In the last issue, we took a look at how to present the basic Gospel message to young people, and I suggested using the four reasons for the Incarnation as a model for that message. The first two reasons were to save us by reconciling us with God and so that thus we might know God’s love. These two reasons are closely related to each other and are foundational in understanding the Good News of Jesus Christ. How much does God love us? He died so that we might be reconciled to Him. Why would He do such a thing? Because He loves us so much.
But to leave it with just those reasons makes the Gospel nothing more than an inspirational story. He didn’t die so that we would be the same.
Truly experiencing the freedom of God’s love calls us to live a new life. And so, ‘The Word Became flesh to be our model of holiness.’ God’s actions demand a response; we cannot go back to the status quo. The answer must not only be a yes from our lips but a yes from our hearts and lives. We need to be like Jesus.
What does this mean? The answer is again found in the Gospels, ‘our principal source for the life and teaching of the Incarnate Word, our Savior.’ In both word and deed, Jesus showed us the way to live: ‘I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’
This is why it is so important to know who Jesus is. Without understanding the Gospels, a teenager’s perspective of Jesus is more conceptual than personal. The question, ‘What would Jesus do?’ is often answered in lukewarm sentiments like, ‘Be nice,’ or ‘Be kind.’