“The story of a man saved by a vision of Christ on the way to join the Mafia”
My Name is Joe Rodriguez,
This is How I encountered Jesus, and how He changed my life forever. I was the ripe old age of twenty three, and full of piss and vinegar. I was ready to take on the world and to fight for my piece of the pie. When SUDDENLY all went awry, everything that could go wrong DID go wrong. It was as if God had it out for me. I became angry and depressed, my world was falling apart. I decided I didn’t care any more, the gloves were coming off. I would do whatever it took, to get to the top. I decided to take an offer to join the mafia from a long time family friend that had watched me grow up from infancy. I called the family friend that had made me the offer and told them I decided I wanted in. They said OK but you know the deal right? I knew, it was “once your in, your in for life, or die.” I said yes, “I know the deal.” They said, “OK then, let me call you back after we make the arrangements.” They said “we will have dinner and make it all official. They assured me that they would I call me back with a time and date as well as a location for our dinner.
I said OK and hung up the phone.
I had been staying in a home I was remodeling for my sister, it was late evening and I was all alone when I had made the call to let them know I wanted in. As I hung up, I heard a clear whisper in my head. It said; “What if there is a God?” I automatically thought, well if there is a God, I am going to hell for all I am about to do. I would need to be ready to kill if need be to stay alive and free, it would probably only be a matter of time before I killed or hurt someone.
I heard another voice, this one sounded angry and mean, it said; “don’t be stupid, there is no God.” I thought this is true, there is no god, what am I thinking? Then I heard the whisper again, He said; “what if? Just consider it?” I started to ponder the idea, then I heard the cruel voice speak again, he said; “what are you thinking? Have you ever seen God? Have you ever heard God? Do you know where God Lives, where is he now?”
I became confused, I didn’t know what to think. I quickly went and grabbed some bible on cassette tapes that I had seen laying around the house. I took them to the bedroom and started to listened to them in hopes that I could prove they were wrong, so I could continue with my ungodly plans. I listened to those tapes into the wee hours of the morning. The more I heard the more I began to get upset. I had lived a rough life, and I didn’t think it was fair, I did’t know it then, but I blamed God for all the inner pain I was feeling. That was really what was driving me, it was anger and resentment. It had been eating away at me for years and I was in terrible spiritual shape. After hours of hearing about all kinds of promises and blessings, I couldn’t take any more. I jumped to my feet from the edge of the bed I had been sitting on. I thrust my fist towards Heaven in a rage and yelled; “Lies, lies, lies! They are all a bunch of damned lies!”
“You say your the God of Love, you say you are the God of peace, you are the God of joy, well; Where in the hell are you right now? You don’t give a damn about me, You are a selfish God, all you care about is yourself. I care about people, if my friends need help, they know, they can always count on me. I will always be there for them, but as for YOU, where are you, and what have you ever done for me? I said; You dropped me off on this earth, and took off to only you know where.
Then it hit me all at once, how about the old lady that gets raped, how about the old man that freezes to death in the alley, how about the child that starves to death and about the children born with birth defects and how about all the Jews that died by the Hand of Hitler? WHERE WERE YOU THEN? Just then, I fell like a dead man, and my Spirit left my body. I found my my spirit man standing up in the same position as before, screaming the very same words “How about all the Jews that died by the Hand of Hitler, WHERE WERE YOU THEN?”
Suddenly I saw the bust of a Catholic Jesus that had the bleeding crown of thorns. It was just like the one my mother had hanging on our wall ever since I was a child. I looked at it, and to my amazement, the eyes on this the bust were REAL! I know that sounds crazy but it’s true, and as I locked my eyes on the eyes of this bust, His eyes were staring into the depths of my soul, I knew He saw everything. I could also see into Him and what He was feeling and thinking. I could see that my comments had grieved Him deeply, it was breaking His Heart, that I hadn’t believed. His eyes grew watery from the tears that were building up in them, and they began to flow down His face, and as they did they turned to blood. It was no longer a ceramic bust. I began to see His flesh, the living flesh of his body began to appear beneath the tears of blood as they rolled all the way down his body, revealing that He was on the cross.
