I am writing this week from Nuremberg, Germany where my wife and I are serving an English speaking church for the summer. We are surrounded with history, culture and beauty. The church is composed of remarkable people from Germany, Ireland, England, Romania, Ukraine, China, Cameroon, India, Sweden, Austria and others. Most are in their twenties and thirties.
This church reminds me that Jesus Christ was sent for all people of every nation in every age. When God called Abraham, He promised to make him a blessing to all the nations. Isaiah said, “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.” (Isa. 42:1) And again, “The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.” (Isa. 52:10) Those promises are fulfilled in Jesus.
The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost reflects the fact that Jesus came for everyone. Shortly after His resurrection, many people gathered in Jerusalem from many nations, and they all heard the message of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection in their own language. “Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2)
When John saw the vision that he recorded in Revelation, he declared, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
Clearly, God wants people from every nation to experience His salvation in Jesus Christ. To accomplish this purpose, God is moving people all around the world and exposing them to opportunities to hear the gospel. According to a recent study by Lousanne World Pulse, Christianity as a whole is growing faster than the global population with the fastest growth in Asia and Eastern Europe. We are living in one of the most exciting eras of human history, when more people are discovering faith in Christ from all over the world than ever before.
A few years ago our daughter went on a mission trip to Andhra Pradesh in India. At the same time I visited Lubbock, Texas. When I checked into the hotel, the clerk who greeted me was from Andhra Pradesh.
Whether we are in Dallas, Houston, Lubbock or Nuremberg, Germany, every believer needs to reach out to international visitors around them, to welcome them, to love them, and to share with them the life-changing difference Jesus Christ makes in our lives.