Thursday, June 9, 2011

The story of Jesus worthy of tears, dancing and "holy profanity!"

Richard Wurmbrand, the Romanian pastor who spent many years in prison during the Soviet occupation of his country tells the wonderful story of a Russian soldier who hears for the first time the story of Jesus. Wurmbrand writes:
I read to him the Sermon on the Mount and the parables of Jesus. After hearing them, he danced around the room in rapturous joy proclaiming, “What a wonderful beauty! How could I live without knowing this Christ!” It was the first time that I saw someone so joyful in Christ.

Then I made a mistake. I read to him the passion and crucifixion of Christ, without having prepared him for this. He had not expected it and, when he heard how Christ was beaten, how He was crucified and that in the end He died, he fell into an armchair and began to weep bitterly. He had believed in a Savior and now his Savior was dead!

I looked at him and was ashamed. I called myself a Christian, a pastor, and a teacher of others, but I had never shared the sufferings of Christ as this Russian officer now shared them. …

Then I read him the story of the resurrection and watched his expression change. He had not known that his Savior arose from the tomb. When he heard this wonderful news, he beat his knees and swore—using very dirty, but very “holy” profanity. … He is alive! He is alive! He danced around the room once more, overwhelmed with happiness.
I love this story for several reasons including the fact that one who did not know this glorious news found so much joy in Jesus. I also love it because it reminds me of a little boy I once had in my good news club so many years ago. That was a Bible story telling time for neighborhood children. If you remember the old fashioned flannel graph cutouts of Bible stories, we used those to tell the story.

One little boy was just that excited (Well he didn’t cuss or dance) when I told the Easter story because he had never heard it before. He prayed with me to accept Jesus as his Savior. And then every time we met he insisted on accepting Jesus and I couldn’t understand why until it dawned on me that he also had never experienced praying and he simply wanted to pray. So we talked about praying and how he could talk to Jesus any time he wanted to. Sometimes we forget that that is also a gift of redemption.

“Therefore brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he inaugurated for us through the veil that is his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful …”