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What if it Happened Today
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I jerked my head up from the table full of paperwork as a knock at the door caught my attention. What time was it anyway? I’d been here all night? Great. And I still hadn’t sorted through this awful financial mess. What was I going to do? The knock at the door came again, and I groaned as I rose to answer it. Opening the door, I was surprised to see an acquaintance of mine standing there. He smiled kindly and gave a slight nod. “Good morning,” he said. “It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?”
I kept myself from rolling my eyes, knowing that it wasn’t beautiful at all. “All depends on how you look at it,” I responded with forced cheer.
“Would you like to come over my house for a while?”
I sighed, tired of him asking. He was just a religious freak, looking for people to follow him. “Look, Jesus, I’m sorry, but I’ve got way too much going on this morning. Maybe some other time, okay?”
Jesus gave me a look that almost made me cry. He seemed so disappointed. “I’m sorry,” he responded quietly. “Do have a good day.”
“Thanks, I will.” I watched as he slowly stepped off my porch, and walked down the street to the nearby church where he was joined with many others from the neighborhood. He’d been bothering me for quite some time now, and it was getting tiresome. What was I to do? Get back to work. That’s what I was supposed to be doing. That’s what I should be doing right now, if I hadn’t been foolish enough to answer the door.
The grocery store was packed. Men and women rushed up and down the aisles gathering their food, while children ran and screamed, making my headache even worse. Why couldn’t those parents control their kids? As I was checking out, I was stunned by the scene at the door. There was Jesus, sitting on the bench, laughing and playing with those undisciplined kids. What did he think he was doing? He was just encouraging their bad behavior! More upset than when I’d come, I grabbed my grocery sacks and stalked out the door, not giving Jesus another glance.
Back at home, I entered the house to find that I’d forgotten to put the dog in his cage. My living room lamp lay on the floor, broken in two. Couch cushions had been ripped from their places, stuffing strewn across the room. My well-potted, healthy, vibrant, gorgeous peace plant now lay with its roots exposed, its dirt embedded into the short curly carpet. And my paperwork still wasn’t done. Noticing that the answering machine was blinking, I sighed and pushed the play button.
“Hi, this is just Jesus calling. Thought maybe you might need some help with something today. If you do, you know where to find me.”
Why did he keep bugging me?! I quickly hit the delete button. I didn’t have time for this. I had too many other things to worry about.
I had a meeting to get too. Cramming my paperwork into my briefcase, I rushed out the door, pulling on my high-heel shoes as I went. My hair was a mess, my hands smelled like wet dog and potting soil, and my house was far from being put back together again. As I reached my car, I let out a wail of dismay. A flat tire? How could this be happening to me? I never should have gotten up this morning! I threw my stuff into the back seat, grabbed the spare tire from the garage, and set to work. Fifteen minutes later, sweat ran down my face, my back ached, I had two runs in my pantyhose, and the lug-nuts still were not off. I pulled, I pushed, I twisted and turned. It was no use. A shadow crossed my path, and I looked up quickly to see a figure standing behind me. “Jesus? What are you doing?”
He smiled kindly and knelt down next to me. “I saw you trying to put on your spare tire, and thought you looked like you might need some help.”
I had had enough. Standing up, I put my hands on my hips and I glared at him. “Look, if I wanted your help, I would have asked for it!” Not giving him enough time to respond, I spun on my heel and walked briskly back into my house to call a taxi. There was more than one way to skin a cat. I was going to make this meeting if it killed me.
The street lights gave an eerie glow as I walked home that night. Not being able to get another taxi, and too proud to let my co-workers drive me home, I’d decided to get myself home no matter what. My feet ached from the long walk, but at least I still had my dignity. A nice hot bubble bath sounded like it would do just the trick. As I was placing my key in the door, a noise behind me made me jump. I whirled around to meet my neighbor once again. Would he ever leave me alone?! “Isn’t it a bit late for you to be wandering around out here?” I asked with more irritation than I’d intended.
Jesus shook his head and held out a small batch of freshly cut flowers. “I just thought you might need something to cheer you up,” he answered.
