Asking Jesus to come and live in my heart and be my Saviour was the most important decision I have made in my life. For years as a teenager I had been reading the Bible every day, but never understanding it. My journey with Jesus began when I was eighteen during my first term at University. The very morning after I had become ‘born again,’ the Bible made sense to me. In John’s gospel, chapter 3, Jesus taught about our need to be born again: to know Him intimately in our heart. My life was immediately transformed: it was like going from black and white to HD in one fell swoop! Over the years, Jesus has taken me to Spain, to France, to India and to South Africa working for Him, seeing Him do some amazing things – even miracles. What a Saviour!
The Impact of the Oberammergau Passion Play
Previously, when I was seventeen, my parents had taken my sister and me to see the world famous Oberammergau Passion Play in Germany. This was a significant step forward in my search for the truth. The history of this play is interesting. In 1633, the Bubonic Plague was decimating the village of Oberammergau in Bavaria, southern Germany. In utter desperation, the villagers gathered together in their parish church and humbled themselves before God. They vowed to enact the Passion of Jesus Christ every ten years for evermore, if God would graciously put an end to that deadly plague. God honoured their faith and the plague ended immediately. The villagers are continuing to keep their solemn promise. Apart from during the two World Wars, the village of Oberammergau has faithfully performed the Life and Passion of Jesus Christ every ten years.
Actors in the Play must either have been born in Oberammergau, or have lived there for twenty years. They give up a whole year of their lives on this project. The Play lasts eight hours! The fall of man is portrayed, explaining the need mankind has of a Saviour. The entire Play is Bible-based.
The scene that made the deepest impression on me was when, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus struggled in utter agony as He contemplated taking on Himself – in His body – every single sin that had ever been committed, or ever would be committed. How this spoke to me! I knew I needed to be saved. I cried for more than three hours in the coach as we returned to our hotel a long distance away from Oberammergau.
The following year, more conscious than ever how much I needed a Saviour, I went to University. God’s timing was incredible! Soon after my first term began, there appeared all over the Student Union posters announcing, “THE ANSWER IS CHRIST!” I heard the gospel clearly in that mission and gave my life to Jesus that week. I have never looked back!
My journey with Jesus has been thrilling. He has never failed me. I am enjoying sharing my adventures with Him. Truly, I am ‘So Greatly Loved.’
Note from So Greatly Loved
2020 is the year in which the next performance of the Passion Play will be held:
The photos below are from the 1960 performance of this magnificent Passion Play, which I was so privileged to attend as a teenager.