July 11, 1997 was the day when my beloved Grandma died at the age of 80. This was the day I started thinking, what then shall I do with Jesus? As I was raised in a Christian family in the Orthodox Church, my Mother always taught me to go to church, to keep Sunday sacred, to try to fast all Wednesdays and Fridays, confess my sins to the priest, and so forth. I was not so religious in my heart at that time and many times I did it just because I loved and respected her. As time went by, I started thinking, “but wait a minute—how can a man, even if he is a priest, forgive me? How can that man wash away my sins?” As much as I did these things, the more empty and powerless I felt. Not a few times I wanted to get rid of my bad habits in my life, as smoking, gambling, going to the discothèque and sometimes keeping bad company, but without results. I couldn’t shake these bad habits. When I wanted to do it by myself I could only do it for a few days and then I turned back to the old routine. I was 24 years old at that time and I really wanted to change my life. It was the first time in my life that I asked myself, “Why was I born into this world? What is the purpose of life? Must I do only bad things? How and where do I find happiness?”
My Grandma was lying in a coffin, and as she was there I asked, “Lord, where will she go? Heaven or Hell?” “You know, Lord, she was a good woman,” I said, “she made many sacrifices in her life. You also know how she raised my father, the only son she had, remaining a widow from the age of 19, never getting married again, and how she searched for her husband for so many years because he was captured in the 2nd World War and never came back. She lived with her husband for only for few months. He was on the list of missing ones. Asking myself those questions I remember that I went to the tomb where my Grandma was to be buried, and seeing her for the last time there, I couldn’t stop myself from crying; my heart was broken and I went home. I felt guilty because while she was alive, many times I disappointed her by my wrong actions. I loved her because she took care of me from my childhood and I was the one who stayed and lived with her, although my mother’s house was only a few meters distant. Many times when I did something wrong she reproved me with love and kept those things away from my mother. As my father went to work he was away most of the time, so my mother was the one I feared most when I did something wrong.
Once my Grandma came from a youth meeting at the SDA Church, Reform Movement. The church I was born into was situated only a few meters from our house. It was summer 1994, while the students, some of them from the 1st graduating class at Bethel Institute in Hungary, the place where I studied, by God’s grace, from 1998–2000, came for the occasion of the dedication of that house of prayer. As she came home she told me something about how impressed she was with these youth; it was the first time she witnessed such a spiritual program. When she came home she said, “Oh, if you only knew how much I wish you could one day be among these people. I said, “what?” “Adventists. . . you know about these people that they keep Saturday, they are strange because they believe in a woman. . . and in fact, no one from our family believed like this.: “So, give up this thought; I won’t make it,” I told her.
Two thousand years ago there was a man, a Roman governor named Pilate, although he was convinced of the innocence of Jesus, as we read in the Bible in Matthew 27:18—“For He knew that they had handed Him because of envy,”—he had a question: “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” Matthew 27:22. And this question, my friend, is repeated again and again through the centuries until our time. There are people who say the same: “what shall I do with Jesus?” although they know what the answer should be. Our sinful nature rejects good things and we have the tendency to go in a wrong direction, making wrong decisions, and finally at the end of it, ruin comes upon those souls that are taken in a trap by Satan and his temptations. Sin is attractive for unconverted souls and many times lives are destroyed by it; very few people are ready to give up sin and renounce the pleasures of this world to change to the things of heaven.
Do we know what to do with Jesus?
Well, God helped me in my wonderings to realize that without Jesus, life has no sense or meaning. I just started thinking this in 1997, at 24 years of age. Life seemed to be short and I just wanted to take advantage of it, thinking that doing your own pleasure, no matter what another person might think, thinking that is life, because at the end of it we all will die. I didn’t study the Bible until that age; I just kept praying from time to time a short prayer taught by my Grandma. One night I had a very turbulent dream, just a few months after my Grandma’s death. I dreamt I was on the top of a deep valley, very well known by me. I used to go there in my childhood with my cousin during summer time, while I was on vacation at my aunt’s house. The valley was deep, and as I looked down I saw a thick, thick darkness under my feet. I was afraid and then I looked up. From there a hand reached out to me and at the same time a voice was heard saying, “If you continue on this way, you will die.” That short sentence troubled me that night. It was three o’clock in the morning. I woke up that morning; I couldn’t sleep. Throughout the next day I tried to understand what this dream meant.
Now as I was going to visit one of my best friends named Christi, on a Saturday afternoon, and, as I said, the church is very close to my house, I looked to the right and to the left to cross the street. I saw George, one of my neighbours and the brother of another good friend of mine, coming from the church, and having under his arm, a Bible, and another book that caught my attention, The Great Controversy. I was smoking and a little bit nervous, seeing him with a Bible and coming from this church. The truth was that I had a very bad conception of Seventh Day Adventist people at that time. People gossip about their beliefs, and for me, to be a part of it was considered closing your life, no happiness; and to make the story short, no future for a young man to start with this belief.
So, because of it I stopped to ask George what he found there, what made him change his belief. He was born in the same Orthodox Church as I was, and as he was only a friend of the truth, visiting the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement church only few months before, I waited for an answer from him. I remember I asked him about his book, The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White. Do you study this book instead of the Bible? He told me, “Oh no, we study the Bible, but this is a historical book and it is very interesting what you find there.” “Really?” I asked, and it caught my attention to see what is so interesting, so I asked him if he wanted to lend it to me. George said, “Of course I will.” I was so glad. Then he said, “Look, I would like to invite you to come with me next Sabbath and visit the church.” That seemed a good idea to me. Then I said, “Well, should I dress differently? I mean a suit, tie and so forth?” He said “Yes, it is nice to be dressed like that.”
