Most people who know me have heard my testimony concerning the life changing work of the Lord Jesus, so I am wont to retell it. But I will say this, after I became a New Christian, I read the Bible through 3-4 times in around 90 days. And then after that, the New Testament several times over. Those who knew me best saw it as a phase--as something that was fleeting. But here I am, forty years later, still proclaiming that which had been proclaimed to me.
What is it that could effect such change in a person's life? How can a person go from a scoffer of Jesus one moment, to a lover of Jesus the next? Some will say it is psychological--a release of past guilt that makes a person feel better. If that were the case, then why was I able to continue in the faith? Those who do not know Jesus will never understand until they come to know Him for themselves.
In the biblical record there is a heap evidence that this type of lasting change is what actually occurs. When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, who was also steeped in sin and the failures of a past life,
The Bible tells us that He was weary, so he sat by an ancient well called Jacob's Well. Soon a woman from the city Sychar came to draw water. Not surprisingly, Jesus strikes up a conversation with her because He knew she was in spiritual need. Most likely, He knew of her conversations with the Father, and yes, even her guilty thoughts. Surprised that I said that? Nobody should be. There are several occasions in the Bible where it is revealed that Jesus knew what was in the hearts of those He spoke with. Sitting at the well, she happens along, so He asks her for a drink.
9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” - John 4:9–10.
The woman seems puzzled that Jesus would speak to her* and that He would make such a statement, John 4:11-12. Later in verse 13-14, Jesus responds to her questioning puzzlement:
13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” - John 4:13–14.
The thing to note here, is that Jesus makes the claim that earthly water will not fill up eternal thirst. Her true need was a spiritual one. So He offers her living water.
Again, a little later in the conversation, after she agrees there will be a coming Messiah (Anointed One), Jesus reveals that He is that Messiah.
25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” John 4:25–26
This is significant because of the woman's past life actions, and current lifestyle. She needed a drink of forgiveness and Eternal life. Jesus was there to give it to her. Now this would not mean much if what Jesus offered would not result in a life-changing experience. But as the text tells us she got so excited she left her pot and ran back to the city to tell others. When they came out to Him, they begged Him to stay for a couple days, which He did. The text concludes:
39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” John 4:39
So, it was her testimony that was the seed which led to the salvation of many.
Jesus never passes by a person in need.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector who had a history of taking advantage of those he collected taxes from. One day Jesus was speaking to the crowds and he wanted to get a clearer view of Jesus. Being of short stature, he climbed up into a sycamore tree. Jesus sees him and in passing asks him to come down so He could have dinner with him. Later that day Zacchaeus became a believer. Jesus saw a need and He met it.
Throughout the New Testament you will find Jesus going here and there to meet with people of different backgrounds and ethnicities that He may make Himself available to them. The picture that emerges is one that shows Him to be working in every facet of the day's society show His love and compassion to as many as will receive Him.
Jesus has not changed. If you are on a road that has taken you into areas that you wish you could back out of, but can find no way out, there is no reason for you to live with that guilt or feeling of failure any longer. Jesus bids you to cast your cares upon Him and take Him to yourself, (Matt 11:28 - 30). Today the Scripture declares that He is seated in the heavenlies making intercession for all believers.
25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. - Hebrews 7:25
Jesus is not going to pass you by.
In closing let me quote on last passage that speaks of the tenderness of the heart of God.
20 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory - Matthew 12:20
Are you that bruised reed? Are you the smoking flax that has an ember of hope and faith still lingering? Be assured Jesus will never pass you by. Just call out to Him in prayer and wait for the salvation of God.
Blessings, Pastor Mike
* It was not becoming for a Jewish Rabbi (Teacher) to speak to alone to a woman in public.