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« Pampered or Prodded? | Main | A Vision of Jesus »

A Jesus Sighting

rio-statue-13.jpg “Lo, I see four men loose…and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Daniel 3:25

Several years after he died, somebody reportedly saw Elvis Presley in a Kalamazoo, MI. MacDonald’s store. Similarly, after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, someone else with a lively imagination said they saw the former president on a private island being pushed in a wheelchair by Jackie. These incidents are called “sightings”, and whole societies have grown up based on human heroes or space aliens who have supposedly appeared and talked to people, kidnapped some of them and did bizarre things to them. UFO groups boast of their own magazines, websites and lawsuits in court to prove their reality.

The odd truth is that many people see things that don’t exist because they want to see them so badly. Cognitive psychologists say that people see objects based on expectations. If a hunter expects to see a deer in the bush, for example, that’s what he sees, even though it may be his buddy.

When it comes to God, many people see things in scripture that aren’t there. Some see a triplet of deities. Others see Jesus as a mere man, and eccentric prophet, a misguided madman or as one-third of God. The April 16, 2001 issue of U. S. News & World Report featured a cover story on “The Triumph of Christianity” in which Jesus is seen through the political calculations of Constantine, the third century Roman Emperor. “… Constantine ’s embrace of Christianity was a political calculation. He took an active role in its governance, calling the church’s first ecumenical council to condemn Arianism. Out of that council would come a definitive doctrinal statement, later refined into the Nicene Creed, which articulated and codified such traditional doctrines as the Virgin Birth, the deity of Jesus and the Holy Trinity. ” Constantine ’s Jesus was a compromise forged by political power, philosophical leanings and pagan religion.

But the Jesus I see in the scriptures stands out in sharp relief to these human illusions. Jesus identifies himself with the Father, claims the status of the Almighty, states that he is both the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, possesses all knowledge, all power and fills all space. “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:9-10.

I see Jesus in the face of Old Testament characters. I see him in Adam. “The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” I see him in Abel. “And to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” I see him in Isaac, Joseph, Moses, Aaron and Joshua. I see him in Melchizedek, Boaz, Samuel, Job, Solomon, Jeremiah, Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, Jonah, Hosea and Zerubbabel. I see him in David as the rightful heir to the throne. “Thou shalt bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus…and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father, David.” Luke 1:31-32.

I see Jesus in the offices of the Old Testament. He is the Prophet. (Luke 24:19.). He is the Priest. (Hebrews 7:24.). He is the King. (Matthew 2:2.).

I see Jesus in the great stories and instruments of the Old Testament. He is the Ark of Moses, Jacob’s ladder, the blood-sprinkled door, the burning bush, the pillars of cloud and fire, the Red Sea , the manna, the smitten rock, the tablets of stone, Aaron’s rod that budded, the brazen serpent, the city of refuge, the tabernacle of Moses, the offerings, feasts and festivals.

I see Jesus at each step of the plan of salvation. He met me at the initial step of faith, as he met Peter on the water. He met me at the step of repentance, because his blood was sprinkled at the brazen altar. He met me at the waters of baptism. “…for there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 .) He met me at the baptism of the Holy Ghost. “…If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he…shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:11.)

I see Jesus at all the major turns in my life. I see him at my times of decision, moments of crisis, periods of uncertainty, happy days and needy hours. I see him as my guide, my constant companion, the one who overshadows, protects, comforts blesses and anoints me. He gives me grace to stand, reasons to rejoice, power to overcome and faith to believe.

The true Jesus is larger than life. Open your eyes and see him in all his glorious reality!

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