I remember it like it was yesterday. It was Christmas break, and I was walking into the S&R Men’s Shop in my hometown, Jesup, Georgia. Coming out of the store and meeting me at the door was Tony, a high school friend whom I had not seen in some time. I almost failed to recognize him. He had lost 40 or 50
pounds and his hair was shorter than it had been in years. But the biggest change was what I saw in his face. There was a joy in his expression and a light in his eyes that I had never seen before. He truly looked like a new person. After congratulating Tony for “getting into shape,” I wanted to know about the other changes I saw. So I asked, “What is going on with you?” He smiled, and simply said, “It’s Jesus.”
My friend’s witness to me that day had a profound impact on me. I was midway through my second year of college and struggling to find meaning and purpose for my life. I had everything that the world had told me I needed, but I was empty. A few weeks after
seeing my old friend, I was back at Oxford College. On a cold Thursday night in Astronomy Lab, I peered through the powerful telescope our professor had set up on the soccer field and saw a little smudge of light. Dr. Landt told us shivering students, “It is Andromeda, a galaxy 2.5 million light years from earth, containing a trillion stars.” I was stunned. Stunned by the size of the universe, the greatness of creation and my own
separation from the God who made it all.
In the weeks that followed, I did give my life to Christ. There were many pointers along the way, including a Political Science professor who included the Gospel of Matthew on his reading list. All of these I now recognize as part of God’s prevenient grace. But one of the most profound and effective witnesses was a friend who simply knew Jesus. With all the information and technology available to us today; with all the platforms for delivering our message and “building our brand”; nothing will ever take the place of one person willing to share what Jesus Christ has done in his or her life.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.