Meeting with Christ
One of the great things about having a relationship with Jesus Christ is that He usually meets us exactly where we are. He knows each of our needs and there are numerous stories in the Bible confirming that Christ loves to engage us in our normal, regular everyday lives. We just aren’t used to meeting Him there; in unexpected places. It seems too easy to us – we should be in church, or praying, or seeking Him – but sometimes, God pursues us.
For example, if you study the book of John, and his three letters, called the Johannine Epistles, you learn in seminary that they can be read at almost any level. And by that, I mean, that if you are a new Christian, John is probably the first New Testament book you should read. John writes with such a childlike love of Christ that the book appeals to almost anybody. There is something so fresh and appealing about the way John engages his readers – no big words, simple sentences; yet the love of Christ oozes out of the pages of the book. However, if you are more mature in your walk with Christ, John still fills the need of anyone who wants to feel the love of Jesus. And that’s because the theology runs deep – but you don’t have to read it that way if you don’t want to. I know this all sounds strange – but it’s true. And you know what – when I write posts that use verses from John, as I did last night, I always get comments about how much people like the story. That’s because John’s writings have the unusual ability to meet us where we are – they speak to us in special ways.
And another thing; the theme of meeting us where we are runs through the entire Bible. Remember Abraham, who wandered from place to place and built an altar wherever he stopped? How did God meet him? In Genesis 18:1, we are told, “The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.” In other words, God appeared as a traveller, or wanderer, with two other companions, presumed to be angels.
Or when Christ called His disciples, who were mostly fishermen, he offered them a chance to become “fishers of men.” So he appeared to them as somebody who had a similar mission – fishing – as they did. And how many times did Christ teach the disciples when they were in boats, or eating fish, or feeding the multitudes?
And how did Christ get the attention of Paul, in the new Testament? As a persecutor of Christians, Paul had people stoned, imprisoned and hurt in many ways. So what happened on the road to Damascus? God struck him blind, on the spot. In Acts 9:7-9, we are told, “The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” Do you think this made an impression on Paul? Of course it did, because something less extreme may not have had the same impact. And Paul went on to become probably the greatest planter of churches in the history of Christianity, and he was certainly on fire for the Lord. But it all started with Christ meeting him where he was; in a way that Paul could identify with.
And so it is with us. Christ meets us where we are. And usually in a way that will be familiar to us. So if you need a friend, Christ may approach you through a friend. And if you need a compliment, maybe that is how you will encounter Christ. If you need some privacy and quiet time, Christ may approach you through the deepest recesses of your solitude. Who among us has not been rejoicing and encountered Christ through singing? You will know it when you experience it – you just have to be trained to look for and expect it.
My encouragement tonight is that you will encounter God in ways that you never dreamed possible – but look for Him where you are – He is there also. And my prayer is that you will learn that these special times are for you to deepen your relationship with Christ – just you and Him. And if you doubt all this, try reading John. I guarantee that you will encounter Jesus in the pages of this great book. By doing this, you can have the same kind of childlike faith that John had – and that Christ loves. Amen.