Some of the first words I heard this year were “Jesus loves you”. It was early in the morning, and we needed to pick up a card at the grocery store. As I was looking at the cards, a man walked over to me and said, “I usually don’t do this, but I wanted to tell you that Jesus loves you.” I replied, “I really appreciate you telling me that, and Jesus loves you, too.”
This was not the usual grocery store exchange. And since part of my personality is to analyze why things happen (some call it paranoia), I had various, interfering thoughts (“Do I look like someone who doesn’t know Jesus loves him? Maybe not shaving this morning was a bad idea.”) I then thought about what it says in Mark 16:15. One translation of it reads, “Then Jesus said to them, ‘So wherever you go in the world, tell everyone the Good News’.”
This is what the man was doing. Even though I have known that Jesus loves me for as long as I can remember, unexpectedly hearing it that day seemed to cut to the heart of what really matters. It was like John 8:32 says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” That is how it felt to really experience those words. It felt like someone had just told me the answer to life, the universe, and everything. And that is exactly what had happened.