Recently, while I was driving from one meeting to the next, I was thinking about the social climate when Jesus walked the earth. Society was full of oppression, prejudice, and hatred spiritually and politically. The poor, the sick, and the outcasts weren’t cared for while a small group held all the power. These powerful people, many of whom believed they had been placed in that position by God, took advantage of the less fortunate and profited off of them. Corruption, greed, and betrayal filled the church and the government.
Does this sound at all familiar?
I think we can all agree, regardless of our personal political affiliation, that there is some shady stuff going on in the world today. Darkness is at every turn, tragedies happen constantly, and prejudice and oppression are very obvious if we dare to look.
To me, knowing that Jesus lived during a time when things were bad and just getting worse, adds emphasis to many of his words.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (ESV)
There was no mistaking that Jesus was different, especially since the “men of God” society was used to were so corrupt. Jesus gave himself, his teaching, and his time away freely without asking for anything in return. He sat with people and explained the mysteries of heaven that many thought they were excluded from. He was patient with those who were slow and loving to those who hadn’t ever experienced love. He was perfect in a world full of brokenness.
And we can represent him today.
During times of darkness, the light shines even brighter. And, the truth is, things are pretty dark right now. That’s our cue to look like Jesus in how we live.
Now, I’m not talking about shouting at people from a street corner (I’m never encouraging that), but truly being the light to those in our lives. What’s amazing about this is that we don’t have to try to shine like a 60-watt bulb on our own. We’re not responsible for generating the light, but it should be a natural outpouring of our relationship with him.
Do the people who you see every day know that you love Jesus? Not because you go to church or because you have a Christian bumper sticker on your car–do they know you love God because of how you live?
My hope is that we all begin to look just a little bit more like Jesus every day. It doesn’t have to be in big things like preaching a sermon or having the answer to every theological question under the sun. This could be as simple as choosing to play with your kids after a long day of work, building a relationship with that coworker instead of judging them, or choosing not to watch that show or listen to that music. It could mean eliminating a word from your vocabulary or a substance from your life. Or, it might mean forgiving someone after they hurt you. These aren’t big things to broadcast all over the interwebs so people will look at you, but little things that will change how you live that people will naturally notice.
No matter what your baby step is, my prayer is that the light in us would shine brighter every day so that we can point others to him.