Thursday, August 26, 2010
in the far corner of the lot
The Word for today:
Zechariah 12, 13
mark this: Zechariah 12:10
And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
Would we recognize Jesus if he walked in the room right now?
Based on biblical evidence, I'm not so sure we would.
In the story of Joseph--point for point, a prophecy of the Christ--his brothers didn't recognize him when they met him. (1)
In Zechariah, we read that Israel will not recognize the crucified Jesus as their Messiah until latter days, which have not yet arrived:
And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10)
Mary Magdalene thought Jesus was the gardener. (2)
The disciples on the road to Emmaus spoke with him for a long while, not recognizing him until, as he broke bread at the table, they saw the wounds in his hands. (3)
Joseph did not hide from his brothers behind a wig or sunglasses. And Jesus did not hide from Mary or the disciples.
I love Jesus, but certainly no more than Mary did. I know Jesus, but certainly not better than his brothers knew Joseph.
So I return to the opening question and aim it towards myself: Would I know Jesus if he walked in the room right now? The Bible says probably not.
Perhaps it isn't Jesus that we don't recognize. Perhaps it's the context we surround him with. We think of him as a male, thirty-three, with religion on his mind.
But what if he were 96, in a nursing home. What if he were she. What if he were fifteen on a park bench, texting. What if he were a roofer, or a salesman. Or the crazed fan next to you at the Bills game. What if he lined up next to you at the beginning of a 5k race?
He as much as tells us that we'll meet him in a scene with a different background:
'For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' (Matthew 25:35-40)
When we meet Jesus, it most likely will be in a context least suspected. If you're looking for him at church, carefully consider the lady who babysits our kids so we can hear the sermon. Or the guy who parks the cars in the far corner of the church lot. Yeah, that guy--who laughs too loud and is known to enjoy a cigar out there, we're told.
Then check nursing homes and parks and gardens and prisons and Buffalo Bills games.
And enter a 5k race. Hey, you never know. But be sure to wait for the very last person to finish. In his kingdom, remember, the last shall be first. (4)
(1) Genesis 42; (2) John 20:15; (3) Luke 24; (4) Matthew 20:16