The Bible is full of stories of men and women whose lives were transformed after an encounter with the living God. A few days ago, as I pondered on the conversion of the Gerasene demoniac in Mark 5, I marveled at the amazing life transformation that happened in that story. Those thoughts led me down a path where I started considering several other equally mind-boggling life transformations in the bible. I have included my top ten below, complete with scripture references, my comments and key highlights from each story:
10) The Samaritan woman at the well – John 4:1-40. Coming in at number ten is the famous conversion of the woman at the well. In this instance, Jesus broke so many protocols and cultural norms by engaging this woman in conversation. By the gift of prophecy, Jesus was able to reach the woman’s heart in such a way that her life was transformed so dramatically. She became such a powerful evangelist whose testimony of the truth led many others to Christ. Key Highlight: 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.
9) The Centurion – Luke 7:1-10. Following close behind at number nine is the conversion of the Centurion of whom Jesus proclaimed He had not found faith equal to his even in Israel. The conversion of the Centurion to a follower of Christ was remarkable because in the context of the time, here was a Roman soldier who wielded great authority in an occupied land and yet, he recognised the far superior authority in Christ Jesus and was not afraid to live according to what he had come to believe. Key Highlight: 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.”
8) The Gerasene Demoniac – Mark 5:1-20. At number eight is a very dramatic conversion story involving a man who was so demon possessed that his demons had demons of their own! Seriously though, this man’s head must have been filled with the lies, deception and oppression of thousands of demons that had possessed him and yet, one encounter with Jesus transformed his life so dramatically that the people who knew him as a crazed fellow were afraid when they saw him dressed and in his right mind. Key Highlight: 18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
7) The Prison Keeper – Acts 16:25-34. At number seven is the story of the guard who acted as the prison keeper for Paul and Silas. As most of you know, God dramatically intervened during worship that was led by Paul and Silas who were tied up in chains deep in a prison cell. There was an earthquake that caused all the prison doors to open and the prison keeper, assuming all the inmates would take the opportunity to escape, tries to take his own life. Paul thankfully stops him from doing so and this encounter with the Christ in Paul and Silas led to a dramatic life transformation for the prison keeper as he desperately asks them: “sirs, what must I do to be saved”? Key Highlight: At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
6) Nebuchadnezzar – Daniel 4:1-37. At number six is yet another dramatic conversion. At the time, Nebuchadnezzar was one of the world’s most powerful leaders. His empire was probably the largest at the time. His ego got the better of him and he started to think he was a god. Well, God Almighty hates the proud. He decided to teach Nebu a lesson by reminding him that all authority comes from above. God withdrew His grace on Nebu’s life and for the next seven years, he was reduced to living and acting like a brute beast. Key Highlight: 34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. . 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
Keep an eye out for the countdown to my number one conversion story in the bible in a post that will likely be published next week on the blog. Once the list has been completed, we will all get a chance to vote for our favorite conversions. Thank you all for reading. Have a blessed weekend as you reminisce on your very own conversion story.