Early in Mark’s Gospel Jesus encounters a man with an evil spirit in the synagogue at Capernaum. The evil spirit cries out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:24)
How ironic! Demons recognized Jesus for who he is, but the religious leaders of his day, the Pharisees and the scribes, steeped in the study of scripture and the writings of the prophets, did not.
We have a similar situation in our day as fewer and fewer people recognize Jesus for who he is – the Son of God, the creator of all that exists who became one of us in human form. Many do not accept that he is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Light from Light, true God from true God, son of David, Savior, Messiah, and Christ the Lord, among the many titles attempting to capture who he is.
Mother Theresa was noted for saying that she saw the face of Jesus in the poorest of the poor that she brought into her homes for the dying in Calcutta.
Jesus used the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats to identify himself with the thirsty, the hungry, and those in need of clothing, shelter, medical care and who were imprisoned. When people asked, “When did we see you in need” of these things, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did to the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
Thus, in Mother Theresa, we have the manifestation of Jesus both in her actions to serve the poorest of the poor, and in the faces of the poor she served.
While the number of Christians in our society may be declining, the examples of Jesus’ love and service have been evident in the last couple of months with the hurricanes, wildfires, and the horrific Las Vegas shootings. Here are a couple examples from Las Vegas as reported by Melia Robinson in TODAY.
Tom McIntosh said he wouldn’t have made it out of the festival alive if it weren’t for a stranger who stopped to care for him. He lay bleeding from his leg in the back of a pick-up truck when James Lawson, who was fleeing the shooter, noticed that a tourniquet around McIntosh’s leg was tied incorrectly. “It was in the completely wrong spot,” said Lawson, who serves in the U. S. Army Reserve. “I adjusted the belt, got it up where it should be, and tightened it down.” Lawson stayed with McIntosh, consoling him, until a different truck ferried them both to the hospital.
After the gunman opened fire, some in the crowd were too frightened to move. Johnathan Smith began shouting, “Active shooter, active shooter, let’s go!” He told all nine members of his extended family, as well as nearby strangers, to join hands and run. They moved as a human chain to a handicapped parking area and hid behind several rows of cars. Then he spotted a few girls who weren’t fully protected. He stood up to warn them to get down and a bullet struck him in the neck. Fortunately he has survived his wounds.
As God created us in his image and likeness, and later became one of us in the person of Jesus, it has always been his desire to reproduce himself in us through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. By his grace, his presence is often revealed in times of acute need.