Jesus is one with the Father. Jesus invites us to examine his life, because he and the Father are one. As Jesus speaks, it is God who speaks. As Jesus shows love, it is God who shows love. As Jesus stoops down to wash his disciples feet, it is God who humbles himself for this most menial of tasks. From Jesus’ conversations, actions, and character we are able to see God himself. Jesus is the image of the invisible God. When we learn of Jesus we learn of God himself.
How amazing it must have been to be one of those disciples; to walk the streets of Jerusalem with God; to recline at the table eating with the creator of the universe; to laugh and joke with the great Almighty; to be served and loved by the Son of Man.
Yet, even though God was incarnate in front of them, these men were not able to see fully who Jesus was. Indeed, they would not fully discern the glory of Jesus until after his resurrection. Even still, how blinded we are to the reality in front of us until God reveals it to us in power. Truth never changes, but our awareness of that truth either grows or diminishes with our hardened hearts. Jesus was God whether the disciples discerned his true identity or not, but they slowly over time began to understand who Jesus is.
God works this same way in our own lives as well. Often God’s drawing of us to Christ is a slow and gradual experience. It is over the course of many months and many years, as God slowly reveals to us the glory of truth. The fog of falsehood disperses ever so slowly. God is truth and our understanding of him often increases with the passage of time.
Sometimes this truth will be revealed dramatically with a cataclysmic conversion event. Saul of Tarsus as he was on the road to Damascus was on his way to kill more Christians. However when truth was revealed as Jesus blinded him with his glory, God was revealed to wretched old Saul. After that life shattering event, Saul was no longer Saul. He was Paul. No longer a enemy of Christ, Paul was now an ally to him.
Truth can be revealed suddenly. God never ceases to do the miraculous by showing truth, instantaneously transforming a life. These are the people with the far more interesting testimonies. However these sorts of stories are rare for a reason. They are out of the ordinary. It is not the normal story of conversion. For most people who come to realize the truth of the Gospel of Christ, it is not one of these interesting stories like Saul of Tarsus, but much more like the disciples testimony. It has come from the gradual, slow, unexciting awakening to the truth. Then all of the sudden one day the message of the Gospel clicks.
We have heard it time and time again. We have had so many long dialogues about faith and Christ with our friends, but now all of the sudden it makes sense. The fog of falsehood has been lifted completely and you are gloriously aware of the majesty and power of Jesus. You understand why Jesus died, who did not die just a martyrs death, but a substitutionary death in your place. You begin to see that Jesus willingly went to the cross to die the death that you deserved because he lived the life you could not live. The Gospel makes since and you see its glory and bank your life on its truth. You go all in, not holding anything back. Jesus is Lord, and you cannot help but submit your whole life to him.
So which testimony is better? The instantaneous conversion of Saul or the slow conversion of the disciples? I suggest both are equally miraculous works done by God. Anytime a sinner repents and trusts in Christ is a miraculous thing. Although our conversion stories might look very different, it is God who saves us in our sin. It is God who removes the fog whether instantaneously or gradually, but either way he gets all the praise. The glory is His, in the conversion of the detestable persecutor or the church kid who spends his whole life surrounded in truth.
How did your conversion happen? Was it dramatic or slow and gradual? Love to hear your story in the comments!