The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. (John 1:14 The Message)
I love how The Message translates this verse and to be honest it has often made me feel so self righteous too. I live here, we have a Christian community in the neighborhood, therefore Jesus is here.
At least that is how I tended to look at this verse until the last couple of years. Then Tom and I started walking the neighborhood more. We introduced ourselves to neighbors some of whom have lived around us for years. We invited them to our open houses. We listened to their stories and heard about the wonderful things they are doing.
Jesus was already resident in our neighborhood long before we moved in, we just did not have eyes to see him.
How often is that the case I wonder? Jesus is all around us but we don’t see his glory “with our own eyes” because we are not looking for him.
Who are the Jesus bearers in your neighborhood?
Visualize your neighborhood. Make a list of the names of the people whose houses abut the property in which you live. If you live in an apartment block make a list of all the other tenants. Next to each name write down the Jesus like attributes of each person – love, caring, generosity, kindness. It is amazing what starts to come to mind. How did you come to know them as Jesus bearers?
If you come to a name where you cannot think of any Christ like attributes take some time to pray for that person and to consider ways you could get to know them and their Christ like characteristics more deeply. How could you come to know them as Jesus bearers?
Now consider your own household. In what ways have you been Jesus bearers to the neighbourhood? What else could you do to make the presence of Jesus shine more brightly so that others can see him clearly?