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Rev. Wurmbrand was a missionary in Romania. The Communists persecuted Christians, so missionaries had to work in secret. He asked one of the men, Peter, who had accepted Jesus as his Saviour, which part of the Bible spoke to him the most. The man referred to Luke 24, where it is told of two people who were on their way to a village named Emmaus shortly after Jesus’ resurrection. They talked about Jesus and his crucifixion. While they were talking, Jesus Himself approached and walked with them, but they did not recognise Him. He then explained to them all the Scriptures that referred to Him. And then, As they came near the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther; but they held him back, saying, “Stay with us; the day is almost over and it is getting dark.” So he went in to stay with them.  He sat down to eat with them, took the bread, and said the blessing; then he broke the bread and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him, but he disappeared from their sight (Luke 24:28-31).  

Peter said he had initially wondered why Jesus acted as if he were going farther. Surely, He would want to stay with them. Peter then realised that Jesus did not want to impose Himself on them. Jesus did not want to stay uninvited. For Peter, this was wonderful because the Communists were not like that. They did not give people a choice. People were subjected to godless propaganda in schools, on the radio, in newspapers, and at atheist gatherings. Wurmbrand spent 14 years in prison. He and his family were among the Christians subjected to the cruellest, most degrading, and most inhuman torture imaginable. This was also Peter’s fate because they confessed that Jesus is the Savior.

Peter gave his heart to the Lord because of  the one sentence: Jesus acted as if He were going farther. At that point, Peter must have heard and read a lot about what Jesus said, about the love God has for us. He had already learned that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and that He had risen. But Peter was struck by this one sentence: Jesus acted as if He were going farther. Peter was attracted to Jesus’ actions. His gentleness, and humility (Matthew 11:29) spoke to Peter about Jesus’ character. Jesus is not judgmental (John 8:11). He forgave the people who crucified Him: Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father! They don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Jesus does not force people to open their hearts to Him; He gives us a choice: Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if any hear my voice and open the door, I will come into their house and eat with them, and they will eat with me (Rev. 3:20). 

Peter accepted Jesus as his Saviour because Jesus’ character convinced him. People can be convinced by our character and actions that Jesus lives. When the Holy Spirit dwells within us, our character begins to change to become more like that of Jesus. But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (Gal. 5:22). Deeds can lead people to Jesus, even deeds like He acted as if He were going farther. 

Lord Jesus, change our hearts and minds so that the fruit of your Spirit can be seen in our lives. Amen.    

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