I start with a simple question: Would you recognize the risen Jesus if He were to return? Have you ever wondered why the Jewish nation never recognized Jesus for who He was? The learned teachers of the synagogues failed to see Him as the Messiah, the local Jewish population viewed Him as “that carpenter’s son” and generally, He did not meet their expectations of whom the Messiah was going to be. For all of His preaching and curing, He was proclaimed a great teacher, perhaps a prophet but when the time came to stand with Him, the Jewish population, led by the Pharisees and the Jewish authorities, allowed Him to be hung on a tree. The Jewish scholars were supposed to know the Messiah, for whom they were searching 5000 years, when He arrived. They studied the law so they would know when the Messiah came. They were looked upon for leadership, but when their power was threatened, they protected their status, protected their authority and protected their personal pride against this upstart rebel by colluding with the Roman governor to have Jesus killed on charges that were at best manufactured and in all likelihood just false. Look around, what do we see in our religious leaders today? Would they, or could they recognize our Savior if He returned today? How do they expect the Lord to return, as He promised He would? Must it be in His glorious nature? What if He came in ways they did not expect? How many times have we seen the homeless woman at the end of the driveway? Does she meet our criteria for the glorious return of Jesus? Could Jesus have been in the form of Mother Theresa and we just didn’t get it? Are we any more prepared for the second coming of Christ than the Jewish leaders were for his first arrival? Consider the following: If the Lord came again, in glory true, I’d know the joy of holy Love. I’d see the world’s beauty to behold And bless God’s goodness from above. If I met the Lord along the road In a homeless person would I recognize truth? Would I see the love shine through, Or would I demand to see the proof? And if the Lord came, with long, straight hair, Or earring or jacket, not so neat. Would I overcome my fear of change Or discard the treasure I might meet? What if the Lord had female form? Could I follow without fear? Or would my culture hold me back And would I stand and shout and jeer? And if the Lord came into church, And asked that I, my comfort give, Would I take the Sanhedrin stand? Or turn my back, or not believe? Could I accept a different Lord? One whom my expectations defy. Or would I turn my back on Him And let the world force Him to die? I ask these questions of myself And wonder what it is I’d do If asked to change what I expect Could I answer?.....Could you? As we approach this holy time where Christ’s divinity was shown through his passion, death and resurrection, I ask you to consider if our current church leaders would recognize Jesus or would their fear, pride, power, histories or expectations prevent them from seeing, accepting or understanding? Would I recognize Jesus or would my pride or principles keep me from accepting someone that does not meet my expectations? As Easter nears, would you?
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