I think i May have driven past Jesus on the side of the road.
I saw a sight the other day on my way to work that was so unusual that it almost seems like it was a dream. As I came over a rise I saw a car pulled over on the other side of the road. It was early morning and very dark but the horizon had just started to lighten up. The car appeared to be running, the headlights were on but as I continued on my way and came alongside I saw flames licking out of the front drivers side wheel well. The car was on fire. There was a person standing by the back of the car who watched me as I drove past. I didn’t stop. I don’t carry a fire extinguisher or any first aid gear so i didn’t think i could help. My plan was to reach my destination and call 911. I wasn’t to my destination yet when I saw a fire engine with its lights flashing, whiz past me in the direction of the burning car.
This morning my bible reading took me to Matthew 25. It starts out with the parable of the brides maids, then tells the parable of the talents and ends with the story of the final judgement where The King will separate the sheep and the goats.
He uses their behavior to separate them, the sheep from the goats. He doesn’t mention church attendance or a giving record. What behavior does he use to discern whether a person has behaved like a sheep or a goat?
““Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
Matthew 25:34-40 NLT
These verses do not specifically mention seeing a burning vehicle on the side of the road. If I take it literally I may excuse myself. But what if I listen to the heart of what Jesus is saying. He says the sheep were the ones who saw someone in need, someone who was among “the least of these” and then did something to help.
Last week I read James 4. I read the entire chapter, all 17 verses. Only one stood out, verse 17.
“Remember, it is a Sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”
So I drove by a person who was stranded at the side of the road with his car on fire. That is bad and it is also not good. According to my interpretation of Matthew 25, and in the heavenly perspective, that person was Jesus. Whoever the person was, I still don’t know their name but I do know that they were in need and among the “least of these”. Forgive me Jesus for missing an opportunity to help. You saw my need and left heaven and came and lived in time and space and dust and dirt and pain and suffering and then you died to pay for my sin. Because of what you have done, I know what it is to be in need and to be helped. Help me and I will stop and do what I can next time I see a need because of all that you have done for me. Not just on the road to work but on the road of life.
I want to live like a sheep.
So help me please God.