As Jesus begins his public life, dozens, then scores, then hundreds of people come out to see him. Most listen and walk away. They have other priorities. But John gets the message right away. He instantly recognizes Jesus as the Christ… sent by the Father to atone for sin. And so, John proclaims Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice…the Lamb of God.
John sees what others do not, because he has spent his whole life waiting for Jesus. Every day, he has been ready for Christ’s coming. His life’s purpose has been to anticipate and announce the coming of the Messiah. And now, he sees Jesus and he knows his waiting is over. Redemption is at hand.
How about us? Are we open to Christ entering our lives… to living in us… to setting our hearts on fire? Do we answer his call… do we even hear it? Are we looking for Jesus or would we pass him in the parking lot? Is Jesus the focus of our lives or do we just have too many important things to get to first?
2018 is still new. And it’s a good time for resolutions… particularly for examining and adjusting our priorities. Here’s one that should be on the very top of the list. Like John, let’s leave ourselves open to Jesus. Let’s invite him into our lives each day. Let’s look for him in the commonplace… the usual and the unusual. Let’s engage Jesus in a running conversation of prayer as our day progresses. Wake up with him. Read his word every day. Listen to him with yourheart. Ask his help. Give him thanks. Anticipate what he wants us to do. Take every opportunity to share him.
Woody Allen had it right when he famously said that 80% of success in life is just showing up. For our lives to be successful… for us to serve God’s purpose… we must show up for Jesus. We must be present for him. We must be open to him.
If yourheart isn’t there yet, coax it along. Consciously commit to living an active life in Christ. Take the first step. Over and over, ask Jesus to openyourheart. Over and over, look for him in those who love you and those who annoy you. As Paul tells us: I can do all things through God who strengthens us.
Can’t find Jesus? You’re looking in the wrong places. Openyourheart to the troubled, the outcast, the forgotten, the lonely, the sick and the poor. Openyourheart to Jesus, he’s waiting there in everyone around you. Openyour eyes. Openyour ears. Yourheart, your mind, your hands and your feet will follow.
With Jesus, every chore can become a prayer. Every encounter can be an opportunity to love and be loved. Sometimes his love will seep in. At other times, it will flood in. Living in Jesus means living in love. You’ll get it. You’ll give it. You’ll rejoice in it. And in time, Jesus will gather you home in his love.
That is far more than Woody Allen’s 80% chance at success. Living in Christ… following him to the Father… that is a 100%, guaranteed, ticket to success. And it all begins by showing up… by looking and listening for Jesus… by opening yourheart to him as he presents himself in those around us.
John opened his heart… so did Andrew… so did Peter… so did all the disciples. They all followed Jesus to glory. But it never would have happened if they did not actively look and listen… if they did not dare to open their hearts. It’s that simple… dare to openyourheart… dare to be a disciple… dare to empty yourself and make room for his love.
This prayer can help get us started: Dear Jesus, open my heart to you. I am yours. You are my Savior: The Lamb of God. Come live in me, so that I can live forever in your love. You know my frailties and my foolish pride. You know my doubts and my fears. Change my life so that it reflects your love in all I think and all I do. Make me your disciple, Jesus. Help me always to witness your love in word and deed. Then when you’re ready, lead me home, Lord, one loving step at a time. Jesus, with you, my heart is open. Take me. I am yours.