Sunday, October 6th, 2013
Who Do People Say That I Am? (Part 4)
Elijah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, 'Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?'
So they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.'
Matthew 16:13-14 (NKJV)
When I travel from place to place, some people say I look like Diane Keaton (an actress). Others say I look like a certain friend or family member. But the words I long to hear are these: 'I see Christ in you.'
Here's the thing: Christ-followers should receive surprised reactions from their appearances--because we're supposed to look like God. To see God in a classroom, boardroom, waiting room or the check-out line in Wal-mart would be highly unusual. But it shouldn't be. We're in all those places every day.
But is He visible within us? Or is He locked away in a corner of our hearts and only released on Sundays? Can God be bound or cornered? I don't think so. But He can be unheard and unseen in the rush of our lives. Because the broad path is noisy.
In following the crowd, we begin to look like the crowd--and not like Jesus. I'm guilty of this behavior. I ask God and you to forgive me. Especially because I talk about Jesus on a stage. Therefore, my conduct off-stage is extra important. That same standard must fly for God's performers.
Because leaders bear a greater responsibility. Actors, models and talent for Christ are leaders.
The people who saw Jesus on Earth witnessed something new. They tried to relate Him to others they had studied, like the prophets: 'Elijah struggled to purify the belief in the one God and against the religious hypocrisy and worship of Baal that had spread among the Israelites under the influence of Jezebel, Ahab's Phoenician wife' (Encyclopedia of Judaism).
And Jeremiah? 'His basic teaching was not to glory in wisdom, might, and wealth but only in the service of God Who is just (see Jeremiah 9:23-24). He also foretells a new covenant with God, which will be written in the hearts of the Israelites (see 31:31-34)' (Encyclopedia of Judaism).
So, if we are religious hypocrites, or if we seek the idols of money, possessions or celebrity, then we don't look like Elijah, Jeremiah or Jesus. We look like the world. The way I see it, that appearance is prevalent among Christians.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Who Do People Say That I Am? series.