George told me many other things regarding his faith in Jesus and the things he discovered in his experience with the Lord. I was really surprised and amazed to listen from the lips of George that Jesus died for me, personally for me; and not only that Jesus died for me, but also that Jesus is my personal Saviour if I accept Him being able to redeem me from my sins. We talked for about two hours. I completely forgot where I was going to go, so I went home with the book from George, The Great Controversy, happy that I discovered Jesus and His love towards me.
It was wintertime in 1997. I went into my room and I started reading from that book, chapter after chapter. There I discovered people who gave their lives for the truth and Jesus’ sake. I said, “Oh Lord, there should be something more in this Christianity than a simple going and coming from a place of meeting.” If these people were willing to die for the truth, I said, “Lord, You have enough power to release me from my style of living. I have a lot of bad habits in my life which keep me enslaved; please Jesus, make me free.” I wanted so much to know how to pray.
I have a neighbour lady who used to go to the Evangelistic Church; I asked her to teach me how to pray and she did, writing down a short prayer for me on a piece of paper. I then started learning that prayer, but I couldn’t say many words when I prayed, so I gave up and then went to the Bible. I just opened it up in Psalm 51. I read that whole psalm and I began crying, identifying myself with the person from that psalm. Then I went to 1 John 1:7–9 and there I found a remedy for my sins. I found that if I confess my sins, Jesus pardons them. If I walk in the light, I have fellowship with Him.
Jesus touched my heart, my friend, and He can touch yours too, if you let Him. I believe there are people in this world, willing to come to Jesus. I believe they are there, and they will know what to do with Jesus when they are offered an invitation to follow Him. What about you, my friend?
Are we following Jesus?
The Bible says that life has only two roads, and we are on one of them. One leads to eternal death and the other to everlasting life. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13–14. The most important decision we make in this life is to follow Jesus; when we have made that choice, we are not only prepared to die. . . we are finally ready to live!
Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, the One equal with the Father, the One worshipped by the angels and the entire universe, humbled Himself and came down to reach sinners—people like you and me, identifying with us and giving us a perfect example of obedience. The Creator of all things in heaven and on earth came to call sinners to follow Him, giving us a chance to be co-workers in this great battle, and today when Jesus is about to come again as He promised, when we are at the verge of the end of the world, the question for us is: are we prepared to meet Jesus? Am I prepared to answer when Jesus comes to ask me: Where are those whom I have entrusted to you? I am referring to your families and to the church. Let us think about it deeply, and where there is deficiency, let us come boldly to the throne of grace and we will find mercy. Each one of us is unique and equally as important to God; there are no two persons who are the same in this world. You are unique, and if God loses you He loses something very precious in His sight. The Bible says that God gave His only Son for every single person in this world. There are no exceptions. Everyone who wants to accept Jesus as his personal Saviour can be saved. My friend, you are not your own. We are twice God’s property—once by creation and second by redemption. Would you be willing to accept Jesus’ invitation today? If you have accepted Him already, I ask you, would you be willing to renew your covenant with God and follow Him closely? Let us open our hearts and minds and let Jesus guide our lives and prepare us for this great event, Jesus second coming in glory. Our dear Saviour is calling us just as He called His disciples two thousand years ago. John 1:35–51. What is your answer? Jesus wants us to be His disciples, to give to other people the glad tidings.
Do you remember when you first received Jesus and that first love moved you, when people were listening to the words God put in your mouth, and how you didn’t get tired of speaking the words of life? Do you remember that time? “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth glad tidings of good, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” Isaiah 52:7
My dear friend, I invite you right now to recommit your life to Jesus. If, in your spiritual life, it seems that you don’t enjoy church fellowship anymore, maybe prayer doesn’t exist in your life, Bible study is boring you, or when you are called to deliver a message and you find excuses. . . I know there is a remedy with Jesus; He has the solution to all our problems.
In the Bible we find people that made mistakes in their walk with Jesus. And what is also remarkable, Jesus was with them all of the time. Moses made great mistakes and he is in heaven today; Ezra, Nehemiah and Paul passed through real trials in their lives. Jesus was with them and they could say, “He never left me nor forsook me.” He was there, and today, for you and for me, God is there. He is there to bring us healing and hope and to open our eyes. His promises are sure, He reaches out; you are too valuable for Christ to lose. Deep within my heart I cried out just when I needed Him the most. Friend, do you need Jesus right now? Do you have a burden you would like to give to Him? Do you need forgiveness? Do you desire comfort or cheer? Remember, Jesus promised to stay by your side and be your Friend forever. Why not pray with me right now and ask Jesus for new joy and new hope in your life? He says in John 14:18, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” And in Hebrews 13:5, last part, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
When we are lost, He keeps us on His shoulder. When we drift away from Him He comes after us. When we don’t care for Him, He cares for us. When we turn our back on Him He doesn’t turn His back to us. When we run from Him He doesn’t run from us. Even when we slap Him on the face He doesn’t slap us back; He loves and cares for us. Today I want to ask you, “What are you going to do with Jesus, who is called Christ?” There are only two answers to this question. You either accept Him as Lord and Saviour of your life or you reject Him as Lord and Saviour. There is no “I’ll think about it later” option. If you choose to “think about it later,” then you have rejected Christ. May our loving Father help you to make the right choice in your life is my wish and prayer. Amen!