Seeing Jesus; January 27, 2019

Matthew 23:39 “For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

At first glance you might think Jesus was referring to Palm Sunday, but this is recorded has having taken place after that, which is described in Matthew 21. I personally feel that no one is going to see Jesus until they welcome Him as the Messiah. Jesus is present today by His Spirit, but only those who have the humility to repent of their sins can recognize that on a personal level. Of course, even then we don’t see Him with our physical eyes, but countless people have been strongly aware of His presence at various times. In this verse Jesus is quoting Psalm 118:26, which has other Messianic references as well. Both Jesus and Peter quoted Psalm 118:22-23 as referring to Him. (Matthew 21:42, 1 Peter 2:7) It is only when we recognize that He is God’s provision for our salvation that we can see Him for who He is. The whole matter of salvation is both simple and complicated. It is simple because the transaction involved is very straightforward: repent and believe. (Mark 1:15) It is complicated because both our repentance and our faith tend to be very deficient. We confuse repentance with simple regret. The Japanese expression for repentance is very helpful here: “regret and start over.” If we don’t make the clear choice to start over, we haven’t really repented, but of course we aren’t going to make that choice in truth until we regret how we have been or what we have done in the past. For too many people “repentance” is simply regret that they got caught, or that they have to face the consequences of their actions. Our faith likewise is often deficient, more like believing in Santa than in a Creator who is both totally holy and love itself. Our faith is never perfect on this earth, but it should continue to grow as we exercise it. It is by faith that we can indeed see Jesus, and rejoice in Him indeed.

I have never been granted a vision of Jesus, as some have, but I have had moments of being more sure that He was real than that I was. With that assurance, my task becomes helping others acknowledge Him as Messiah as well. Japanese seem pretty willing to accept Him as a historical figure, as I think the majority of cultures world-wide do, but there’s a great difference between that and submitting to Him as your Lord, and that is the definition of salvation. (Romans 10:9-10) The biggest problem for Japanese seems to be in grasping His connection with them. Not only did He walk the earth 2000 years ago, He wasn’t ethnically Japanese, and they have an extreme sense of racial identity. Only genuine Christians are really comfortable with Paul’s statement that “Our citizenship is in heaven.” (Philippians 3:20) I am not to be discouraged, but keep acting as “Jesus with skin on” for those who see me, speaking the truth in love so that the Holy Spirit will have maximum opportunity to get through the lies of the enemy with His truth that will set people free.

Father, thank You for Your salvation. Thank You for my being aware of Jesus by faith. Thank You for the Holy Spirit to live in me. May I be totally yielded to You, so that others may indeed see Jesus in me and be drawn to repentance and faith for their salvation. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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