Where is Jesus?
I heard a joke about a Mom who was so proud of her seven year-old son. He would sit on the floor in the playroom every Sunday afternoon and repeat to his four year-old brother what he learned in Sunday School. After a while, the younger brother began to repeat the lessons to his stuffed animals! On their way home from school one day, Mom dropped by the Pastor's office with her boys to show them off. "Ask them a question about the Lord," the woman prompted. The Pastor folded his arms across his chest and bent over toward the eldest boy. "Where is Jesus, Johnny?" The boy didn't say a word. He had never been in the Pastor's office before, and the big man with the big voice was a bit intimidating. "Johnny, where's Jesus?" he repeated. The two boys looked worried now as they clung to each other. Frustrated that her boys were making her look the fool, the mother put her hands on her hips and stomped, "Johnny, tell Pastor where Jesus is!" Instantly, Johnny grabbed his brother by the arm, flew out the office door and down the sidewalk two blocks to his house. He raced up the stairs to his bedroom, threw open the closet door and huddled with his brother behind the coats in the dark. The younger brother whispered in confusion, "Why are we hiding, Johnny?" "Quiet, Billy. Somebody has stolen Jesus and they're blaming US!"
So, where IS Jesus? Most people say He is in heaven. Many people say He is in their heart. One day He will come in His glory to judge the people of every nation. Jesus Himself describes this separation of people into two groups. In light of other Scripture, we know that Jesus is not describing a salvation based on good works. But what Jesus reveals in today's passage is an essential characteristic of those who are saved. The righteous have compassion upon and are moved to action on behalf of the needy. People in right relationship with God are also in caring relationship with people. They feed the hungry. They clothe the naked. They show hospitality to strangers. They visit the sick and imprisoned. Mercy and service are signs of a saved soul.
Christ gives us a glimpse of His glorious return, and answers for us the question, "Where is Jesus?" Jesus is behind the empty bowl. Jesus is in the stranger's shoes. Jesus is in the sick bed and in the jail cell. He is the orphan, the widow, the marginalized and disenfranchised. And the sign of the righteous is that they care and are moved to action for them.
Funny tough, Jesus teaches that neither the righteous nor the unrighteous recognized Him in the poor and lonely. They simply demonstrated the true nature of their hearts when confronted with "the least." What does your response to the weak, the hurting, the needy say about YOUR heart? From today's text, we know where Jesus is...
Where are you?
Pray: Lord of all compassion, stir up Your mercy in me. Help me to see You in the eyes of the broken. Compel me with Your Spirit of goodness and love to meet the needs of my fellow man. I know I can't help everyone; but I can help someone. Make me an instrument of Your grace.