History is divided into two time eras; namely Before Christ i.e. B.C. and After Christ i.e. A.D. Many famous personalities have been born and lived before and after Christ. Yet none of them have been used as benchmarks for setting apart time.
In Luke 2:1, we read that Caesar Augustus had ordered a census to be done of Rome. Caesar has been mentioned in the Bible not because of a glorious reign or his acts of bravery. He found mention in the Bible due to the event happening just before the birth of Christ. It is an event recorded in association with Christ.
It must be observed that just as history changes with events recorded as B.C. and A.D. (Before & After Christ). The same can also be said about the lives of people who have been touched upon by Jesus. A past life that no one wishes to remember and an after life which everyone desires to live.
Mother Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth had been barren for many years. But with the birth of John the baptist as messenger before Christ, both Zechariah and Elizabeth find mention in the Bible and are names we are all familiar with. We can read about his prophetic birth in: Isaiah 40:3/ Malachi 3:1/ Luke 3:4.
Isaiah 40:3 : A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God
Here too the reason is Christ. Both the son and parents became known names before Jesus’ birth. Mother Mary, after giving birth to the Son of God became revered and blessed. While earlier she was just an ordinary girl. Father Joseph was not the birth father of Jesus, but he did the role of a father during the growing years of Jesus beautifully. He too is remembered and known as father of Jesus by all generations.
Now let’s have a look at one of the sinners mentioned in the Bible-Zaccheus. In Luke 19: 1-10, we read he was a tax collector and his only aim was to gather wealth. He did so by unfair means. The moment his life was touched by the Saviour, he became transformed in to a new creation. He returned the money he had hoarded from the poor and also those he had cheated. He became a firm believer and follower of Christ.
Second, let’s see the life of the sinful woman we read about in John 8:1-11. She lived a life immersed in adultery, engaging in sin. Bodily desires held her captive through her beauty and body. Through this she was destroying not just her soul but also the soul of others as well. But when Jesus rescues her from being stoned and does not condemn her like others. She accepts Him as her Saviour and forgets about her body and the breaks the cage she was in. She becomes a new creation, fully transformed in Christ.
Next, let’s read about the healing at the pool of Bethesda(John 5:1-15). There was an invalid who lay besides the pool for 38 years, broken in body and in spirit. Jesus asks him to pick up his mat and walk. The invalid gets up and walks away(John 5:8). To all His children, Jesus says, Gather up whatever is pure in you, trust in Him and have faith in Him. Hold His hands and walk in His light. Blessed are those who believe in Him. Do not fall prey to temptations he warns us too in John 5:14 , “Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
The most well known example of transformation is that of Legion. We read about him in (Matthew 8:28-34/ Mark 5:1-20/ Luke 8:26-39). Legion was a man possessed with many demons. He was equivalent to a man dead, living in the graveyard among the dead. He used to hurt himself with stones and was often chained because he was mentally unstable. But when Jesus draws out the demons he is fully transformed and follows the words of Christ, His life changes for the better.
Another beautiful example in the Bible of transformation is that of the Samaritan woman ( John 4:4-42). The people of Samaria knew her well for having many husbands and her immoral life. The moment she met Jesus she saw a prophet in Him. When Jesus reveals Himself she accepts Him as the Messiah. She had come to draw water but after the revelation she threw the jar to the ground and ran into the city and told everyone about Jesus. She gave up her past life and became a firm believer of Christ. Many Samaritans became believers and gained salvation because of her. She too was fully transformed and with her life led others to transformation.
Now let’s see the lives of the disciples. They were mainly fisherman (Matthew 4:19/Mark 1:16-20/ Luke 5:2-11/John 1: 40-42) : ” Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” But Jesus made them fishers of men and made them names each Christian household reveres. They were ordinary men who followed Jesus, were tortured and became martyrs.
Thus we see that Jesus makes ordinary lives extraordinary. The best example of this is Saul. He went on a spree torturing Christ believers. But when Jesus touched him, he became a disciple of Christ and was renamed Paul (Acts 9: 1-19). He proclaimed he was unashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16-17) 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
He was a new creation. Changes do not happen just by following Christ or by working besides Christ. For e.g: Judas Iscariot, a disciple of Jesus who betrayed Him for thirty silver coins with the sign of love: a kiss. He fell into the hands of temptations even after three years of discipleship with Jesus. Hence, unless touched by the Lord from within; prayer, devotion, dedication and participation in communion are mere rituals without meaning and essence.
A stone or log of wood does not take form of a beautiful sculpture or furniture on its own. Gold cannot be used in its impure form. It needs to be heated at high temperature to become malleable, and wood or stoned unless chipped and polished by an artisan do not take the final form.
Who is the best sculptor in the world than our Lord Himself? Let us give ourselves in total submission into His hands to be fully transformed as a new creation. Let our lives take a new chapter and start anew- from old to new.