Jesus In Us Or In Them? – Colossians 1, Matthew 25

One of the most wonderful messages of the New Testament to all believers is that Christ lives in us. What has been called the “participatory language” of the apostle Paul can be found throughout his letters. He told the Colossians about “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). He prayed for the Ephesians that Christ would dwell in their hearts through faith (Ephesians 3:17). He asked the Corinthians, “Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Perhaps the most impressive statement comes at the end of Paul’s autobiographical writing to the Galatians. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

Are you keenly aware that Christ is in you today? He can touch, serve, encourage and love others through you! He can even go to battle for them through you, your gifts, training and experience. He can show concern for them, care for them and even graciously correct them through you.

What might seem initially to be a contrasting idea is what Jesus said in Matthew 25 when he told about separating people like a shepherd separates sheep and goats. He blessed and welcomed those who had cared for the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the one needing clothing, the sick and the imprisoned. He identified so much with these persons in need that He said He was the one actually being served. “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty…” (Matthew 25:35). When an explanation was requested, He said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

Has it occurred to you today that Christ is the one you are serving when you serve someone in need? That person may not be physically hungry, thirsty, sick or imprisoned, but whatever genuine need you serve qualifies them. It is Christ you honor and serve as you work to fill those needs. More than once, that thought has given me new motivation to go the extra mile, risk being conned and give with no chance of a return. This kind of service becomes much more than doing a good deed, completing a task. It is loving the One who loves me unconditionally, who put it all on the line for me.

So, which is it? Jesus in me, when I put my trust in Him, when I die to myself and my ambitions, when I care for others with mercy? Or, Jesus in others who are in need, regardless of the nature of their need? Jesus in us or Jesus in them? The answer is not either/or. It is both/and! Jesus serving Jesus? Yes! You and I can be Jesus serving Jesus! Like His Father, He is “over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6).

Article copyright (c) 2009 by Charles G. Mickey.  All rights reserved.

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