Did you know that this humble blog has readers from all over the world? From South Africa to the US and UK, but also more unexpected places such as Ethiopia, Singapore, Indonesia, Poland, South Korea, Philippines and more! If you are reading this from another country, comment below and let us know where you are from, I would love to hear from ‘family’ all over the world!
|Map of readers of Truth is The Word Blog
I am also excited to share with you that the blog has reached over 10 000 page views recently, and visits are growing faster than ever, so once again thanks to all of you for reading and sharing. Please keep up your efforts because as you can see from the map, the more you share, the more people can hear about the truth of Jesus Christ our Lord!
It’s been interesting too to see what posts you, the readers, are most interested in – the top three most read posts of all time are about revival (1), Halloween (2) and the Trinity (3). This month we will reach 100 posts in total! What are your personal favourite topics on the blog?
Encountering Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit!
From next week we will be taking a new journey on the blog together, something that I have never seen online but will, if you choose to join in and participate, be more than just reading and learning, but experiencing!
Many people, Christians and others, know quite a lot about Jesus. However, as disciples of Christ we are called not just to know about him but to know him. To know someone is to appreciate their nature, character, values and priorities. How then do we get to know Jesus’ nature and character? One way is to encounter him through the Gospel narratives.
To encounter him this way we need to do more than just read what he said and did, we need to place ourselves into the story and seek to experience something of the reality of what was taking place. The events recorded in the Gospels happened almost two thousand years ago, yet the main character in each account, Jesus, is still very much alive and he has the ability to engage us even now as we seek to encounter him in scripture.
The idea is to read a story of how Jesus interacted with the people of his day and then to become a bystander or a participant. As you read the account try to imagine what it would be like to actually be there. See the details around you, hear the sounds and smell the scents carried on the air. In this series I am going to introduce you to this way of reading the Bible by describing some scenes as vividly as I can. At a critical moment in the story I am going to stop and ask you the question; ‘what is Jesus revealing of himself to you in this?’ A few days after publishing the post I will comment on my own answer to this question and I would be so pleased if you would also comment on what you got out of the exercise. In this way we can benefit from each other’s appreciation of Jesus.
I have selected five stories for this series, all taken from the Gospel of John. The first is the account in John chapter 5 of how Jesus met the invalid at the pool of Bethesda and did for him what superstition was unable to do. The second encounter is the dramatic John 8 story of the woman caught in the very act of committing adultery. The next narrative is the description of how Jesus gives sight to the man who was born blind (John 9). The second last story is about how Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 18) and the final encounter is the John 20 account of how the resurrected Jesus appears to his disciples.
Each of these stories gives us a unique opportunity of encountering Jesus from a particular perspective. First, we will be a man who has been a helpless invalid for 38 years and who’s only expectation of a reasonable life has been a persistent superstitious hope. In the second encounter we can see Jesus through the eyes of a shamed and terrified woman. The third story gives us the opportunity of learning something about Jesus just by hearing him and feeling his touch even though we cannot see him. Then we can be anonymous disciples in a confused crowd as thugs come to arrest Jesus. Finally, we have the opportunity of taking the place of someone in a locked room when Jesus suddenly appears and proves who he is.
My hope and expectation is that we will know Jesus a little more through these encounters, appreciate him more, and love him more.