MARK: The first time I accompanied Paul on a mission trip, I couldn’t handle it and headed back home. For a long time, he didn’t trust me, but later I became one of his trusted assistants. I also wrote one of the accounts of Jesus’ life that appears in the Bible.
RAHAB: When the Israelites crossed the Jordan into Canaan, I protected two of their spies and made a deal with them. Even though I was a prostitute, Israel’s soldiers spared me and my family during the conquest of our city. Because I was awed by their God, I chose to join the Israelites. I married one of their leaders and became an ancestress of King David and Jesus Christ.
PETER: When Jesus was arrested by the religious leaders who opposed him, I let him down. I couldn’t believe it! I had promised to defend him to the death. But after Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit to his followers. I and many others became fearless in spreading the good news of salvation and restoration available from Christ.
ABRAHAM: To avoid a famine in Canaan, I took my family to Egypt. While there, I talked my wife into telling people she was my sister. I was afraid that a man would desire her for her beauty and eliminate me. In spite of this incident, God appeared to me several times and chose me to be the father of a new nation of people. He knew I would teach my family to respect him and live according to his ways. In fact, I became known as “the friend of God.”
THOMAS: Several days after Jesus was crucified, all of my fellow disciples claimed Jesus had appeared to them while I was somewhere else! I said I wouldn’t believe it unless I saw him myself and felt the nail holes in his hands. Well, it happened. I saw him too. It was an awesome experience, but he was disappointed in my unbelief. I didn’t doubt him any longer. In fact, within a few years, I traveled to India to invite people of that nation to be his disciples.
What do these examples have to say? Here’s what I see:
- I can become a winner even if I am now a loser.
- If I love God and want to follow him, he does not hold my past against me.
If you interviewed these people, what do you think they would say to you?