Justin Bieber has had a tough go since becoming one of the most successful pop sensations of this generation at the tender age of 15. He had his bouts with drugs, alcohol and searching for hope in places where it didn’t exist. But just as He is in all things, God was at work through all of it.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the megachurch pastor of Hillsong, Carl Lentz, opens up about the day he got to baptize Justin Bieber.
For a couple of years now, there’s been talk of Justin Bieber finding Jesus and growing in his faith, but Carl’s testimony of the night the pop icon made a decision for Christ is straight out of the New Testament.
In Acts chapter 8, Philip meets an Ethiopian eunuch who was reading scripture from the book of Isaiah. He invited Philip to travel with him and explain the scripture. Being the evangelist that he is, Philip took the scripture (Isaiah 53:7) as a starting point—explaining that Jesus will be the one to suffer and die—to share the good news of the gospel with the eunuch.
In the past few years, Justin Bieber has gotten close with some “Philips” of his own. Pastor Carl Lentz and Pastor Judah Smith—easily two of the greatest and most household name pastors of our generation—have developed a relationship with the singer, and poured into him.
So when Carl got a call from Justin at 3 a.m., he knew something big was about to happen.
With the help and influence of strong Christian leaders, the 23-year-old had been working through some troubling times. He knew he needed to “start fresh,” and sought counsel in Judah and Carl about the meaning of baptism.
Carl says that thanks to the seeds that his mother planted throughout his childhood, Justin has known Jesus, and has had a relationship with Jesus for a while.
The transformative moment is when a man decides for himself what his relationship with Christ looks like, rather than carrying on and reflecting that of his mother’s or grandmother’s relationship with God.
Carl says Justin had come to a place where he knew Jesus, and he wanted to take the next step in owning his relationship with the Lord and professing his faith.
It was that very moment when Justin knew he needed to be baptized RIGHT then.
You’re probably thinking, at THREE IN THE MORNING? He couldn’t have waited a few more hours?
Acts 8:36-37, “As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?’”
Nothing could stand in the way of Justin Bieber being baptized that night. Not even Satan, who made it nearly impossible for the pop star to simply find a body of water.
“He was being followed by a million paparazzi people,” Carl explains. “We tried to go to four different places.”
That’s when the pastor pulled out the big guns. He called up his friend, NBA star Tyson Chandler, and asked if they could borrow his pool. The basketball player’s pool was out of commission, but his bathtub was ready for some early morning sanctification. Carl and Judah baptized Justin “in that giant tub.”
Acts 8:38, “Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.”
He was reborn.
Carl says, “It was probably one of the most special things I’ve been a part of.”
Today, Justin Bieber is still in the tabloids, but now for an entirely different reason. Justin has tried to put his days of making sketchy headlines on the cover of Us Weekly behind him, though he admittedly still makes his fair share of mistakes. Instead, the pop star is using his celebrity to make Jesus’ name known.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” In the Hollywood world that Biebs lives in, nothing could be more true.
He’s done a complete 180, found hope and strength in Jesus Christ, and now shares his passion and faith with audiences around the world.
This month in Sydney, Australia, Justin reportedly broadcasted his faith on stage, by appearing in a transparent box that read, “Mark my words, Jesus Loves You!!!”
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a big-name celebrity or not. When the Holy Spirit moves, He moves mightily. That night when Justin felt an immediate need for Jesus and baptism was a pivotal moment that launched the superstar into a life of purpose. He knows how desperately we all need Jesus, and he’s been blessed with a widespread platform to share the gospel.