Friday, June 19, 2015

Just BE with Jesus: "I am Jesus"

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone. (Isaiah 9:2)

Read Acts 9:1-22

I've been reading the "I am" statements in the gospel of John, and as I came to the last one, I thought of a time Jesus said "I am" in the book of Acts. He spoke to Saul on the road to Damascus--Saul the terrible persecutor of Christians--and said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."

Jesus reached out to Saul and revealed his greatness to him (that bright light from heaven) and identified himself with the Christians. Jesus didn't say, "You are persecuting my followers." He said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."

What an encouraging statement to any who are treated harshly because of their Christian faith. Jesus suffers with you. He feels your pain and heartache.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows...(Isaiah 53:4)
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
 and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
In all their affliction he was afflicted,
and the angel of his presence saved them;
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. (Isaiah 63:9)

Jesus' words to Saul are also encouraging to any who are feeling far away from Jesus. You couldn't get much further away than Saul was at that moment! Yet Jesus was there with him, speaking to him and calling his name.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off 
have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)
...Believe in the Lord Jesus,
and you will be saved...(Acts 16:31)

Thank you
Lord Jesus
that you are near
you see every detail of my life
and you care.

I am revisiting the themes of several of my books as I seek to “just be with Jesus." I am putting aside lengthy readings for a season, and instead looking for one word or phrase to carry through the day. Today’s word, for me, is “near."

photo credit: sky via photopin (license)

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