Would You Recognize Jesus?

Quite a number of years ago, I read a science fiction anthology which had as its premise this: that Jesus returned to Earth in some way that was incontrovertible.

You would be surprised how many of the ensuing stories still ended up with a disbelieving public, unable to accept this as true.

The reading today from 2 Kings 5:1-15 is instructive of this problem. And the problem is this: we have our own ideas of what Jesus will look like, and how he will act. Should he not be at all like that, how many of us will turn away in disbelief?

Naaman is a powerful commander, under his King. He is also afflicted with leprosy. A captured Israelite girl tells Naaman’s wife that a powerful prophet in her country could cure Naaman. Naaman’s king sends a letter to the Israelite king asking for such a cure. The King of Israel, is apparently unaware of any such prophet, and is deeply upset that such a thing was thought about him. Jesus remarks on this very fact in Luke 4:24-30 saying that “no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.”

The true prophet, Elisha hears of the story, and sends word that Naaman be sent to him. When Naaman appears Elisha’s servant appears and tells Naaman to wash seven times in the Jordan. Naaman is irate, for the waters from Damascus are just as good, he claims.

Then Naaman’s servants point out to him, “if the prophet asked you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? Well then, why not an easy thing?” Naaman sees some sense in this, goes down to the Jordan, washes as instructed, and his leprosy disappears.

We are all guilty of being Naaman a good deal of the time. We expect, we want grand showings by God that he has heard us, that he is answering us. We demand signs!

I suspect we get them all the time, but we miss them.

We are looking for grand affairs, fireworks, the sun to stop dead in its tracks. What we get are the stray remark from a grocery store clerk, the offhand comment by the mail carrier. It is our answer, the perfect answer, yet we often miss it completely.

It’s like all those jokes about a man drowning and calling to be saved. God sends boats, and life jackets, all manner of things, but the man drowns, awaiting God’s literal hand to lift him.

Spend time each day during Lent asking yourself how God has spoken in the most everyday affairs of your life. I bet you will be surprised at how much guidance you are being offered.

Amen.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

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