This story was written on August 10, 2009, and is reposted from another blog.
Amanda and I spent some time before dinner on Avenida Entrana, with the cross. I distributed a few tracts to pedestrians who came to our corner.
I watched as a young man with skateboard in hand walked to the corner on the opposite side of Avenida Entrana. He pushed the button to cross Lyons Avenue, and waited. He looked at me, looked across Lyons Avenue, and looked at me again. He dropped his head as if he was thinking about what he should do.
He moved away from the Lyons Avenue side of the corner and pushed the button to walk across Avenida Entrana.
My phone rang. It was Mahria.
"Twenty-five minutes until dinner."
"Okay. Gotta go, honey. I think I'm about to have a conversation."
"Okay. Bye!" She said with an excited tone.
When the light turned green, he hopped on his skateboard and made his way to our side of the street. When he reached the corner, I handed him an Obama Trillion Dollar Bill gospel tract. "Did you get your trillion dollars yet today?"
He chuckled and took the bill from my hand. He walked behind me, to the light pole. He pushed the pedestrian button to cross Lyons Avenue.
I turned around to face him. His name was Jerad.
Jerad pointed up at my cross and said, "Is this about the Christian religion?"
"Well, it's about Christ; but it's not about religion. I'm asking people the trillion-dollar question. Are you ready to stand before Jesus Christ?"
"No. I'm not ready."
"Why do you say that?"
"Because of my youth."
"Oh. Are you not concerned because you think you have a long life ahead of you?"
"Do you have any idea when you're going to die?"
"Neither do I." I said. "So, what do you think is going to happen to you when you die? What's next after this life?"
"I'm not sure."
"Do you believe in God?"
"I believe someone created everything. But there's no mention of dinosaurs in the Bible. There's just so many questions about the Bible."
"Apparently, you've never read the Book of Job. While it's true that the Bible doesn't contain the word 'dinosaur,' there are two creatures mentioned in Job that could very well be dinosaurs. 'Behemoth'(Job 40:15), while its exact identity is unknown, the word used in the Hebrew text indicates that it was a very large land animal that could have been a dinosaur. 'Leviathan' (41:1), while its exact identity is unknown, the word used in the Hebrew text indicates that it was a very large sea creature that could have been a dinosaur of some kind."
"Yeah, but there are so many inconsistencies in the Bible."
"Really? Can you tell me where they are?"
"Well, there is so much evidence in science."
"Are you referring to the science that up until 1492 believed the world was flat, when the Bible declared thousands of years earlier that the world is round (Isa. 40:22)?"
"The Bible says that?"
"Yep. Or are you referring to the science that told people they should wash their hands in a bowl of standing water, when the Bible declared people should wash their hands in running water (Lev. 15:13)?
"The Bible says that?"
"Yep. Or are you referring to the science that taught that sick people should have their blood drained from their body, when the Bible teaches that blood is the source of life (Lev. 17:11)."
"It says that, too?"
"Yep. Or are you trusting the science that up until a few years ago taught that there were nine planets in our solar system, but now insists there are only eight?"
"Well, there are some flaws in science."
"Yes, there are." I said. "Seeing that you believe God exists, let's assume for the sake of argument that heaven and hell are real places. What do you think a person has to do to go to hell?"
"I don't know. Not believe in God, I guess."
"What do you think a person has to do to go to heaven."
"Keep the Ten Commandments."
"So, how's that working out for you? Have you been able to keep them?"
"Well, nobody's perfect."
"You're right. I know I'm not."
Having quickly dealt with his intellectual defense mechanisms, the door was now open to deal with his conscience.
"Jerad, have you ever told a lie?"
"Me, too. If we tell lies, what does that make us?"
"Have you ever stolen anything?"
"Yes, I have."
"So have I. If we've stolen things, what does that make us?"
"How old are you?"
"Jerad, let's say you started sinning--started breaking God's Law--when you were ten years old. You started much younger than that, but just to paint a picture, let's say you started breaking God's Law when you were twelve.
"If you only sin three times a day in thought, word, or deed, in a year you will have broken God's Law one thousand times. In ten years: ten thousand times. In twenty years you will break God's Law twenty thousand times.
"Now, let's say you were standing before a judge, having broken the law, and the judge asks you what you have to say for yourself. You tell the judge, 'I'm sorry. I promise I will never do it again. So, I think you ought to let me go.' In response, the judge unrolls what looks like a giant roll of paper towels, which is your RAPS sheet, listing the twenty thousand crimes you've committed. Do you think the judge is going to believe that you will never break the law again?"
"And you don't believe it either, do you?"
"So, if you were to die today and stand before God, and He judged you according to the standard of His Law, do you think He would find you innocent or guilty?"
"And if God is a good and righteous Judge--and He is, what should He do with you? Heaven or hell?"
"Does that concern you at all?"
"Yes, it does."
"Good. That means your conscience, which is a gift from God, is working. That's good."
"Do you have any idea what God did so that you might not have to spend eternity in hell?"
Jerad looked up at the cross. "His Son died on the cross."
That's right. Two thousand years ago, God the Father sent His Son to Earth in the person of Jesus Christ--fully-God and fully-Man, but without sin. Unlike you and me, He never once violated the Law of God in thought, word, or deed. He couldn't. He was God in the flesh--the sinless Lamb of God. He was born of a virgin, just as the prophet said He would be, 750 years before His birth.
"Thirty to thirty-three years into that earthly existence He voluntarily went to the cross. He suffered, shed His innocent blood, and died a horrific death. The Bible says that he was so badly beaten and mutilated that He could barely be recognized as human. He suffered and died, taking upon Himself the punishment you and I rightly deserve for violating God's Law. Three days later He rose from the dead and forever defeated death. Unlike the false gods of every other religion on the planet, Jesus Christ is alive and He will return at a time of the Father's choosing.
"What He commands of you is that you repent--that you turn away from and forsake your sin; and that you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
"If God causes you to be born again, when you die and stand before Him, instead of receiving what you deserve for breaking God's Law (which is eternity in hell), you will receive what you don't deserve (which is grace, and mercy, and everlasting life in heaven, with Jesus Christ).
"Isn't that good news?"
"Will you give it some thought?"
"Jerad, I may not see you again. I care about you and I don't want you to go to hell. Please repent and believe the gospel while God has given you time. The Bible says that today is the day of salvation. The time to get right with God isn't when you are standing before Him waiting to be judged. That would be like standing before a judge in a courtroom and saying, 'Wait a minute, judge. I didn't think I would get caught. I didn't think the jury would find me guilty. And I didn't think you would punish me. So, I think you ought to just let me go and forget about the whole thing.'
"A good judge is going to look at you and say, 'Jerad, you should have thought about that before you broke the law. It's too late, now.'
"I don't want that to happen to you, Jerad."
"Then get right with God while He's given you time."
The light turned green. It had turned green many times since Jerad and I began our conversation. Jerad and I shook hands and said good-bye.
Amanda and I packed up and went to the car. We drove about a quarter-mile when the phone rang again. It was Mahria. "Five minutes until dinner."
"We're on the road. We'll be home in just a minute. God did it again, honey."
Yes it was. It was very cool.
We prayed for Jerad, as a family, before enjoying the meal the Lord provided. Join us in praying for Jerad's salvation.