July 13, 2019 - Acknowledging Jesus - A Reflection on Matthew 10:24-33
Ok, it’s been a while since I last asked a question, so here’s one for you today. When is the last time you spoke about Jesus, or even mentioned his name, in a group of non-believers? Probably never, unless it was when you were breaking the Second Commandment. “Do not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Remember that one? But other than that, probably not.
Let us take heed of Jesus’ words: “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:32). A few days ago we reflected upon how we might get to heaven and find the door locked to us, with Jesus saying: Go away from me, I never knew you. That is a terrifying thought, and I dwelt on it a lot.
Here, we have one reason why Jesus might say he never knew us. Because WE acted like we never knew him. Part of the reason for this is fear of rejection or scorn, or even worse. But I have discovered this isn’t the case. And this discovery started in the craziest way. This goes way back to a couple of year after my conversion. I had just started traveling on international mission. I got on a plane and took my usual seat by the window. A muslim woman took the seat beside me. I knew she was muslim because she had on an abaya; a burkha.
As the plane took off I heard Jesus say to me, “Aneel, talk to her about me.” “You gotta be kidding?” I thought to myself. “Talk to a muslim lady, that too somebody who seemed orthodox. No way.” A few minutes later, the woman struck up a conversation. “Are you a preacher?”, she asked. It was probably the cross that gave me away. “”Yes,” I replied, and then, she began to evangelize to me about her god!
It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life, having a lady talk to me about her faith, while I was afraid to talk to her about mine. I decided I would never ever refuse the opportunity again, and I have literally spoken to thousands of people about Jesus since then. And strangely enough, once people realize you are not out to convert them, listen with more than a little interest, and I believe that many found their way to Jesus because of that. As for the lady on the plane, we spoke about our respective faiths until we landed.
What happened after I left in the hands of God. As we should because in the end, it is up to him what happens. That, too, should bring us some confidence.