He looked at me, and without actually speaking, spoke into my mind, He said “You ask, What have I ever done for YOU?” “ Well LOOK!” then I saw His arms stretched on the cross, I began to hear then see the large crowd around Him. they were mocking, and ridiculing Him. There were even some spitting on Him. I instantly knew He was a God, and I knew He had the Power to get off that cross and destroy them all. I was bewildered as to how He could keep Himself destroying them and at how He could keep His gaze on me the whole time even while enduring their insults. The pain was becoming unbearable for Him and He began to quiver as He fought the urge to turn away from me, as He cringed in pain. not being able to resist, He turned His head in pain and began to let out a loud cry that sounded like The Roar of a Giant Lion. It also sounded like the sound of all the people of the world letting out a loud cry in one voice, and still also, like the sound of all the waters of all the oceans roaring and crashing all at once. THEN, there was a great earthquake, and all the earth shook, and Hell opened up and swallowed Jesus Spirit off the cross, then tried to swallow me as well. I began to scream in terror, then flames shot out and tried to wrap themselves around my ankles, and pull me in. My life, in that moment, flashed before my eyes, I could see every sin I ever committed. I saw every lie I ever told, everything I had ever stolen, every person I had ever beaten up, every girl I had ever slept with, as well as every other thing I ever did that hurt others.
Then Jesus shot out of Hell at the speed of light. He was so big that, His feet were on the earth, His Head was in space, and His hand was raised into outer space. The angels appeared and they filled the heaven’s as Jesus stood in the middle. It was as if the universe was covered in a pure white silk sheet and I was a black speck that needed to be removed. I was in agreement, I didn’t belong there and I needed to be destroyed. It felt as if they were all pointing their weapons at me and Jesus was about to drop His hand and say FIRE and I would be reduced to less then powder. I cried out; I am so sorry JESUS, please forgive me!
He instantly forgave me, and I could feel it, all the terror left instantly. Jesus and the angels suddenly disappeared and I was left prostrate on floor where I had curled up in the fetal position after seeing Hell. I was now in the presence of The Father. I felt total peace, all fear was gone, I felt like what could be best described as a blank video tape. No fears, no worry’s, no cares at all, total peace. I was laying prostrate on the floor and could not even lift my head because of His GLORY, but I could still feel Him staring right at me. I stayed quite and waited for a while for Him to speak, but He would not say a word. I couldn’t believe He was waiting on me. I thought, You are the creator of the universe, The Ruler of Heaven and Earth and all that is in it, and You have time to wait on me? I could tell He heard me and that my comment had pleased Him. It’s as if He was saying; “yes, exactly, now your getting it.” He was communicating with me, it was as if He was smiling down on me.
I said, I never knew you were real, I had no idea. But now that I do, all I want, is to KNOW you better. I will go anywhere you want me to go, I will say anything you want me to say, and I will do anything you want me to do, only show me Your will. Just then it felt as if God reached inside of me and began to tickle me from the inside of my belly. I began to roll around on the ground and giggle like a child uncontrollably. Then, it was as if He lifted me into His arms and began to cradle me as a child. I felt as if I fell into an ocean of Love, and as if I was overdosing on it! I began to weep tears of joy, I said yes Lord, yes Lord, yes! I will give you everything, you can have my mother, my brother, my sister’s, and all my relatives just don’t ever take this feeling from me. Then the POWER of the Holy Spirit lifted to my feet where all I could do was jump up and down and say He is ALIVE, He is ALIVE, He is ALIVE! JESUS IS ALIVE!!!
I had gone from being depressed, to being the happiest person in the world. My new life had just begun. I now knew God was real, and I knew I had purpose. I could not wait to share the good news with my friends and family, they needed to know that, Jesus is still Alive! My family and friends were mostly Catholic, and I didn’t really think they God based on what I had experienced. No one had ever told me Jesus was alive. Nobody had ever told me that I could know Him, feel Him and see Him. I couldn’t wait for the sun to rise, so I could start making phone calls and sharing the good news about Jesus and all that He had shown me.