessed did not shame me, but affirmed me in my relationship with Christ. Theres no shame in having a dire need for Jesus; its the very reason he lived, died, and rose again. Im thankful for the friends who heard my confession in this light—who allowed me to come out of the shadows and to experience the joy of Proverbs 27:17, Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” My healing has taken place in the context of community.

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