10/05/17 - Pastor Young
When I was a child, my parents made the decision to leave their motherland, Korea, in order to give me a brighter future. It was a difficult decision for them, moving to a country where they were unfamiliar with the culture, food and people.
My dad found it especially difficult, as he struggled with the English language. Once, he recounted to me a story about how he was getting ready to take us on a family vacation, and after he and my mother packed everything, he realised that their camera was out of film (this was before the days of iPhones and digital cameras). He went to the local store to pick up some film, but couldn't find it anywhere for the life of him. He approached the counter to ask the worker where the film was, but unfortunately, the worker didn't understand him. "Pirm! Pirm!" my dad kept saying, hoping that repeating it and saying it louder might help get the message across (the Korean language doesn't have a natural "f" sound, so "p" was the closest approximation he could make).
The language barrier ended up being something that plagued my dad throughout his time outside of his home country. Both my parents still ask me to speak to telcos and such on their behalf. Can you imagine the everyday things that we take for granted being hidden behind a seemingly impenetrable, invisible wall of unfamiliar language?
But imagine if the stakes were raised. What if eternal life was cordoned off in such a way? You stand amidst dust and ashes and just beyond your reach is a fountain of living water, but a velvet rope separates you from it.
This past week, however, we saw how Jesus turned the understanding of the Pharisees upside down when it came to such a concept. He reached out and touched a leper, healing him not only physically, but surely the emotional aspect of a compassionate touch for an unclean man would have spoken volumes. He healed the paralysis of a man brought before Him by friends, and forgave his sins. Jesus ate amongst those with social stigmas; He challenged the "religious elite" about their traditions of fasting; and He called common men to be His disciples.
One by one, barrier after barrier fell at the feet of Jesus. The road to eternal life was opened, and the one to open it was the fount of living water Himself.
If you've never had the privilege of drinking from this living water, and you've only ever seen it from a distance -- come. The Lord invites you, and makes a way for you to have what was seemingly hidden behind an impenetrable curtain. You are invited.
And if you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, then look around you. Are there any barriers to entry that you can see? Are those around you considered undesirable in some way, whether by yourself or by society at large? Or are there a bunch of traditions or religious jargon to navigate that are keeping them from knowing God?
Break down those barriers for them. Share the gospel with them -- the good news that Jesus has removed all of the barriers to entry at the cross.
My dad did eventually get the film he was after. The language barrier broke down through a system of pantomimes and pointing.
How can you creatively break down the barriers around you?