Jesus Showed Up

Then Jesus Showed Up


Clarence Jordan, a key person in the founding of Habitat for Humanity, once said that as long as God was an idea, an abstraction, a feeling, we were fine with God. Then Jesus showed up, in the flesh, looking at us with those excavating eyes. God was suddenly as real and tangible on earth as in heaven — and we decided it wasn’t a good place for God to be.

Jordan continued, it felt like there was a preacher at the barbershop. It felt like there was a nun at the bar, or a monk at the bachelor party. So we said, “Jesus, we have to watch ourselves too much around you. We feel hemmed in around you. Now you go back home where you belong and be a good God, and maybe we’ll see you of a Sunday morning.”

Then we rolled the stone in front of the tomb.

Mr. Jordan’s statement may seem hyperbolic

Mr. Jordan’s statement may seem hyperbolic, but if you read any one of the four Gospels from the perspective of a Pharisee or Sadducee, you will probably agree with his statement. However, it wasn’t just the leadership that had a problem with God being with them (“God with us”). Ordinary people tried to kill Jesus, dedicated disciples deserted Him, and one of His twelve closest disciples betrayed Him. Even as Jesus hung on the cross, people came to watch the spectacle of the king of the Jews die. For all I know, they sold popcorn and hot dogs.

Fast forward to our time. Nothing’s changed. Most people feel “hemmed in” (Ps. 139:5) when God shows up. As Christians, everywhere we go God is there inside us, in our conversations, in our actions, you know, it just drives many people nutty. In 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 (my wife’s favorite passage) we read, “For we are to God the sweet aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one, we are an odor of death and demise; to the other, a fragrance that brings life…” 

We need to carry the aroma of Christ. People are dying.

Photo credit: fusion-of-horizons on Visual hunt / CC BY

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