One of the most exciting stories one can read is the account of a
fisherman and his brother, John and James.  They were, as the saying
goes, minding their own business, when a commanding figure appeared
and beckoned them to follow him.  They left their boats, nets and
probably the only trade they knew, to do as he bid them.  Their lives
were changed forever.  The rest is history.

John walked with Jesus for about three years, hearing him teach;
watching him heal the sick, cast out demons, feed five thousand hungry
souls on nothing more than five loaves and three fish…and raise the
dead to new life; and then he stood at a cross, watching him die by
crucifixion.  How could one not be changed through that kind of
environment?  In John’s own words, from his letter to the faithful,
we read:

“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen
with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the
Word of life–and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear
witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the
Father and was manifested to us–what we have seen and heard we
proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us, and
indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus
Christ.”  (New American Standard Bible; 1st John:1)

John’s hope, along with that of many others, should have died at the
cross.  But that was not to be, because Jesus, according to all
accounts and the Old Covenant prophesy, was raised from the dead three
days later, conquering death.  John’s own testimony is corroborated
with his life, and Jesus’ other followers being changed from mere
followers to proclaimers of His Gospel of hope, grace, forgiveness of
sin and everlasting life,  In his own words, he saw and believed.  The
birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are
incontrovertible facts.  What else could compel these followers to
risk their lives and entire future by spreading these miraculous facts
and messages of hope to everyone who would listen?

We live in controlled environments; we are lambasted constantly with
messages to eat this, listen to that, buy this, drive that…and we
become so corrupted by the world’s effort to indoctrinate us to its
(un) standards that sometimes I wonder if we really know who we are.
Jesus said, “you will know the truth, and the truth shall make you
free.”  In today’s world, truth is indistinguishable from desire.  If
we want it, believe it, desire it, do it, it becomes our very own
truth.  This, however, is a very, very small world of self.  Truth is
truth – no matter what the culture, hemisphere, tribe or dominion:
murder is murder; deceit is deceit; betrayal is betrayal.  Jesus said:
“I am the way, the truth and the life.”  Only one who has been
crucified, buried and raised from the dead can make that kind of
statement.  A well-known writer wrote: “Knowing God,” and it is this
kind of relationship with eternal God that brings us to the only hope
we have in this fickle, troubled, evil world.