What If You Had Encountered Jesus Back Then?

Stained glass.

I grew up with a very strong awareness of Jesus’ presence in my daily life. It was normal for me to go about my days as a young girl with an awareness of him near me, and I can’t remember a time I didn’t know he was there.

But something shifted when I read the Gospels “at a run” (as N. T. Wright would put it) about ten years ago. 

When I immersed myself in the Gospels over the course of several intense weeks in the spring of 2001, Jesus became real in a very new and different way to me than he ever had before.

I’d always known he lived and died on the earth. I grew up reading the Bible and was familiar with all the stories of things he’d said and done. But for perhaps the first time in that spring of 2001, it began to sink in, in a much more real way, that Jesus had walked on actual roads and talked to actual people. He had shared actual meals with people, drank wine and ate bread, laughed and cried, prayed and felt distress. His actual fingers had touched actual eyes and caused real people to see. People had actually seen and felt the texture of his robe.

All of this was real. As a person who had actually existed in history, these things had happened in real time and space. 

It’s so strange how something you know can become something you know in a new and deeper way, isn’t it? 

Today I want to invite you to consider the actual time and place of the life of Jesus. What if you were there? How might you have encountered him?

Allow yourself to consider what that might have been like for you. Would you have been a person in the crowd who heard him teach or watched him heal? Would you have dined with him and his inner circle of friends? How might you have come in contact with him? What might you have wanted to say or do in his presence, if you could?