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 Transformation…

Jesus brought transformation wherever he went.  As believers we talk about bringing transformation wherever we go.  Often we think a healing will always bring permanent transformation, a prophetic word will bring permanent transformation, a word of knowledge will bring permanent transformation, or a kind gesture will bring permanent transformation… but these are just tools to help bring the transformation which Jesus came to bring.

True transformation is not just a healing or kind gesture or any of those other things.  True transformation takes place in a multifaceted way.  We study Jesus’s life to see how to heal, prophecy, love and many other things, and rightly so.  If we are after transformation shouldn’t we study the life of the greatest transformer known to humanity to see how to bring permanent transformation to our families, friends, communities and nations?  Jesus has a way in which he transforms lives and cultures.  It is this organic process that we will be looking at over the next seven months.  Each month I will write an article on one step in the transformation process, starting with the principle of “entering their world”.

Simple…

Jesus is known for entering the world of man and living like man.  But this principle is bigger than that.  Let’s look at Nathaniel.  In John 1:43-51 we see the unfolding of Nathaniel’s introduction to Transformation Incarnate.

Phillip’s introduction to Jesus is pretty straight forward.  Jesus finds Phillip and says, “Follow me”.  Phillips says… wait for it…. “OK”.  Simple. Then Phil runs to Nathaniel shouting, ”Hey Nate!…. Naaaaaaaaate! Dude, I found the guy, ya know… the Messiah!”

Nate’s response (with what I’m sure is a Scottsburgh accent and attitude) is, “Dude, what the heck good can come out of Toti?” (OK, I know it’s Nazareth but stick with the colorful story).  I’m not sure how Phil does it, but he convinces Nate to come and meet this guy from ‘Toti’ who claims to be the Messiah.  As Nate walks up to Jesus, Jesus enters the world of Nate.

Jesus smiles and calls out, “Hey! A real Jew! And not a false bone in his body!”  This is an amazing compliment… so naturally Nate looks around to see who Jesus is giving the compliment to, and realizes that it must be him.  Nate quips back, “Hey my china, how do ya know  where I’m from?”

Jesus looks back at him and smiles. He says, ”Nathaniel… long before Phillip came to you, I saw you here under the fig tree. I saw you here where you first learned to pray by praying with your Dad.  I saw you when you first started studying the Torah.  I saw you when you pretended to pray but were actually sleeping.  I saw you debating the law with the other men, believing so passionately that you were correct in your reading.  When did I get to know you? I’ve always known you.”

Flying low…

I wonder how many of us think we can fly low and stay unnoticed by Jesus?  I wonder how many people around us are flying low just trying to survive life.  Then Jesus comes to us and says, “I know you.”  And in his words we know that he truly knows us.  He has entered our world.

Jesus, to start the transformation process, enters our world, and His call is for us to enter the world of those around us.  We need to break our cultural and church norms to enter into the lives of others. Get our lives dirty by talking to those we shouldn’t talk to.  Hang out with those guys from the “other” part of town.  Get into the homes of other races and cultures.  Our human tendency is to judge others because of stereotypes, customs, prejudices and beliefs.  Jesus treats people as individuals, accepting them with love and compassion.  He enters their world.  Do you dismiss certain people as lost causes, or do you see them as valuable in their own right, worthy of time spent getting to know them?

When you catch your breath from Jesus entering your world and wrapping his big arm around your shoulder, you’ll know you’ve stepped into something amazing!  And in the meantime – find a way to enter into the world of others.  Seek first to understand before wanting to be understood.  Then go get yourself a bacon cheeseburger with fried onion rings and hang out for a bit in my world!

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