“Is that you Jesus?”
The readings for today teach us about an important aspect of our faith that we often take for granted—recognizing the presence of Christ. How often do we feel the Lord moving in us and immediately feel surprised to find Him there? It’s as if we have invited Jesus to come live in our home and then are shocked to find Him there when we return at the end of the day. In our daily lives, it seems very common for us to forget that when Christ promised to always be living and working within us, He really meant it.
In the reading from Acts, Peter asks the crowd why they are so surprised to find real power in the name of Jesus. Furthermore, after His resurrection, Jesus appears to His disciples and similarly asks them why they are troubled to see Him. In both instances, it appears that the people believed in Jesus, but didn’t really expect Him to accomplish everything He promised. Is that true faith? Do we ever find ourselves saying, “Jesus, if it is your will, I shall be healed. But I understand if you can’t do it.” In a sense, we confess our belief in the person of Christ, but deny His omnipotent ability to fulfill His promises. If that is the case, then we are really just setting ourselves up for disappointment and committing a sin we don’t often think about—the sin of disbelief. In order to truly encounter Christ, we must be seeking Him. A huge part of faith comes from bringing our requests and concerns to Jesus expecting Him to move in our lives. Our prayers are then less of a halfhearted and guilt-driven request, and become more of an affirmation of our faith in the power of Christ. Granted, we are often surprised by the mysterious ways in which Jesus works, but what is important is that we are able to recognize His presence because we are expecting it.
When the disciples were surprised to find Jesus amongst them, He showed them His hands and feet as physical evidence. Though we are not able to experience the physical presence of Christ in our lives, we are able to experience Him through the people we encounter each day. Therefore, we should expect to encounter the true presence of Christ in each person we meet. If we ever feel doubtful and alone, we can be encouraged by knowing that we have the opportunity to meet Jesus six billion times.