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My parents took the girls to the zoo here in Lima on Good Friday for the first time. I’m still not sure who was more excited – my parents or my two daughters. While on this excursion we were certain our girls would see some pretty cool animals, but what we weren’t expecting was for them to see Jesus.

On Holy Thursday, Jesus was at the Peruvian zoo. I have my eldest daughter’s word on it.

Apparently, they had some type of performance of the Passion of Christ on the main lawn area. It was a harrowing moment for my daughters, not because they haven’t seen this performance or because they don’t know the story…but because Jesus spoke Spanish.

Wide-eyed and exhilarated, my daughter greeted me that evening with, “Daddy, GUESS WHAT?! Jesus speaks Spanish!”

I know, it was really cute.

But I’m not sharing this because it’s cute, but because it hit me like a brick. I’m sharing this because I personally need to have that same innocent light bulb go off in me as well. I need to be amazed at what amazed her about hearing Jesus speak another language. Because there is a mind-blowing truth about grace and how amazing it is at the center of this very realization.

See, my girls are still getting adjusted to their new home. This world called Peru is still brand new for them. They still feel like outsiders. They’re still discovering new tastes and words and meeting new people…all the time. They still filter things through “us” and “them.” For them, Jesus comes from “back there,” from that place called Minnesota, where everything is familiar to them and where Jesus speaks in their native tongue. Up until Thursday, the thought that Jesus spoke anything but English had not even crossed their mind. He was like them, because he always spoke their language.

Yes. Jesus does speak Spanish. He does speak English.

And German.

And Hindi.

And Bora.

And Hebrew.

And Tagalog.

And drunk.

And prostitute.

And drug-pusher.

And wife-beater.

And cheat.

He’s fluent in extortionist and arsonist, and even knows how to speak murderer.

Because he became all of that on Good Friday when he carried the sins of the world – yours and mine and “theirs”- on his shoulders. He became sin, so that we could become righteous. And he knows exactly how to speak to the hearts of the broken today. Those people that I may not like, people who drive me crazy and honk incessantly at me in traffic, and who smear my good name, and those who have wronged me.

Jesus spoke my language so that I would know how much he loves me. He used people that understood grace and who could look past the odious parts of my personality, pride, and deep error to share that message with me. They shared grace in such a way that a Christian-know-it-all like me would understand.

May we be open to speak in the native tongue of others, not by mimicking their actions, but through compassion, so they can understand the only message that heals the broken, reconciles the exiled, and welcomes home the lost. May we come to realize that Jesus speaks everybody’s language.
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
(Phil. 2:10-11)
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Danny Gutierrez
Web site: Danny Gutiererrez
The Gutierrez family has served together in Peru since 2011. Danny and Stephanie serve on the pastoral staff and executive team of Camino de Vida, a growing church with 5 campuses located in the capital city of Lima.

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