By Jonathan Gould
Every day many people across the globe meet Jesus for the very first time. My first encounter was over twenty years ago and since that day in January 1993 my life has been completely transformed. I have experienced God’s unconditional love and witnessed his power at work in my life and in those around me.
Find answers to your questions
The good news is that you don’t have to be a believer or be ‘brought up a Christian’ to meet Jesus. God is secure enough to handle your scepticism. I was awarded a scholarship to undertake a doctorate in Mathematics at the time when I met Jesus. My scientific mind had so many questions I thought needed answering before I could even consider that God might be real. It turned out that there was only one question that really mattered, “Will you love and follow me?”
I have personally met former Islamic jihadists who have been transformed into peaceful followers of Jesus, one who was determined to prove the claims of Christianity were false only to encounter the risen Jesus. This mirrors the story of the Apostle Paul, writer of much of the New Testament in the Bible, who was the greatest persecutor of Jesus’ followers until he himself met Jesus on the road to Damascus.
Why do so many people believe?
An estimated 2.2 billion alive today claim to follow Jesus. That’s about 1 in 3 people. According to Guinness World Records, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time with over 5 billion copies sold and distributed. In purely statistical terms alone (sorry, can’t switch off the Mathematician in me) you’d have to ask why so many people believe Jesus’ message of reconciliation with our Father God.
“I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.” John 14:6-7
What did Jesus actually say?
Jesus’ words recorded in the Gospels
The first time I read the Bible I turned to the book of Revelation with scorn just to prove it had to be wrong with all its apocalyptic predictions. The second time I picked it up, I took my friend Rachel’s advice and read the book of John that told the story of Jesus. It is a dangerous book to read! It turns out you don’t have to be perfect, just acknowledge that you’re not and then believe what Jesus has done for you.
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and
believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
After doing that in 1993, I turned up at a church service expecting to see a lot of religious traditions and weirdos. What I saw was a group of people who loved one another in a way I’d never seen before. It was like I could see the bonds of brotherly love and friendship that held them together in community. It was captivating then and, after 20 years of meeting believers in so many nations across five continents, I’m still captivated by one who we all worship as our King – JESUS!
So what about you?
Have you met him? Have you read the words of Jesus?
Maybe you’ve made the decision to follow Jesus. Maybe you’ve been let down by someone or the church. Or maybe you’re looking for others who love Jesus as passionately as you do.
We’d love to talk with you. Stop by this Sunday or contact me, Jonathan Gould, or my wife Helen. Together we pastor our fellowship in the western suburbs of Brisbane.