Joe. That was the man’s name who witnessed to me of Christ’s love. He told me “Jesus Christ loves you.” He backed up his statements by telling me that the Bible said so. I was a sinner, part of the “ungodly” and a part of “the world”…all the qualifications you need to be one that Christ loved and died for.
My interest was peaked. I didn’t remember hearing much from the Bible except certain, select passages, chosen by the Catholic Church, to be read over and over again for your whole life of mass attending, which I wasn’t doing anyway! I hadn’t believed the Bible was true, but I was open to hearing why he thought it was.
Joe explained to me that there were prophecies which predicted many specific things about Christ. Now, I knew the one about being born in Bethlehem, but for almost 12 years of Catholic education, that is about all I knew, and it had become very easy to ignore. He showed me Matthew 2 about Christ, “…out of Egypt have I called my son,” and “…he shall be called a Nazarene,” and “…but you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.” He said that those in O.T. times studying prophecy had probably thought this was all rather confusing and contradictory, but that the way in which all three had been true about this one man, Jesus, was in perfect harmony with what had been pre-written of him. Wow!
There was a lot more that I heard. I was shown the law of the prophets and how that if they made a mistake even once, they were to be stoned. (The Pyromaniac touched on this subject recently.) He showed me how it was predicted that Israel would be scattered into all the nations and that they would be abused and hated in those nations. That shed some light on all the teasing that the Jews in my neighborhood got, and…the Holocaust. Joe showed me that the Bible predicted they would be brought back into their land again, and once again would be a nation. I knew nothing of this! I had heard about Israel, etc… but never paid much attention. He told me about 1948 and related it to the scriptures. Wow. There was a God! Who else could reveal the future? Now, I had seen television shows about Nostrodamus, but his prophecies didn’t seem to really matter in a cohesive sense. (Besides, he made mistakes and so, under the law of the prophets, he would’ve been stoned). Have you ever watched one of those shows about all that Nostrodamus has predicted? For me I was always left with the thought, “So what?” But this was different. This was God and He cared for humanity. He made us. He made me, and wanted me to know Him. He also showed me in my soul (with a proof that I could not show anyone else) that I was right to believe His Word, it really was true. Is this called "faith"?
This, and many other discussions with Joe, are what, I beieve, the Holy Spirit used to convice me of the truth of God's Word. The fact that the Bible was true was a turning point for me. Religion had left me hopelessly asking, “Why?” But truth from God…what a concept! What a wonder! The gospel was presented and it had teeth because it was from God’s Word, which was from the Creator himself. My "whys" were answered about all my bad behaviour, too, and I found forgiveness for things that were clearly sin. It was not a man-made idea, this was utterly clear to me.
Now I look to the Bible … for it is what God wants people to know about Him and His plan. It is true about whatever it speaks. It says God created everything in 7 days. If it said He created it in 7 seconds, I would believe that, too. It says He made woman from the rib of man. If it said, he made woman from a toad, I would believe that, too. He has answered many more of my “why” questions, and I now have something to go by. I don’t have to submit to the teachings of men. I can look to the scriptures, the whole council of God, to see what God wants us, me, to know.
My next post is going to be on how I reconcile scriptures that seem to contradict, because it is important to me that the whole Bible is true, not just parts.