I knew a guy in high school who tried to fit into the popular crowd. Actually, he made his attempts in middle school (or what was called junior high back in those days). He was bright and pretty funny, but he wasn’t athletic, and sports were a primary entry point.
So, by the eleventh grade this guy had given up on being popular and had opted instead to connect with the small, hippy drug crowd of our school. But, then something happened to him. I don’t know how it started but he began to go to a bible study, not at a church, but at this guy’s house. Apparently, this bible study attracted a bunch of high schoolers who were looking for something more real than the shallow, social scene.
And this guy changed. Mostly in confidence and a kind of carefree joy that was impressive. I was a churchy kid who knew all of the right answers about God and Jesus and the bible, but I was a total fake compared to this guy. He seemed so honest, lacking the self-consciousness of anyone trying hard to be someone. Funny thing, by not caring to be cool he had really become sort of cool.
Watching him I knew that Jesus was alive, that he had been raised from the dead. Because I saw him change this guy. I’m inspired this very moment just by thinking about what I saw.
Change . . . . . that’s what impresses me so much about the Easter story. You can’t underestimate how decisive it was for Jesus to be raised from the dead. But, what really gets me is what happens to Peter. The guy who when it really counts, totally denies knowing Jesus, backed down by a slave girl, later stands in front of thousands, boldly speaking about Jesus. You can read his first public presentations about Jesus in Acts 2, 3, 4, and you discover right away that this isn’t the same guy that we knew before the resurrection.
This guy is a world-changer because he’s been changed.
Now, as I think about Peter in reference to my own life, I’m not inclined to imagine that I can change myself, no matter how inspired I am by the Easter story. Peter didn’t change himself. He didn’t start feeling guilty about denying Jesus and conclude that he needed to do more to stand up for Jesus. He was changed by what he saw, by what he witnessed. He was changed by the resurrected Jesus.
Once again, Jesus is the reference point – not me. So, if I’m interested in good change, I don’t talk to myself so much, I talk to Jesus.
Jesus, because you are alive, you still change lives. Keep changing my life that it may look more and more like what you have in mind for my service in this world.
Do you have a prayer for change you would like to post? Be my guest.