In our Let’s Start Talking project, we often repeat Luke stories because we sometimes meet with six or seven readers a day. Thus we teach the same lessons multiple times. The questions and answers, however, are not the same. For example, lesson four is about Jesus staying in the temple in Jerusalem to talk and listen with religious leaders. His parents on their way home don’t know this and think he is lost.
One of the questions I often ask the reader after reading this story is, “Have you ever been lost?” Usually the answers center around being lost in a store or at a festival. This middle-aged reader we will call Leo thought for a moment and in his limited English said, “Yes, a long time ago.” I wasn’t clear on what that meant, so I asked him more about the situation. I quickly realized he was talking about being lost spiritually! He said he eventually found Jesus and is no longer lost. That answer surprised me, but I realized he had made an excellent point.
I have preached many sermons on the crucifixion and events surrounding it. Yesterday with another reader I was talking about how the blood of Jesus takes away our sins because he died on the cross.
Then he asked, “How does the blood take away your sins?” Finding words to give a clear and accurate answer to one who is newly learning about Jesus was for me very difficult. What seemed logical in a sermon no longer seemed to fit this young and curious reader. How does the blood of a person who was killed 2000 years save us today? I did not do a very good job. Since our reading together, I have been mulling over a better answer so I will be prepared when that question is asked again.
Since many readers have a limited knowledge of the Bible and all are from a different culture, finding the right answer and responding to an unexpected answer certainly keep me from growing weary of doing the same lesson multiple times.