On the first Sunday of my pastoral residency, I was introduced to Luke and given a front seat to the work of Jesus in the heart of a new believer. It’s an amazing gift from God.
Luke came to the 9 a.m. service, asking about getting baptized that day. As we talked about why he wanted to be baptized, it was clear God had been doing a mighty work in his life.
He told me he grew up in a Christian family and was baptized as a child, but without really understanding what baptism meant and without having the heart change that comes from the work of the Holy Spirit.
He was living a comfortable life, but a change in high school exposed him to a sinful behavior that he embraced and lived out. His best friend invited him to Mars Hill a few months ago and he started attending. That’s when Jesus started to work on his heart. Luke told me how he was convicted of his sin and saw his only hope for reconciliation was through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It was amazing to hear how Jesus changed his desires and released him from a pattern of sin to truly enjoy his Savior.
He said God used Matthew 4:17–20 in particular to draw him and save him.
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
The conviction of the disciples to follow Jesus with their whole lives and Jesus’ declaration that the kingdom of heaven is at hand have compelled and changed Luke forever. I prayed with him, confirmed to him and testified to him the work God has done and will continue to do in his life.
Luke was baptized at Mars Hill that same day and made a public declaration of his desire to follow Christ. He is headed off to college as a redeemed man of God.
The kingdom of heaven is at hand and Jesus calls you to follow him.
Will the declaration and call of Jesus be what changes you?