One night after teaching, a guy approached me wanting to talk. We sat down, and he told me how each night Jesus comes to visit him in a spaceship. He insisted that Jesus is a white guy with palm trees protruding from his scalp. I of course told him that Jesus is Jewish and that there was no biblical evidence to suggest Jesus would sport palm tree dreadlocks. Or need a spaceship.
More amazing than a story of Jesus descending to us in a spaceship is the news that He descended to the point of death – even death on a cross – to make us His friends. More humbling than the thought of Him hovering over our homes is the reality that He lives within us. He is with us and He calls us His friends (John 15:14).
The famous minister John Wesley was surrounded with his closest friends when he was on his deathbed. He called his friends close to him as he breathed his last words. His final words were “Best of all, God is with us.”
Years before Jesus was born, Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, and that He would be called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Jesus was His common name, but Immanuel is the reality of who He is. He is with us.
The God whose paths are beyond tracing out and whose mind we cannot fully understand, has chosen to make us His friends – to be with us. The God whose glory is so overwhelming that Moses could only see Him from behind is the same God who would speak to Moses “as a man speaks with a friend” (Exodus 33:11). The God who has the power to destroy Sodom with a single word is the same God who shared His plans with Abraham (Genesis 18:17), lovingly declared Abraham righteous, and called Abraham a friend (James 2:23).
The Christian life is not only “for God” and “about God.” It is also “with God.”
Adapted from Identity (2008, B&H Publishing Group)