A phrase came to my mind this morning, “Jesus with skin on”. This isn’t a biblical phrase. But it’s related to the description of Jesus in John 1 (“he became flesh and made his dwelling among us”) and to Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 12 that now we are ”the body of Christ”, a walking talking representation of Jesus for our generation.
We have begun a series in Ephesians which is full of wonderful truth about God, his plans and purposes, and who we are in Christ. And I’m praying that, as we study it together this term, these truths will get more and more firmly established in us, and will form a solid rock on which we can stand in these uncertain times.
Hearing and understanding biblical truth is vital, but it’s not sufficient in itself. We don’t stand because of head knowledge or good theology – that’s just part of the story. We need heart knowledge too – that truly knowing that we know that God loves us, He is for us, He has a plan for us and will provide for us. And we don’t get that from a book, we get that through a personal relationship, firstly with God and then with one another. That’s where “Jesus with skin on” comes in.
Jesus came to reveal God’s love and grace to those around him, one person at a time. Miracles happened as people came to him in their hour of need and he demonstrated the Father’s love in both word and actions.
And now, that role has been taken up by the Holy Spirit, who lives and works through all of us who call Jesus our Lord. As flawed individuals, we can never really be “Jesus with skin on” BUT our words and actions can reveal God’s love, hope and comfort to the people around us as we seek to follow the Spirit’s lead.
On Monday, I was struggling – all the new COVID regulations and trying to work out what to do for the best in the church; missing family…it was a difficult day. I didn’t doubt that God loved me, that he would, as always, get me through, but I needed to encounter that love again – to meet Jesus with skin on. On Tuesday, I didn’t feel like going to life group but did anyway, and as we talked and prayed together, I heard and felt the love of Christ again through the words and actions of my friends.
Hebrews 4:12 says ”the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates…” This isn’t negative, it’s quite the reverse! When another believer shares the right thing at the right time, it penetrates in a way that little else can, and the truth sets us free and enables us to stand. That’s what my friends did for me on Tuesday night and I’m so grateful to have them around!
Let’s seek to be like Jesus with flesh on for one another and for those individuals around us – families, neighbours, parents at the school gate, co-workers – who so need to know the God who loves them, through people who not only believe it and stand on it but live it out day by day.
May God truly bless you this week,