Don Henley, in his 1989 song, If Dirt Were Dollars, records these words, "I was flying back from Lubbock, I saw Jesus on the plane, or maybe it was Elvis, you know, they kinda look the same!" Sightings of Elvis? Not many anymore, not even pumping gas in Detroit. Jesus? Occasionally someone sees his image on a "grilled cheese", or a "fried taco", or on the side of a "barn". But incarnate, (in the flesh), walking among us? Not many reports. But John mentions something that certainly catches our attention in one of his last letters. What did he mean by this terse little statement?
January Bible Study in 2006 was I John. I felt very prepared for the study, because after all, I had cut my teeth, as a Greek novice, translating and exegeting I John in first year Greek class. But every time we open God's book-it is alive! It is vibrant! It has a new message for each new day. I always thought that the key verse of I John was I John 5:13, "These things have I written unto you that have believed upon the name of the Son of God: that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may keep on believing on the name of the Son of God." It is true that John did have that purpose in mind when he penned the letter to his little children. But as I prepared for I John study, 2006, not 1971, I tripped over I John 4:17. "As He is, so are we, in this world!" There it is! So simple! Yet so profound! John was saying, "as you fellowship with the Father, and the Son, and walk in the light as He is in the light, as you love as He does, for God is love, you know that you are born of God. As you belive in Him you have life, for He is Life. He that is born of God does not keep on practicing sin." He provides Liberty from sin for you. Then he points out, As He is, SO ARE WE, IN THIS WORLD. There it is, a Jesus sighting! In me. In you. In the world! "As He is, so are we in the world!"
When Pilate, Herod, and Caiaphas had finally crucified Jesus, they likely rubbed their hands and said, "That takes care of Him!" But it didn't! They rolled a stone against the door of the sepulcher; they set a guard of soldiers there; they set a seal on the tomb. But stones, soldiers, and seals are no match for the Risen Christ! A recent passion drama about the Passion of Christ, (John Masefield The Trial of Jesus), has Pilate's wife interviewing Longinus, the Centurion in charge of the crucifixion, after she had heard circulating rumors of His resurrection, she inquires, "Do you believe He is dead?" "No", he replied. "Then where is He?", she queries. "Turned loose in the world", he affirms.
That is what John meant. Jesus was the Light of the presence of God in this world of darkness. He still is, because so are we! He was incarnate Love in a world of despair and hate. He still is, because so are we! He brought eternal life to those perishing with eternal death. He still does, through us, because we do also! He was Truth incarnate. He said, "You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free" (liberate you from sin). He set publicans, harlots, demoniacs free from the shackles of sin. He still does, because He still does, through us! Jesus commissioned His disciples to "go into all the world... and lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the age" (Matt. 28:20). "AS HE IS, SO ARE WE, IN THE WORLD!" WE ARE, AREN'T WE? WAS THAT ANOTHER JESUS SIGHTING? I THINK IT DEFINITELY WAS!
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "His Presence makes the Great Commission GREAT!"