It’s all about the view.
From the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to giant redwoods and rocky beaches, the city of Santa Clara is surrounded by sights of the beautiful Bay area.
On Thursday night, nearly 5,000 people came to California’s Great America Redwood Amphitheater looking for more than just a pretty picture.
“I need some uplifting; that’s what I need,” Losaline said as she held her 1-year-old son while sitting with a friend and 13 extended family members. After recently giving her life to Christ, she was excited for the evening to begin.
Just a few rows back, two sisters were also anticipating a great night of prayer with people from different backgrounds but the commonality of Jesus.
“Here in California, the vibe is a whole lot different,” one sister said, hoping to receive new perspective in a place that’s known for its liberal views.
The sisters watched Billy Graham on TV together as kids and heard a call to repentance then. Now, they were ready to hear a similar message through the next generation.
Facing the crowd, Franklin Graham led a prayer for government leaders in California and the nation before sharing the Bible story of Zacchaeus, who was a rich tax collector and crooked public official.
When Jesus was coming through the city of Jericho, Zacchaeus couldn’t see Him due to his short stature and the large crowd, so he climbed a tree for a better view.
“While Zacchaeus was in a sycamore tree, Jesus stopped. Zacchaeus didn’t call Jesus. Jesus called him,” Franklin said as airplanes passed overhead. “Zacchaeus had to make a choice—he could sit there in a tree or obey Jesus.”
Before asking those in the crowd to stand and make a commitment to Jesus, Franklin commented, “[Jesus is] passing by here tonight.
“There’s only one way to God and that’s through Christ.”
In a world that constantly comes up short, Franklin added that people can have their dream job, a family or all the toys in the world, but something still be missing.
“Jesus Christ will give you peace if you’re willing to trust Him,” he said.
Sixteen-year-old Fernando felt something missing in his life. With tears streaming down his face, he stood and prayed to begin a relationship with Christ. His mother, who invited him, got up and kissed him on the cheek.
“I wanted to give my life to Christ the same way Zacchaeus did because I’ve grown up in a society of ‘take, take, take.’ … We all do that,” Fernando said, referring to how the tax collector stole from others but later repaid them.
“I’ve been working toward something that’s not tangible; it’s not something you can really achieve,” he continued, admitting he was constantly busy balancing work and school.
Now, instead of seeking happiness in worldly things, Fernando and others who made a decision Thursday night can find joy in Christ instead—a new view on life.
As the night wrapped up, Fernando tapped his foot to Jeremy Camp’s closing number while his sister stood high up on the bleacher with her armed wrapped around him.
Perhaps she now has a better view too.