March 30, 2023
Stories of Faith, written by Pastor Greg Wiens
In Lee Stobel’s book “Case for Christ” he tells of the story of a man who was changed by reading the Bible and becoming a Christian. As a journalist who covered court cases it is this story that made Stobel realize that the Bible was true. This is a shortened version of what he told in his book. Let me read it to you.
Ron was 8 years old in the first of many times that he got into trouble with the law. By the time he was 21 years old he was the second in command of a vicious street gang in Chicago.
It was at the age of 21 that he got into big trouble with the law. Ron had attempted to kill a rival gang member in retribution for a friend’s vicious beating. The only reason that he did not kill the other gang member was he had run out bullets, but he did manage to badly wound him.
Ron was now on the run with attempted murder charges being laid on him. He fled the country with his girlfriend to the West Coast of Canada where he assumed a false identity. There he got a job in construction.
His coworkers were Christians and through their influence both he and his girlfriend became Christians. Ron and his girlfriend eventually got married and got involved in a church as youth sponsors. Ron could have probably gone on with life without ever getting caught but it was because of his new found faith that he decided he needed to turn himself in to the authorities in Chicago.
What Strobel saw in court was the most unusual and amazing thing he had ever seen in a court. In almost all the other court cases the defendants lied and stretched the truth in order to try to get themselves out of paying for the crimes they committed. Here was a young man who stood before the Judge because he turned himself in and said, “I am guilty and I am ready to pay the price for the crime I committed.”
Ron’s evidence of change impressed Strobel so much that it caused him to start believing what he read in the Bible. It impressed the Judge so much that he gave Ron a suspended sentence and the judge told him that Ron’s change rekindled his hope for humanity. Ron now runs a group home for boys trying to get out of the gang life.
Stobel had recently learned of the historical authenticity of the Bible before he watched this court case unfold, but it was the changed life that caused him to really believe in the truths that the Bible was teaching.
This is all good to those who hear a story like this, but I want to tell you, I have been in court with friends who have been transformed in the exact same way. They were so radically changed that they turned themselves in, throwing themselves at the mercy of the courts, and the Judges were amazed! And all of this came out because they declared Jesus as Lord. And that is what Palm Sunday is all about.
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” Luke 19:37+38