I looked at the flowers, so neatly arranged. What was Jesus trying to do? Bribe me? Get me to apologize for yelling at him earlier? Entice me to start following him with all the other so-called religious people in town? Well, it wouldn’t work. Setting my jaw firmly, I decided that he would not get the best of me. “I’m sorry,” I replied coolly. “I can’t have flowers. Allergies, you know.” With that, I entered my house, and shut my door with a bang. Good riddance.
The next morning I woke up to the sun streaming through my window. Glancing at my clock, I realized it was past nine. How had I overslept? Well, I’ll be. No one had knocked at the door! Maybe Jesus had finally gotten the idea! I smiled to myself as I threw on my robe, and made my way to the kitchen. The telephone sat silent, and I sipped my coffee, enjoying the quiet. A while later, it was still quiet. No visitors? No phone calls? I glanced out my window. No one offering to help me change my tire? Well, there were plenty hours in a day. This was my day off, so I was sure to see somebody sometime.
By evening, I had a sense that was unexplainable. How could I be lonely? I chided myself, knowing that my stress must just be catching up to me. I needed to relax. I decided to watch some television to unwind. Turning it on, I settled in to watch my favorite shows, but instead, every channel was blaring about some local catastrophe. Great. Now I’d miss out on my show. This looked at least halfway interesting though, so I turned up the volume. I was shocked at what I heard.
“Local resident, Jesus Christ, was murdered today.”
I sat, stunned, staring at the screen. Jesus? The same guy who had been bugging me? I listened more to the horror story - to the testimonies of witnesses. They explained how the leaders in town didn’t like the way Jesus had been teaching. They said he was breaking laws and deceiving people, saying that he was the Son of God. I had known of his claims, but simply thought him to be crazy. Explanations went on, and clips flashed of the brutal beatings Jesus had received. Violence on television didn’t normally bother me, but I felt my stomach churning. I had known that man. His gruesome death was portrayed as well, with vivid pictures of his crucifixion. I found myself weeping as I watched, tormented by how I myself had just spoken to this man not twenty-four hours before. I couldn’t stand it anymore, and finally turned off the television.
I could hardly believe it. The man…the dear, sweet, kind man who had tried to talk to me so many times was gone. Slowly I picked myself up from the couch and walked to the door. Opening it up, my eyes came to rest on the flowers that Jesus had left on the porch. Another tear ran down my face as I leaned over to pick them up. They still smelled sweet, though were limp from sitting outside all day. Something moved me to take care of those flowers. I put them in a vase with water, and set them on my table, just staring at them. I remembered all the times I’d been rude to Jesus. How I’d pushed him away, and thought terrible things about him. All he’d wanted was my friendship, and I’d ignored him. And now…it was too late. What had I done?
Three days later, the flowers were starting to wilt. I wanted to keep them alive, but I knew their time was up. Sadly I pulled them out of their vase and took them to the door where I could go put them in the garbage can before the trash pick-up came. When I opened the door, I gasped at the man who was just about ready to knock. It wasn’t possible. “Jesus?” I whispered.
He gave me his kind smile and nodded. “Yes. “
I glanced down and saw the scars in his hands from the nails I’d seen them use. “But how…?”
“I have fulfilled my purpose,” he explained. “I died and rose for you.”
“For me?” I didn’t understand.
“My Father sent me as a sacrifice for men,” he answered. “No one can ever be good enough to enter the kingdom of Heaven. No one can earn their way to salvation. I died for you so that you might be saved through me. I suffered and took all men’s sin upon myself so that you could have the chance to get to know my Father.”
Crestfallen, I stared at the ground, as the tears ran unchecked down my face. “But, Jesus, I yelled at you. I didn’t want you around. I didn’t want to have anything to do with you. How could you have done this for me?”
“I love you,” was his simple response. “Follow me. Believe in me, and obey my commands, and you can be saved. Open up your heart to the truth.”
I raised my head to look into his eyes - his eyes full of hope and love. He’d talked of following him before, but I’d never listened. He’d talked of eternal life, but I hadn’t paid any attention. But now…now I was listening. Seeing him standing here, alive and well, was enough for me. And I had another chance. I threw myself into his arms, embraced by his love. I didn’t care about my paperwork or meetings anymore…I wanted Jesus.
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