What Jesus Looks Like

by pastortimfowler

I had the honor of doing a funeral today for my friends, the West family. It was for a member of the family who just happened to have been homeless most of his adult life for one reason or another, and why is irrelevant. Often I am challenged to think about different things as I prepare for a funeral and too often I am struck right between the eyes with things that I need to make right or rethink.
My biggest fear of doing funerals for people who I don’t know is that I am not sure of their eternal destination. Let me rephrase that; I have no personal knowledge of their profession of faith, because the bottom line is, we can only present evidence to the world of our salvation, we can never prove it.
I like to think that people can look at me, my life, and how I live it, and determine that based on the evidence that shows, they can tell I know Jesus. After all you can tell a tree by the fruit it bears. But anyone can look at a tree full of peaches and say that is a peach tree, it takes a deeper look if there is no fruit. So what I am saying is that in the dead of winter, a peach tree is still a peach tree even though there is no fruit or even any leaves.
I have tried to convince people of this fact for as long as I have been a pastor. Too often, Christians try to judge what a Christian should look like based on the perfect conditions of being a Christian and over look the fact that none of us continually live under perfect conditions.
So as I was searching for scripture to use for the funeral I came across one of those eye-opening things that happens to me from time to time. The kind of thing where God says, HEY! Your are missing ME in all this. So I started reading and I saw Jesus in a homeless man…here is what I’ talking about.
Luke 9:57-58
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to Jesus, “I’ll follow you wherever you go.”
58 Jesus told him, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to sleep.”
Matthew 25:42-45
42 I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink.
43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me into your homes. I needed clothes, and you didn’t give me anything to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t take care of me.’
44 “They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or as a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison and didn’t help you?’
45 “He will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you failed to do for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant {they seemed}, you failed to do for me.’
Jesus said in Lk. 9:57,58 that He was homeless too. Earth is not our home it is our journey to eternity. Then in Mat. 25:42-45, He says that He was the hungry, thirsty, sick, and in prison. He did not say that as a joke, He said it to make a point. Remember the peach tree? Not only will it not bear fruit in the winter, but it will not bear fruit when it is hungry, thirsty, sick, or not planted in a good place. These are the trees that need the most attention. These are the ones that God says He would die for and that need the help the most.
I like to have my pretty Jesus. You know, the one that is a good-looking, with hair flowing in the breeze, smiling ’cause He’s happy, and all is right with the world. But the Jesus that took my sin to the cross was a prisoner, condemned to die for sins He did not commit. He was stripped of His clothes, hungry and thirsty. He had no home. Few recognized this Jesus, but that is the one we all meet first in the path to salvation. Only after we are saved can we see the resurrected and glorified Jesus.
Few would think that a Christian is that homeless guy, strung out on drugs, begging for a dollar to buy a drink or a smoke. Few would think that a Christian would not have a good job and nice clothes to wear to church, like I have. But aren’t we all forgetting that we are not supposed to look like Christians, we are supposed to look like Jesus.
And I believe that sometimes Jesus saves the homeless and downtrodden and allows them to stay that way for those of us who look good to have a real look at the cost of sin. Jesus looked even worse when He took all of our sin the day He died on the cross. And He died for sinners, not saints.
I think I might have had a chance today to get a better picture of what Jesus looks like.

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