At the front door of the church building, Valerie ran to hug my neck and greeted me with this astonishing revelation: “You’re Jesus!” (Valerie was four years old). As I tried to explain that my name is Dave, she insisted that I was “Jesus.” She finally showed me the picture she had colored in bible class that morning, that depicted Jesus with some of His disciples. Pointing to “Jesus,” she emphatically declared, “That’s YOU!” (I think her misunderstanding lay in the fact that Jesus in her picture had a beard, while His disciples were clean-shaven.) Still, her insistence that I was Jesus took me aback, and made me pause to think about who and what others see in me!
In Colossians 1:27 Paul says that the “mystery” God has revealed in His saints is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Paul is emphasizing the fact that Gentiles and Jews are saved in exactly the same way – through the blood of Jesus. The idea that we are “paid for” with His blood (Mark 10:45; Acts 20:28) reminds us that we no longer belong to ourselves, but to HIM (1 Corinthians 6:20). According to 2 Corinthians 2:15, Christians are “…the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved,” and in the next verse Paul says the “smell” of Christianity is the scent of (everlasting) death to the spiritually dead, but the aroma of eternal life for those who are spiritually alive! In this sense, Christians “represent” Christ in the world: Our lives remind others that it is not necessary to die both physically and spiritually (Hebrews 9:27, cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). Our changed lives (Romans 12:1-2) show others that it IS possible to “start over,” by becoming new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). By being “salt and light” in the present world (Matthew 5:13- 16), we Christians become – in effect – the presence of the Savior among those who are lost; His hands, feet, and voice (1 Corinthians 12:14-27; 1 Thessalonians 2:3-4; & 1 Peter 4:11)! In 1919, lyricist Annie J. Flint expressed this idea beautifully in the words of the hymn we now know as “The World’s Bible” –
“Christ has no hands but our hands, To do His work today, He has no fee but our feet, To lead men in His way; He has no tongue but our tongues, To tell men how He died, He has no help but our help, To bring them to His side.”
In the letter to the Romans, Paul asks a series of questions every Christian should consider: If we are commissioned by our Lord to spread the gospel to every creature so that every person has the opportunity to “call upon the Lord” for salvation (Romans 10:13 – and we are, Mark 16:15), what kind of people should WE be (2 Peter 3:11)? “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14-15a, NKJ). Like the proselytes who asked of Philip, “Sir, we would see Jesus” (John 12:21), our neighbors next door, the cashier at a grocery store, my child’s teacher, the waiter who serves my meal, and the stranger on the street all deserve to “see” Jesus in each of us. Just as He said in Matthew 25:34-40 that He counts a kindness done for another as being offered to Him, so we also need to understand that His presence in our lives should be visible in every word and action! That way, others will see Him in us, and in Him, their hope of eternal glory!