Jesus on a billboard - Hays, KS

Who is Jesus?

The Christian community thinks they have a pretty good idea of who Jesus is. We must. We put up posters of Him all over churches. We post images of Him all over Facebook. We even paint billboards of Him by the side of the road so weary travelers will see and experience a life transformation by the compassion in His eyes.

I don’t intend to offend anyone. I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. And, sure, creepy billboards of a long-haired guy crawling around in a wheat field might appeal to someone. But how does that tell me who Jesus is?

Jesus on a billboard - Colby, KS

Jesus on a billboard – Colby, KS

Today’s verse is John 14:6.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

When I think about who Jesus is, this is usually the first verse that always comes to mind. This or John 11:25 where Christ is speaking to Martha at Lazarus’ grave, telling her that He is the resurrection and the life.

But have you ever tried to introduce someone so amazing you can’t express it in words? How do you introduce someone who Is?

It’s not something we can understand. The concept of being forever. I mean, we talk about eternal life and living for eternity, and that’s something we try to wrap our heads around. But what about the concept of always existing? Because God has always been. He is. He was. He will be. Jesus is the same.

When God introduced Himself to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:14-15), Moses asked Him for His name. And this is what God told him:

God replied to Moses, “I Am Who I Am. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations.

God is. Jesus is.

Neither of them used to be. They are. And even though they will be tomorrow, they still are today. The same as they were yesterday. The same God who spoke to Moses from a bush that was on fire but didn’t burn is the same God who put on flesh and came to earth and sacrificed Himself for us. That same God is the God who lives in those who believe in Him today.

I was talking with a friend earlier this week about the kind of life that Jesus lived when He walked Earth. It’s overwhelming to think about. Because Jesus is God. He was God then. He’s God now. So even as a Man walking around on Earth, He was God. He knew everything God knows. And that means, He knew every sin everyone around Him had ever committed and ever would commit. And He loved them anyway.

He knew why He was there. He was there to die for us. That was His entire purpose of coming to Earth. He came to seek and save those who are lost (Luke 19:10). And if it had been me, I don’t think I could have been gracious. I think I would have rubbed it in. I would have wanted to let people know — to make sure they understood the sacrifice I was going to have to make for them. But He didn’t do that. He loved people. He gave to people. He helped people. And He hung out with people who were broken, the dregs of society. The only people He showed no compassion to were the religious crowd who thought they were good enough on their own. Christ didn’t even waste His time with them.

So what does that mean for us?

To me, it means I need to take Him seriously. And it irritates me that the Christian culture is trying to represent Him in ways that are irrelevant. I guess I can appreciate a billboard with a Jesus-like figure painted on it. I guess I can recognize the need for black billboards with white letters claiming to be statements from God. I guess I can accept signs by the road that ask you if you’re ready to meet God when you die. Whatever. But those things wouldn’t mean anything to me if I didn’t already know Him.

I met Jesus when I was seven years old, and like any friendship, it’s grown over the years as I’ve learned who He is. But I can guarantee I didn’t come to know Him because I saw a billboard about Him. I came to know Him because people in my life introduced me to Him.

So, Christians, I think it’s time we stopped investing in creepy roadside billboards and got out into the community to meet people face to face. God is a face-to-face kind of person. He works through individuals. He always has, whether it was appearing to Abraham or Moses or Joshua or Gideon in the Old Testament or talking to the Samaritan Woman or to Zacchaeus or to Nicodemus.

And if you’re ever driving through Colby, KS, you need to seriously stop and look at this billboard. Because it is the creepiest thing you’ll ever see in your life. Just FYI.

We only search for things we can’t replace

This might come as a surprise for folks, but I’m a disorganized sort of person. No matter how I try to organize things, they all end up falling to pieces. I don’t really understand it. Because in my head, I have a plan. My mind is orderly . . . it just doesn’t look like it. Maybe that’s the key. I’m actually organized, but my organization method looks like chaos to someone who can’t read it.

Ha. That reminds me of my first supervisor at the WSU Library, when I was a student worker. She asked me in my interview why we file things correctly, and my response was so that other people can find them again. Understanding that concept I think is what got me the job. But that concept is a lot easier to apply to a job than it is to your entire life.

Due to my disorganization, unfortunately, I lose a lot of things. I misplace papers, flash drives, hair elastics, shoes, keys. You name it, I’ve probably lost it at one point or another.

In the case of hair elastics, when I lose one, I just go get another one off the roll. Since I don’t really care if they coordinate with whatever color I’m wearing, it doesn’t matter which one I use. They’re all the same. So that usually isn’t a problem. However, it becomes a problem when you run out of hair elastics on the roll. But by that point, you have them scattered all over the house, so it’s easy to find one again.

In the case of flash drives . . . . Yeah, that’s a big one. To give you an idea of how much I use my flash drive, I just had to switch my main flash drive out for one with more room becuase it was full. My main flash drive had a 1GB and I upgraded it to a 2GB. That wouldn’t be a big deal if I carried images and photos and other media sorts of things on it. And I do. There are a few of those files scattered around on it. But the vast majority of the files on my flash drive are Word Documents. Stories. Shorts. Skits. Plays. Almost 1GB of writing. That flash drive is my entire freakin’ writing life — 17 years of it.

Yes, I have it backed up. In more than one place. I learned that the hard way one day when I couldn’t find my flash drive anywhere.

I’m telling you, that was gut wrenching. That was about two years ago. So 15 years worth of writing had just disappeared. I didn’t know where it was. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I tore my room apart. I tore my house apart. You would have thought that flash drive was worth a million dollars or something (well, maybe someday it will be if I can ever get into print! Lol!). But I eventually did find it. It had fallen out of my bag at work. Since then, I’ve dropped it in parking lots and always miraculously recovered it. I’ve left it in restaurants. I’ve lost it in my car (but that’s par for the course since I get lost in my car).

I know I’m random, but I thought about all that when I read today’s verse, Luke 19:10.

10 For the Son of Man[a] came to seek and save those who are lost.”

The Son of Man is a title Jesus used to refer to Himself. Basically, Jesus is declaring His purpose. Jesus came to Earth to seek and to save. He came to Earth looking for people who were lost. I think that should tell us something, both about ourselves and about Jesus.

We are precious to Jesus. If we weren’t, He’d just find a replacement for us. But we matter to Him. So He spent time and effort to come down here looking for us.

Beyond dying for us, He cared enough about us to search for us. There are also stories in the Book of Luke about a shepherd who loses a sheep and a woman who loses a coin. Both of them search tirelessly for what they’ve lost until it is restored to them.

That’s what Jesus did. That’s what He does. We’re pitiful, silly little people wandering around down here with no real purpose, only interested in living for ourselves. And Jesus comes down here looking for us, and when He finds us He tells us taht there’s so much more to live than us, so much more than what we can see. And He doesn’t give up until we give in and follow Him.

Now I keep a backup of my flash drive, but the flash drive still always holds my most currently updated information. And if I lose it before I get the chance to back it up, you’d better believe that I’m going to spend as much time as I need looking for it. Because it’s precious to me. It’s not like a hair elastic that I can just replace. My flash drive is one of a kind because it contains all the files I’ve created.

We are unique to God, and when we are lost, He won’t hesitate to spend as much time as He needs to come find us. And that’s comforting to me on so many levels, because as much as I am a disorganized person, my sense of direction sucks too. Both figuratively and literally.

The hard part is following Him when He shows up. But He’s the one who came looking for me. He’s the one with the map. And He’s the one who knows the road. Refusing to follow Him probably isn’t a good idea.