It feels unlikely that there’s stuff I don’t know about Jesus.
If you asked me outright then of course its true that there's lots more to know but having grown up in a Christian home, been to a CofE school and worked for a church its hard to believe that that's true sometimes. I wonder where your young people are at? Do they expect to be surprised, confused, enlightened by God? Have they heard all the stories, seen all the miracles, prayed all the prayers there are to pray?
Two verses from Philippians stood out to me last term and I’ve been sharing them up and down the country ever since. It is a description Paul gives of himself to the Philippians; “In regard to the law, a Pharisee, as for zeal, persecuting the Church, as for righteousness based on the law, faultless” (Phil 3: 5-6) . It struck me that this was Paul’s description of himself before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus.
Paul was a Pharisee, he would have had in-depth knowledge of the Scriptures. He could have quoted you the Messianic prophecies and from them told you of the Messiah's character, birthplace and ministry. He would have known whole chapters, if not books, off by heart.
“As for zeal, persecuting the Church”...this was a fearfully passionate man. He was prepared to torture and kill those he felt were dishonouring and cheapening the truth of God. We may not defend his actions but his passion for his religion was unmistakeable.
“...as for righteousness based on the law, faultless”. Not only did Paul know his Scriptures and hold a deep passion for his faith, he was also ridiculously well behaved. He prayed, gave to the poor and did all that was required of him as a good Jew.
Yet he missed the most significant, pivotal thing that Yahweh had ever done - the sending, death and resurrection of the Christ.
No matter where your young people are at, there is more of God and his ways to be discovered. If they have heard all the bible stories, are passionate for God and obedient to his calling that does not mean they’ve seen it all. Not only is there more out there, but that which they discover could turn everything they currently understand upside down.
What about youth workers? Those who have taught the same stories again and again, whose passion has led them to commit to sharing faith with others and who strive to set an example in their lifestyle to those they lead? There is more for us too. We are not beyond God’s ability to astound, confuse and enlighten.
As I help youth workers prepare young people for university life I see the potential for Paul-like revelations. Stepping out into new environments our young people have the chance to experience new truths of our God that can turn their world upside down. There is more for every one of them.