The life of Jesus, as seen from an old preacher's point of view.
An attempt to move from 'Knowing about Jesus' to 'Actually knowing Him'.
Posted on 25th May, 2020
By Alan Rigby

Watch Alan's Studies

  • The Baptism

    Alan Rigby talks about a high point in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ - his baptism. After thirty years in obscurity, now the time had arrived for Jesus to begin his public ministry.

  • Nicodemus: Part Two

    Alan explains how a believe in and obedience to God leads the way to salvation; that believers shall not perish but have eternal life.

  • The Twelve Apostles

    Alan introduces us to the Twelve Apostles, the debt we owe to them, and how we, if we're available to the Lord, can do good works.

  • The Jesus Story – Overview

    The sole aim of this series of studies is to look very closely at the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not just the things that He said and did, but also, just what was the motivation behind the things He said and did.

  • Early Galilean Ministry

    Alan takes a look at the beginning of the Early Ministry of Jesus in Galilee and at the timescales involved.

  • Miracle Catch of Fish

    Alan introduces us to Luke and why he wrote his gospel, and his record of the Miracle Catch of Fish at the Lake of Gennesaret.

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My Testimony

To begin, it may help if I just try give you some idea of who I am and just what my intentions are for this website.

I did not have a very good start in life, my father was a wife beating alcoholic and he had spent time in prison. The amazing thing was that when sober he was not too bad, but he was not sober very often.

It seemed as if I was going to follow in his footsteps. When I was sixteen, after several criminal convictions, I was caught with some other youths breaking into a warehouse. I think the judge by now had enough of me and I was put into a probation hostel in London for twelve months.

On returning home I decided that the life of crime was not for me. This was not through any desire to be a better person, it simply because crime did not pay for me – I kept getting caught.

The next two years of my life were just a drunken haze. I had not learned anything about how drinking had ruined my early home life, through my father’s drinking.

When I was nineteen, I was being constantly invited to go to a local church by my mother who become a ‘Born Again Christian’. Her persistent invitations and prayers finally wore me down and I went with her; in fact I went several times after that.

I feel I must explain my position at this time. I was nineteen, a bricklayer earning very good money. My life consisted of just work and drinking. One night in a local club, too drunk to stand I sat there and thought to myself, “If this is living, I wish I was dead”. I had everything I ever dreamed of having: I had a comfortable home life; a good well-paid job, more money than I really needed. But, my life felt empty.

It was during one of the visits to church with my mother that I made decision to become a Christian. This was the turning point in my life, but it did not happen all at once. I was given some very good advice by the pastor of the church, this was after I had really disappointed him.

After the service he came to me and the first thing that I said to him was: “I was expecting something to happen when I made the decision to become a Christian, but nothing has happened I feel exactly the same.”

The good advice that I was given was quite simple. The pastor gave me a copy of the Gospel according to John. He told me to read a portion of this every day, and pray every day, that God would reveal himself to me. He then said something very unexpected to me: “Give this a try for a month, and if it does not work, pack it in.”

So I prayed, and it was very strange at first; I was praying to a God and I did not know whether or not He existed. However, after two weeks of doing this something very bizarre happened. I received a postcard from my brother-in-Law and it was a picture of Jesus and a text from the bible.

What happened to me next was amazing: I had been praying that God would reveal Himself to me. I began to cry; this was very odd as I had always been a bit of a hard man – no man would make me cry.

The only way that I could describe what was happening is it felt like an overwhelming sense of the presence of God. I had been praying for two weeks that God would reveal himself to me and it seemed as though that was just what He was doing.

Something happened in my life that night that I find difficult to explain. I only know that from that night my life was completely changed. I had a completely new set of values; now I wanted to do things God’s way and not my own.

There is a text in the book of Proverbs 3:6:

6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

This has been one proverb that has been the guiding light throughout the whole of my Christian life. As a result of this I have been blessed by God in the most remarkable ways. Here are just a few of the areas of my life for which I sought the will of God: a wife, a home, children, various satisfying jobs.

What I am about to say is in no way boasting. A friend once told me that: “True humility is not saying that you are not what you are, that is false humility. True humility is in the words of the apostle Paul 1Co 15:10:

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am.

Up to the age of 19 I lived my life, to paraphrase Sinatra’s song, ‘My Way’, but unlike his song I was making a mess of my life. A teenage thief with a criminal record, and at 19 an alcoholic who was sick of life.

Since becoming a Christian I have made it a rule of life to acknowledge God in all my ways. As a result of this I prayed for direction in choosing a wife. This year (2020) we will be celebrating 57 years of a very happy married life.

My wife and I both prayed concerning a home; young and recently married, living in lodgings with no money to buy a house, the Lord provided a house for us. A council house that we later bought; a very good house in a beautiful area, where we have lived for the last fifty years and where we hope to stay until the Lord calls us home.

We both prayed earnestly concerning children. The Lord has blessed us with three wonderful children. Our eldest son has recently retired as Police Inspector. Our daughter is the area manager Methodist live at home scheme, overseeing 200+ elderly people and providing lunch clubs, exercise classes, bowling clubs and craft sessions . Our youngest son is our full-time carer.

Of the four grandchildren, we have been blessed with two in good full-time jobs, one is in university and one still in college.

As for employment, without taking up too much time, for the final thirty years of my working life I was employed as a Post Mortem Room Technician, a job that I really enjoyed. I say again, I enjoyed going to work and you cannot ask for better than that.

When I retired from work there was a retirement party held for me; it all went very well. I remember it dawning on me where God had brought me from. There, at that party to offer their best wishes were Her Majesty’s Coroner, two police superintendants, three hospital consultants, the deputy director of the local council, senior laboratory technicians, and countless police, council workers and hospital staff. I was so grateful.

I had nothing to boast about when I thought back to where he Lord had found me. When I did it ‘My Way’ I made a mess of it. A teenage thief with a criminal record, and at 19 an alcoholic who was sick of life.

Now I was on first name terms with a coroner, senior police officers, hospital consultants, council leaders. What a difference becoming a Christian had made in my life.

Well that is my testimony. God can do marvellous things with very inferior material.

Now I’m aged 81, not as fit as I used to be; in fact getting really frail in parts. I was rather surprised when I felt the need to tell the story of Jesus. I was even more surprised when the opportunity and the equipment became available.

Here is a good question to begin with: ‘just how important is it to know the story of Jesus?’ The aim of any person who would call themselves a Christian, by its very definition, should be striving to be like Jesus; it is simply to be like Christ.

The command of Jesus himself was simply, Mt 16:2:

2 “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

To follow in the footsteps of Jesus we need to not only know where He walked, but how He walked. We need to understand what it was that motivated Him to do the things that he did. His whole mission can be found in the verses of one song:

He left the splendour of glory knowing His destiny. On the lonely hill of Golgotha He laid down His life for me. If that is not love.

I heard one man describe Jesus as:

“The one who left the comfort of heaven to join the struggle on earth, to show us who God is and what love looks like with skin on.”

I believe the more we see and understand about Jesus, the way he was with people, the more we will want to follow His example. What a terrific target to set ourselves: ‘To be like Jesus’.