I met the risen Jesus in my grandmothers house as I drew childhood pictures of Jesus with sandals and a beard, though I wasn’t really aware of him at the time. He was always with me.
I again met the risen Jesus on a yr 9 camp with my friends where we heard the story of the woman caught in adultery, and it stood out to me that he was the friend of normal imperfect people. Like me and my mates. “Do not judge and you will not be judged...” (Mat 7:1)
I met the risen Jesus in my flat mate Ian when I was 19 yr old uni student. He invited me to live with him, asked me about my faith, and introduced me to the music of Keith Green. I was ‘sitting on the fence’ and challenged by the witness of his life. We talked about the bible over a glass of port: “How I wish you were either hot or cold, but you are lukewarm...” (Rev 3:15)
I met the risen Jesus on the streets of Hollywood Boulevarde when he prompted me to buy a burger for a homeless person and talk with them rather than just walk by. I met him in a hundred faces in the soup kitchen where I ended up playing the piano. He spoke to my conscience: “Whatever you do to the least of these you do unto Me...” (Mat 25:40)
I met the risen Jesus in a small church in LA when I closed my eyes, lifted my hands for the first time and sang the song ‘Holy and Anointed One’. It was like time stood still. I will never forget it.
I met the risen Jesus when I was a young man backpacking around the windswept coast of Ireland. He leaped out at me from the pages of the New Testament, and called me to give everything to him. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock...” (Rev 3:20)
I met the risen Jesus in the Eucharist as he revealed himself to me in a humble piece of bread from a NET training altar. I also met him every day in my team-mates that year.
I met the risen Jesus when my wife walked down the aisle. I met him in the hospital delivery room when each of my kids were born. In these times it’s as if His Spirit whispered in my ear, “Here is an abundant blessing I have in store for you; shaken together and running over, poured into your lap.” (Luke 6:38)
The risen Jesus has helped me put out the bins, clean up vomit, read bedtime stories, change the sheets and say ‘I’m sorry’ for the last 20 years. He has challenged me to love, serve and listen even when I am stubborn and begrudging. He still has to do that on a pretty regular basis!
I met the risen Jesus last week in the park when I climbed a tree and remembered the one who loves me more than any of the stuff I do for him. I meet him whenever I sit on my back deck with my coffee, absorb the green of the trees around me and say ‘Come Holy Spirit’. It’s not always bells and whistles; but I’ve come to learn His presence is always there. He’s constant like that.
I continue to meet the risen Jesus at unpredictable moments, in unique people and unplanned ways. You can’t script it, you just have to be open.
How about you? Have you met the risen Jesus? Have you even considered that you may have already? His disguises are many and you need the eyes of faith. Mary Magdalene didn’t recognise the risen Jesus in the garden. Nor did the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. But if in the circumstances and people of your life the light-bulbs suddenly go on, let me encourage you to write it down. Even better, tell someone about it.
Christ IS risen from the dead! He is appearing to, talking and walking with people all around the world today. The reason I know this is because I am one of those people.
If you want to meet the risen Jesus, ask him to reveal himself to you. He will. In his own time and in his own way, but He definitely will. I pray that your eyes may be opened to recognise the risen Lord when he appears in your own life, as He has in mine.