In case you have missed our I Met Jesus series, here are just a few of the people we have met along the way:
- A boy and his bread
- Mary, Mother of Jesus
- John the Baptist
- Mary and Martha
- The blind man
- The Samaritan woman at the well
- Mary and her extravagant gift
- Mary Magdalene
- The disciple and author John
If they were all smart like Nicodemus, we would be discouraged. If they were all sitting at Jesus’ feet, devoted like Mary, we would be discouraged. If all we knew was Thomas’ confession, we’d be discouraged. If all we saw was Mary Magdalene devoted at the tomb, we’d be discouraged.
But we look into their lives and we find that Nicodemus was smart, but looked for answers. Mary was devoted, but didn’t get along with her sister. Thomas made his confession, but boasted once of his unbelief. Mary Magdalene was devoted, but once was filled with demons. If we only knew them at their best, we would be discouraged. These people are so perfect, there’s no hope for me.
But behind the saints we find sinners. Sinners who committed sins of the worst kind. Sexual sins. Prideful sins. Jealous sins. Betraying Jesus sins. You name it, this list of people did it. Yet by the end of the gospel, what has happened? Sinners have been forgiven. Sinners have been redeemed. Sinners have been changed.
How has this happened? They have believed in Jesus as Christ and Son of God and the fruit of that believing is a life altogether different from who they were before. Peter is restored. Nicodemus is unashamed. The Samaritan adulterer is a missionary. And John, who wanted to call down fire from heaven and destroy a village of people, writes more about love than anyone else. How do we explain this?
They met a Jesus they saw in person, but the faith they had in him is not any different from the faith we have in him without seeing him. The change in them is the same change God works in us today for all who believe, and by believing, are transformed to a new life in his name.
So the question is, They met Jesus, have you? I wish I could introduce Jesus to you in person, but that is unlikely. Still, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) Might Jesus be referring to you? You haven’t met Jesus, but you see signs of his resurrection in the gospel of John and all over in our church. Will you believe?
To those who do believe, let’s not miss the opportunity to marvel at this list (see above) one more time. Why does God choose to use such ordinary people like we have here? So flawed. So inconsistent. So much baggage. Why these of all people?
Who is glorified when an adulterer becomes a missionary? Who is glorified when Jesus forgives a man like Peter who betrayed him in his darkest hour? Who gets the glory? Peter? Who is glorified when an angry man becomes the Apostle of love? John? God is glorified when he uses human weakness and frailty to display his eternal power. I look around this room and see Samaritan women, Peters, Johns, and Thomases whose lives have been changed by meeting Jesus. Why people like us? So that God may be glorified by saving sinners.
We have met Jesus and we are so glad we did.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
© 2012 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.