What would you do if Jesus Himself appears to you? What if someone knocks on your door and when you open it it's Him? What would you do? What would you say? Would you laugh and close the door, thinking, how can this man says He's Jesus? Would you tell Him to go away because your house isn't clean? Would you not be able to make eye contact out of shame? Or would you just simply invite Him in?
I often think about how I and the world around me would react if Jesus physically appeared among us today. When He did walk among us many didn't believe He was the Son of God. Out of the thousands that followed Him, there were millions more that didn't. Out of the thousands that followed Him, only a handful stayed at His side when He died. Out of the many that witnessed Jesus' miracles only a few believed and even fewer understood His teachings. If people were so unbelieving, unwelcoming then, what about now? Will humanity be able to recognize Jesus from the masses the way John the Baptist did that day on the Jordan? Will we be able to recognize His face? How will He come? What will He wear? What will He say? Will I be ready?
Being ready is what is scary to me. Am I ready to go with Him? If Jesus approaches me and says "Follow Me", am I willing to leave everything and go? I have my husband and children that I would have to leave. I'd have to leave my mother, my friends. All the comforts of my home, I'd have to leave those too. With just the clothes on my back and the love I have in my heart, can I just get up and go?
I'm not a perfect person, and most definitely not a perfect Christian. I look back at my life and all the things I could've done better, said better. The past can never be changed and I carry it around as a book bag sometimes. It's hard for me to let go. I've held on to old memories of good times, bad times, people I've known, people that hurt me (I somehow tend to carry more of those inside) and events that changed me. I, unfortunately don't carry lite. I've got baggage to fill a few shopping carts and it weighs me down, but at the same time it's hard to leave it all behind. Perhaps I feel it defines who I've become. All my experiences have made me who I am today.
They also don't allow me to forgive and forget very well.
Ah, and my back is killing me!
You know, our baggage contains our past hurts too and when we carry them around we never let them heal. We pick at them for the world to see we've been hurt.
"Look at me. Look at what happened to me. Feel sorry for me because I am still bleeding from a wound that happened six years ago."
I once read a story about two Buddhist monks who were on their way back to the Temple. They reached a river and saw a young girl with a load at the edge. She was contemplating crossing the river when the younger of the two monks offered his help. She agreed and he lifted her and her bag up and begin to walk across the river. This made the older monk very upset. It wasn't customary for a monk to touch a woman let alone carry her, but he remained quiet. After the three travelers reached the other side of the river, the younger monk placed the lady on dry land. She thanked him and went this way and the monks went that way. Hours later, when the monks arrived at the temple the older monk turns to the younger monk and says, "You are in big trouble. You were not supposed to touch that lady let alone carry her. The Master will hear of this." The younger one responds, "Brother, I carried that woman across the river and placed her on dry land so that she may go her way and we go ours. I let her off my back hours ago. Why are you still carrying her on yours?"
Why are we still carrying around things that happened or didn't happen? People that hurt us? Didn't Jesus tell us to leave our burdens with Him?
28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS .30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Amazing how Jesus tells us to do something now and we STILL don't listen. He's is offering to take away our bags. He's saying to give them to Him because He doesn't mind taking them from us. He wants to remove them from our backs. He wants what's easy for us, what's good. When he knocks on our door and our house is filthy, do you think Jesus will look on us with disgust? Do you honestly think Jesus didn't know that your house would be a mess and that you would be ashamed to open the door to Him? Do we really think Jesus doesn't know who we are and what we carry within us? Remember the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:16-18)? He knows us, better than we know ourselves. He knows our mess.
That's why He's knocking.
If Jesus knocked on my door today I would hope to recognize who He is. My house is a mess and I probably won't even have a cup of soda to offer Him, (I wonder if Jesus likes Pepsi) but I'll let Him in nonetheless. He'll probably immediately start to help me clean my mess. He won't snap His fingers and Viola! No, I think He'll help me pick up the pieces little by little, piece by piece and we'll talk. He'll let me vent and rant. He'll give me advice with His infinite wisdom. He'll stop to hug me when I begin to cry. He'll tell me that everything will be alright because now He's here. He'll let me go and we'll continue cleaning up. He'll say a few jokes and tell me a few parables, teach me a thing or two and before I know it, my house is clean. I'll say "Thank you Jesus!" and He'll smile and extend His hand. I'll take it and as we close the door behind us, we'll walk off into the sun.
The scene ends there because we'll never know where God will take us, but we do know it will be a good place filled with light. We won't need to carry anything and best of all, it will be with Jesus, hand in hand.
How many of us are willing to let go of the past, clean up our mess so that we can walk with Jesus to the future? He's knocking on your door as you read this. Will you let Him in?