We had baptisms in church on Sunday. Baptism Sundays are those rare Sundays that can draw tears from even me. Why? I love hearing real people’s stories of meeting Jesus. And, 10 years ago, a baptism service changed my life.
Meeting Jesus is a pretty amazing thing. It’s real and unpredictable. Extravagant and yet simple. Exciting and personal. It changes you. You meet Jesus and you’re never the same. Even if you choose not to follow him (meeting and following are not the same), you can’t shake the knowledge that there’s something more than what you knew before.
But I can’t just talk about meeting Jesus without getting personal and telling you how I met Jesus, so here goes.
I grew up hearing a lot about Jesus, and I learned a lot about him too. I went to church, Sunday school, mid-week kids club, youth group – you name it, I probably did it. I thought that I was right with Jesus because I tried to be a good person and avoid what I thought was ‘bad’. I didn’t really understand who Jesus was. I knew about him, but I didn’t know him.
When I was 16, I found myself going to church yet again for a friend’s baptism service. Everything was fine until we started singing a song called ‘How Deep the Father’s Love For Us’, and this bit hit me. Hard.
“Behold the man upon a cross, My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice, Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there, Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life – I know that it is finished.”
Somehow, it clicked. Jesus had to die because of my sin, my wrongdoing, my wanting things my way. It wasn’t just some evil people that crucified him 2000 years ago, but me. I met Jesus. A baptism service changed my life. [well, Jesus did, but he used a baptism service…]
I started to get to know Jesus, not just know about him.
I realized that it wasn’t about trying to do good things and avoid bad things, but about trusting Jesus and letting him change me from the inside out. It doesn’t mean that I’m perfect, or that my life is perfect. In fact, it’s far from that (even though I’m a perfectionist and that does sound slightly appealing). It means that as I follow Jesus, I become more like him, and that’s a good thing.
Right now, at this moment, I’m meeting and following Jesus through a massive transition. I’m moving countries and changing careers. I’m not going to lie, it’s quite scary. But I know Jesus is here with me, and that makes it not perfect, but okay.
What about you? Have you met Jesus? Are you following him?