Being Jesus

Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

I have been talking with many different Christians lately. Many ask me if I “know” Jesus or if I know that I’m going to heaven. I must confess that “No” I certainly am not that sure of anything like that, at least not in the manner they are implying. Jesus hasn’t come knocking on my door lately asking how I’m doing (at least not a clearly identified Jesus!) and I haven’t gotten my reservation card in the mail yet either. I can identify many sins each day that are mark me as worthy of eternal damnation. I think many Christians get too caught up in “faith in Jesus”. Too many are focused on “believing in Jesus” or ”knowing Jesus”. Others get caught up in personal prayer (which is not bad) or making sure they attend every required religious service. Some will walk past a person in need while on their way to a service, never giving them a second thought. All their thoughts are on their mental image of Jesus. We are all to focused on these things but aren’t focused on “Being Jesus for others”. This seems more important to me. And it seems more important to Jesus also.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers…. Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

We are told here to ‘Go and DO likewise.” Jesus didn’t say “Go and think about your neighbor.” or “Go and pray to God”. He calls us to action. To love.

A recent Christian (and I’m sure a good man) I was talking with, asked why I (try to) do good things. “To what end do you do these good things?” He then asked if I thought they would get me to heaven. I said surely I wasn’t that foolish. Often we think of evil as “murder and rape” but we forget the evil we do every day. We are tempted to compare ourselves to the worst we can think of. We don’t often compare ourselves to Mother Teresa and say “Oh I’m so good!” I assured him that I might have more faith than himself, since while I wasn’t sure my faith in Jesus would get me to heaven, I was sure Jesus’ love and forgiveness would get me there. I think if more Christians busied themselves with just loving our neighbors and not immediately bombarding them with questions of “Are you saved” we might be helping the Holy Spirit on his mission of conversion, as we must acknowledge that it’s not us who saves any person but the Holy Spirit.

Love your neighbor.