My wife and I walked up to O’Brain who was sitting on a bench in the park. I’d guess that he’s around 20 years old. I gave him a gospel tract, and asked if he had a Christian background. He said he didn’t have a religious background of any kind, and was trying to figure out this whole religion thing. I asked him if he would mind if we explained Christianity to him. He appeared anxious to hear what we had to say.
I said, “Would you consider yourself to be a good person?”
He said what almost everyone else says, “Yes.”
I said, “Do you think you’ve kept the Ten Commandments?”
He said, “Most of the time.”
I went through a few of them, and he admitted to being a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer-at-heart.
It seemed like he was convicted, and I asked whether he would be guilty on Judgment Day. He said that he would be guilty. So I asked whether God should send him to hell, and he admitted that hell is what he deserved. I asked whether that concerns him, and I could tell that he was definitely concerned. At this point I felt like the good news was about to leap out of my chest.
I gave him an analogy. Imagine you’re standing in front of a judge, and you’re guilty of all of these crimes. The judge says you can go to prison, or you can pay a million dollar fine. You probably don’t have a million dollars, so you’re about to be led off to prison, when someone steps up and pays your fine. Justice has been served, and you can be set free.
That’s what Jesus did. Jesus took your punishment, and paid your fine, and you can be set free. But you have to repent (turn from your sin), and put your faith in him to accept that free gift.
At this point he asked kind of a weird question. He asked whether I would be willing to give my life for others, like Jesus did. It kind of caught me off guard, but my wife told him that it wouldn’t be possible for me to die for others in the same sense as Jesus, because Jesus lived a completely sinless life, and his sacrifice is the only one that makes any difference.
I asked, “Does all of this make sense?”
He said, “Yes, I want to go to heaven with you guys.”
I’ve never asked anyone else these questions before or since, but I asked whether he believes Jesus lived a sinless life, whether Jesus was God in the flesh, and whether he believed that Jesus rose from the dead. He said yes to all of those questions.
I loaded him down with everything I had. I gave him a more in-depth tract, and an episode of the “Way of the Master.” He said he has a Bible, and I encouraged him to read the book of John. Looking back, I wish I could have done more for him. Maybe there is something more I should have done, but I know that he’s in God’s hands. It would be a miracle if I ever saw him again, because he lives two hours away, but I hope we see each other again. Please pray for O’Brian.