You see something take place… suddenly it is powerful, unique, life-changing!! You find yourself saying, “Wow! Did I really see that… did I really hear that? Incredible!!” And what you just saw and experienced was so awesome it was life changing!
Luke tells us that his account of Jesus’ life was the result of careful investigation and the report of “eyewitnesses!” That means that much of what Luke records was someone telling him, “I was there… I saw it with my own eyes… I heard it!”
I thought of that this morning as I read Luke’s account of the baptism of Jesus (Luke 3:21-22) this morning. It was the report of an unnamed eyewitness!
Can you imagine standing by the Jordan River among a crowd of people and seeing Jesus approach John the Baptist, asking to be baptized? John defers, telling Jesus that he really needs Jesus to baptize him. But Jesus insists, telling John He desires to fulfill all righteousness. You watch the interchange and conversation take place – and at this point you really don’t know who this Jesus really is. John acquiesces, and proceeds to baptize Jesus… down in the water Jesus goes, and then the incredible happens, a heavenly apparition, something like a dove appears, flutters and descends on Jesus! And that’s not all… suddenly a voice from heaven speaks, declaring, “This is my beloved Son, with Him I am well pleased!”
I mean, what would you do? How would you feel if you had stood on the banks of the Jordan that day and saw that…and heard that? It would change forever your opinion of this “Jesus” – it would change your life!
Not everyone has an experience like that! I’m really glad for the eyewitness that saw it happen that day to Jesus and shared his experience with Luke! Regardless however, God makes himself real to us – in different times, places, and ways He makes Himself real to us!
I remember leaving a wonderful church service in Canyonville, OR one night as a teenager. God had confronted me about the sin in my life through his word. I had acknowledged my sin that night and asked God to forgive me. His presence seemed so real! I remember walking out of that service into the night sky filled with stars and really feeling like there was a God up there who was looking down at me with love and approval! No barrier – no distance – His loving eye was upon me… He was real!!! That experience forever changed my life!
My wife, Sharon, tells the story of a powerful night in her home church when a friend experienced the Holy Spirit’s presence in an overwhelming way. She told me her experience with the Holy Spirit and her friends experience forever changed her life. God made Himself real to them!
You may not have an experience like the eyewitness at Jesus’ baptism… Your experience with God may not be like mine, or my wife’s and her friend… But God can make Himself real to you… and He will! My prayer is that you’ll discover personally who Jesus really is and what He is like… Listen, it will forever change your life (if you let it)!