Have you ever had someone show up that made all the difference in your day? Isn’t it the best when someone just makes your day by showing up or calling to tell you something that makes your heart smile? The other day, my sister-in-law called to tell me some cute stories about our niece and nephew. One of the things she told me was that my almost 2 year old niece had been carrying around a picture she found of us on their fridge and pointing to me saying, “Auntie Em! Auntie Em!” That made my day. It meant a lot that my sister-in-law showed up by calling to tell me that.
I also received an email newsletter from a dear friend this week, who serves as a missionary along with her husband in Cambodia. She shared some of the challenges that they have been facing. One of the greatest struggles they have is loneliness. She said it would mean the world to hear from some of us in the States about our own lives. I need to write her back still, but I couldn’t help but think of the truth of Proverbs 25:25, “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.” Carrie and Mark long for someone to show up and encourage them by reminding them of the friendships they have scattered around the globe.
Showing up. That’s what is on my mind this week. It started in Sunday School…looking at Matthew 9. The part of our scripture passage that stood out the most to me was, “Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to His own town” (v.1). This was just before He healed a paralytic, called Matthew-the-tax-collector to follow Him, told the Pharisees what was up, raised a dead girl to life, healed a woman with the issue of blood, healed the blind and the mute, and reminded us that He wants us to help spread His good news. Wow. That is a snapshot of what Jesus’ routine was. If all that were left up to us alone, we’d fall over from exhaustion and discouragement because most of it wouldn’t even be possible. But the fact of the matter is, He showed up. That’s why those people’s days were made different.
Jesus has a habit of showing up. He first showed up in the manger. God used the vehicle of the human form to come to us personally. As I skimmed through Matthew, I realized so many subtle words that remind us that Jesus was constantly showing up.
“Then Jesus CAME from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.” (Mt.3:13)
“Then Jesus was LED by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” (Mt.4:1)
“When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He RETURNED to Galilee.” (Mt.4:12)
“As Jesus was WALKING beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew” (Mt.4:18)
“Jesus WENT throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” (Mt.4:23)
“Now when He saw the crowds, He WENT UP on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them.” (Mt.5:1-2)
“When He CAME down from the mountainside, large crowds followed Him.” (Mt.8:1)
“When Jesus had ENTERED Capernaum, a centurion came to Him asking for help.” (Mt.8:5)
“When Jesus CAME into Peter’s house, He saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.” (Mt. 8:14)
“When Jesus saw the crowd around Him, He gave orders to CROSS to the other side of the lake,” (Mt.8:18)
“Then He GOT INTO the boat and His disciples followed Him.” (Mt. 8:23)
“When He ARRIVED at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon possessed men coming from the tombs met Him.” (Mt.8:28)
The accounts of Him showing up continue. You can read the rest for yourself. But know this, Jesus predicted His death at least twice, yet HE STILL SHOWED UP at the place where He knew He would be arrested and taken to death. Being fully God and fully man, Jesus knew before His Father even sent Him to be born in a stable that the reason He would be coming was to suffer and die for things He didn’t do. But HE STILL SHOWED UP. And after He was dead and buried in the tomb, which everyone expected to be His final resting place, HE STILL SHOWED UP and told death to go to Hell because He had conquered it.
He has shown up for all of the world to see. He has shown up to meet our needs when we come to Him so as to make His Father’s name great. But most of all, He has shown up to redeem us…to get us back to the life of freedom that He intended for us to have.
He showed up in my life early on and He’s been showing up ever since. He showed up in second grade to protect the lives of my mom, sister, and me in a terrible automobile accident. He showed up in Middle School when I felt like a total loser to tell me that He would always be my most trustworthy friend. He showed up in High School to give me a passion for the world. He showed up in the hospital rooms my dad frequented during his battle with cancer to tell me that it was for those tears trickling down our cheeks that He Himself died. He showed up when my husband lost His job to tell me that He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and that He would provide for all of our needs according to His riches. He showed up when we moved this year and reminded me that my true Home is with Him and I’ll never have to pack again when I move in there. He shows up every day to welcome me to the gift of life, whether it’s this life or the next. Whether the events of my day are good or bad, He shows up.
I can’t help but think of the brave Navy SEALS who showed up to capture Osama Bin Laden, one of America’s greatest enemies. They put aside their own safety to protect ours. They showed up to let terrorists know that they were there on behalf of all US Citizens to announce that they couldn’t mess with our freedom anymore.
Jesus did this on a greater level. He showed up to tell our greatest enemy that he couldn’t mess with our freedom anymore. Enough was enough. Death didn’t have the final word. Life Himself did. He came to get our freedom back. And it all started when The WORD became flesh by showing up. Whatever our response is to His entrance into our world, our days can’t help but be different once He shows up.