As I boarded the bus to get home last night, the prospects for a conversation with someone about Jesus looked very slim. Everyone was either clearly isolating or listening to music (which I guess is also clearly isolating, but the others made it clear by their body language). So I prayed for someone to talk to who would respond loudly enough so that others would hear and be impacted by our conversation.
But, as the bus pulled away, no one else boarded the bus. I said in my heart, "Oh well, I guess it's not going to happen." But God...
Julian was only able to flag down the bus because he had previously warned the driver of the errand he had to run, because the buses are not supposed to stop for people after leaving the platform. He, too, was riding a bicycle, which fact brought a smile to my face. I had the answer to my prayer, and he would certainly understand my plight as a fellow cyclist in this cooler weather (Florida doesn't really get "cold," just too cool for my comfort at times).
Searching for an opening, I commented, "You must be a bachelor, drinking soda like that," referring to the two-thirds empty bottle of root beer that he had with him.
He smiled and acknowledged as he pulled out his iPod.
Not gonna lose this one, I thought, and said, "Hey, before you tun that thing on, I have a question for you: have you ever taken the good person test?"
He hadn't, so I gave it to him, and he, like me, proved to be a liar, thief, and murderer, by God's Standard. I gave him the Good News, and, in an unusual move for me, I told him plainly that his time was running out and that he needed to repent soon. To my surprise, he told me that I was the second person that very night that had called him to repentance. As we continued talking even after our bus ride (we had the same stop and rode our bikes together for three blocks), I found that the Lord had really been preparing him, sending him to a local church in Gulfport, and having him read John's record of Lazarus death and resurrection in chapter 11. In fact, I was able to use that to point him more to the Word.
He already knew that Lazarus is only mentioned twice in the Bible, the story Jesus told in Luke 16 (was it a parable? Jesus didn't name names in parables) and the aforementioned account in John 11. Jesus made an interesting point in Luke 16: "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced [to repent] even if someone rises from the dead" (verse 31, NIV). I then referred to the fact that the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' day knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, but they still refused to believe on Him and repent. Point being that one doesn't need a big miracle to know who Jesus is, just the Word. Because he was already a bit into the Word, I was able to say that the Book of John is possibly the best place to start, because it reveals Jesus as the Son of God.
I gave him my just-bought Bible, because he said that he couldn't understand the one he had without a dictionary, and I didn't want him using that as an excuse not to pick up a Bible. I did give him my phone number, because he wanted to keep in touch. My hands were very cold as I walked into the house, but I was very glad to have foregone a ride home from church. I don't think I want to do that very often, but this time, it was definitely worth it.