John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

This passage of Scripture, often quoted and seen on posters at sporting events, has a powerful message that has personally changed my life; the message of salvation and redemption of mankind through God’s Son, Jesus Christ! This verse clearly articulates the scope to which this message applies. Jesus came to the earth not just for one particular people group; not just for the religious people, not just for those who are deemed “poor”, not just for those who are considered “righteous”, but for all people. Jesus came into our world because of His love for all people; for the whole world! The message of Jesus’ love is for the whole world to hear. After His resurrection from the dead, Jesus said to His disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15). Clearly Jesus’ vision was for the whole world, for all people, to hear the Good News!

During my first year of walking with Jesus, He began to place the world upon my heart. One of the most memorable ways that He did this was through a book by DC Talk entitled “Jesus Freaks.” Over the winter break of my senior year in high school, my family took a trip to Florida where we visited a bookstore in the area. As I browsed through various books in the religion section, I came across the previously mentioned book. I began to read stories of men and women who had suffered and endured persecutions for their faith in Christ. Some of these men and women were released from imprisonment, while others perished inside their confinements. However, there was a resounding sound of triumph in their stories regardless of their release or death. This triumph came only through the hope that they had in the promises of Jesus. They, by faith, believed that Jesus indeed had overcome the world and had something far greater in store for them then their current sufferings. Paul writes in Romans of suffering by stating: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). There will come a day when those who believe in Christ will be glorified with Him in His presence. This promise of an eternal life with Jesus and the assurance of His eternal presence gives light and hope in even the darkest of circumstances.

As I continued to flip through the “Jesus Freaks” book, I realized how blessed I was to live in a country where I could worship Jesus freely; to live in a country where I could meet with believers and share the Gospel without facing the possibility of imprisonment. In the back of the DC Talk book, there were pages dedicated to the various countries that are considered closed or restricted to the Gospel of Christ. I opened the back of the book to one of these countries and it happened to be the nation of China. As I read through some of the details regarding the Church in China, two things happened seemingly simultaneously. I was in awe at how Jesus was moving in the lives of men and women in that country, and at the same time, my heart broke for both God’s people in China as well as for those who did not yet know Him in that country. I decided to begin to pray for the people of China and with these experiences, Jesus began to transform my heart. Jesus began to build into my heart His heart and vision for the world. He also began to specifically place the people of China upon my heart, and so I continued to pray for the people in that nation as well as for other nations around the world.

Jesus’ vision is to reach the world with the message of His love and grace and He invites us to be used by Him to reach men and women around the world. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we are to travel to foreign countries, but Jesus may very well call you to a place that you never dreamed of going. Before I knew Jesus, I never would have imagined going to another country to share the love of a God who died to save all of mankind. Jesus gives us an interesting promise regarding the world in the book of Psalms. The psalmist writes in Psalm 2:8, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” Jesus invites us to pray for the nations, for the ends of the earth. He invites us to join Him in reaching the world with His Good News and promises that He is able to reach even the ends of the earth. In this coming week, seek the Lord regarding a nation that He would lay upon your heart to pray for. Pray for the people there; pray even that He would use your life to impact the people there. As a friend once told me, “ask BIG things of a BIG God.”