By Tom Wiles | For The Times-Post
He came into the world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. — John 1:1-28
As my son stood in front of the airport security officer, his heart was beating out of his chest.
His nearly 10-year-old non-American passport had raised enough concern to pull him into the security office where he now stood.
Unable to definitively confirm the child in the passport and the young man that stood before him were the same person, he called in the director of security.
Thankfully, he recognized the picture and the person as one and the same and let him through.
I have to believe that John was shaking his head as he penned the words in today’s Bible verses.
How can those who were created by Jesus not recognize their creator when he showed up? Most didn’t. Most don’t today either.
However, John also tells us that some did. Some believed. Some accepted him. To those who do, John tells us, they are given the right to be a child of God.
They are reborn inheritors of one gracious blessing after another.
Again and again, the Biblical writers emphasize the identity of Jesus and the implications of it for our relationship with him.
As Creator, we wonder in reverence. As Savior, we bow in gratitude.
As Victor, we shout in praise.
As King, we obey.
As Way, we follow.
As Vine, we hold fast.
As Truth, we live in freedom.
As Peace, we reject worry.
As Cornerstone, we will not be shaken.
As Judge, we are declared, “Not guilty.”
Do you recognize him?
Belief before sight
And the man believed what Jesus said and started home. — John 4:43-54…”O thank you sir!,” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad. — I Samuel 1:9-18
“That’s what the travel blog says,” I told my wife as I parked in some random shoulder just off the road.
It looked like every other section of the forest/jungle that we had just passed.
And yet, as we looked for a minute or two, we found a little path.
We walked for 3/4 of a mile, turned right and shortly thereafter found the beautiful waterfall.
Although the people in the two stories were separated by nearly 1,000 years, they were both walking the same path of faith.
Hannah was desperate and heartbroken because she had no children.
The man was desperate and panicked because his son was dying.
Both received a wonderful message.
Both believed the message before they saw any change at all.
She celebrated. He started home.
A walk with God is a walk of faith.
We can do so much life claiming we’re walking with God, but if it’s not by faith, we’re actually walking alone.
Believing before seeing is at the heart of Jesus’ invitation to follow him.
However, believing itself can be seen.
Do I do what he says before I know why?
Do I praise him for that which I do not yet have?
Am I walking in the impossible?
If we aren’t attentive, we’ll exist without truly living.
But one day when Saul was sitting at home with spear in hand, the tormenting spirit from the Lord suddenly came upon him again. As David played his harp, Saul hurled his spear at David. But David dodged out of the way, and leaving the spear stuck in the wall, he fled and escaped into the night. — I Samuel 19:1-24
With three of the four wheels in the air, it simply didn’t matter that the vehicle had four-wheel drive.
The snow pile in the parking lot bested my foolish attempt at joyriding over and through the freshly created mounds.
As I sat there perched in the air, I reflected on all that led up to the decision to launch into these piles of snow in the first place.
As it turns out, I hadn’t thought much at all before I did it. So, there I sat…stuck.
King Saul’s story is a tragedy by any reckoning.
Wow, here was a guy out of nowhere elevated to the first king of God’s people.
He launched into his reign in lockstep with the Lord only to quickly and repeatedly disobey his commands.
He became jealous of the blessing of God that was once his when he saw it in the life of David.
He tried to kill David with his spear that ended up as stuck in the wall as Saul was stuck in his foolishness.
Jesus didn’t temporarily leave heaven, become a man, live a perfect life, die on the cross for our sins, be buried and then raise again on the third day for any one of us to live life stuck.
Stuck in sin.
Stuck in fear.
Stuck in loneliness.
Stuck in bitterness.
Stuck in addiction.
Stuck in worry.
Stuck in bad habits.
Stuck in self-pity.
Stuck in judgment.
Stuck in hopelessness.
No, he came to set us free.
“This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” — Jesus
Tom Wiles is senior minister of Fall Creek Christian Church in Pendleton. He can be reached at 765-778-3166.