Sometimes I like to imagine myself leaning over the railing of an upper level balcony in a crowded open air market in Nazareth, Galilee, or Capernaum, in the early 30s, A.D., watching Jesus as He passes.
The afternoon is bright, hot; the air, punctuated with laughter and the shrieks of children careening underfoot, women calling, and men conducting business. Animals bray, carts creak under heavy loads of food, clothing, household goods.
I focus on Jesus and the disciples as they slowly wind through, stopping here and there to inspect bread or fruit, talk to the locals.
Soon, a few people, then more, realize this is the man who turned water into wine, healed a leper, raised a dead girl; the man who spoke with such authority and gazed on them with such compassion. They press closer.
Jesus lays hands on some; leans closer to a few as if in an effort to hear them better; prays, arms raised, over others. From time to time He gives directions to His disciples.
Any minute now I expect Him to turn and look up at me. I feel He knows I am here, watching, anticipating…
I didn’t always look forward to meeting my Savior face to face, however.
From childhood religion I regarded God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as Judge, Jury, and Executioner sitting on the edge of their thrones, pens poised over ledgers filled with my sins, ever ready to record the next one and at length to close the book on me forever.
After I became a Christian in my early twenties, it took some years of immersion in God’s Word, learning of the grace detailed there, to gradually understand that through the sacrifice on the cross, Jesus closed the book on my sins, not me, forever. His blood covers those pages; His payment on Calvary fulfilled my debt. Slowly, I learned the difference between religion and relationship, law and grace. I’m still taking notes.
Now I can anticipate that day, my last, here, when Jesus finally turns in my direction, extends His hand, and gazes on me with compassion.
Because of His sacrifice, I can anticipate that day—and this one.
How about you?
Image from public domain