Would We Really Recognize Jesus If He Returned Today?
What if tomorrow was the Second Coming: would we recognize Jesus for who He is? The answer is a lot easier than it might seem.
It’s a question I’m sure nearly every Christian has pondered at some point: Would we recognize Jesus if He showed up tomorrow?
It’s a reasonable question for Christians to ask in one respect, because we’ve all heard stories about people like Jeremiah Steepek, the new pastor who showed up at his church to preach for the first time dressed as a homeless person to see how his congregation would react. As predicted, the story goes, the congregation avoided this presumed homeless person, and wound up shamed when he finally identified himself and his ruse, and shamed the entire room by bringing up Jesus’s talk about helping “the least of these.”
Yes, it’s very likely that Steepek story that made the rounds on social media last summer is a fabrication, but it resonated because there’s this little fear, I think, in the back of most Christians’ minds: what if, instead of our next pastor, it was Jesus who decided to stir things up by appearing unannounced to see how we’d react.
God is always watching, we are told, so what’s to stop Him from coming here in person to watch up close?
Someone actually asked the Rev. Billy Graham how we’d know. His answer ought to make us worry less about part of the question. A portion of it, published here, reads:
When Christ comes again — as He repeatedly promised to do — He will come through the heavens with glory and power, accompanied by a host of angels. All the earth will see His coming, and even His enemies will realize they have been opposing the Son of God. The Bible says, “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him …. So shall it be!” (Revelation 1:7).
So, yes. We’ll know.
We’ll recognize him as Him.
But isn’t there more to it than this? Does it have to be the Second Coming for us to worry about where we may encounter God? Isn’t it just possible that we could encounter a spark of God in anyone we meet at any time and at any place?
If we take comfort in the interpretation that assures us we’ll know when the big return happens, perhaps we should funnel a little of that freed-up worry toward thinking about how we’d treat others if they were Christ in disguise.
Wonder how differently we’d treat each other if we took even one day acting that way.