Encountering Jesus: If You’re Jesus Who Am I?
Cross Over Stories from My Imagination
By Gary Piper
The other day I met a man who said he was Jesus. He didn’t look like Jesus but I’ve never seen Jesus. Oh, I know I’ve seen pictures of him but a picture is just a picture an image captured by the lens of a camera or by the lens of someone’s imagination. However, deep inside something told me this guy was the real McCoy! I’ve always wondered if I know him if I met him on the street and now I don’t have to wonder any longer, it didn’t take long and when I did I suddenly saw a white dove just above his head but it was there only for a second or two then disappeared.
In case you’re wondering what he looks like I’ll fill you in but you’re in for a surprise because he doesn’t look anything like the pictures of him. First, he’s rather tall I can’t give you an exact height but my guess would be around 6 foot 9 inches but that’s only a guess. I’ll bet those soldiers had to have a tall cross to hang him on.
Thin! Wow, he sure was skinny if I was to give him a nickname it’d be Flag Pole. Don’t ask me about how much he weighed I’d have no idea.
There was nothing real special about his facial features other than a long thin face and a larger than normal nose. His lips were kind of thick probably because they were dry or something like that, again I’m no expert. But before we parted he kissed me on the cheek and I know what I felt.
Oh, and his clothes! Forget that robe, scarf (or whatever you call it), and sandals stuff he had on Levi’s, jogging shoes, and tee shirt that said, "God’s not dead I just talked to him.” Later he told me he dressed the way he did because he didn’t want to draw attention to himself apparently he wanted people to discover who he was without any help. When I reminded him of the dove thing he smiled and said that comes after recognizing him.
That’s about all I can say about what he looked like other than the fact he there was nothing out of the ordinary about his appearance but when I began talking with him I sure could tell a difference.
In case you’re wondering how I chanced to meet him don’t ask ‘cause I don’t know! I was walking down the street smiling and saying hi to everyone I met. Most people were not very friendly two guys told me to mind my own business, a woman asked me if I was stalking her, and a little kid gave me the single finger salute. It was terrible.
“God,” I silently prayed, “What these people need is a little dose of Jesus.”
Then unexpectedly some tall lanky looking dude walks up and says, “Peace be unto your brother.”
At first I wasn’t sure who he was but like I said earlier it didn’t take me long to realize but when I did all I could do was stutter, “You’re Jesus the Son of God!”
Looking me straight in the eyes he said in a soft soothing voice, “In some circles I am called that. But who do you say I am.”
Before going on I’ve just got to tell you about his eyes. When our eyes first met I instantly had the feeling I was a stained glass window and he was looking right through me. In case you’re wondering what a stained glass window feels like don’t ask! I can’t describe that any better than I can tell how I felt like when I felt him looking into my soul. That’s right I FELT him looking! Then suddenly it felt like I went from being a stained glass window to one clean, pure, and transparent. I wish I could describe it better but I can’t because it defied description. I don’t have to tell you I was speechless at first but when I regained my composure I really made a fool of myself!
How you’re wondering?
Let me remind you I was standing head to chest with the Creator of all the universes, with T-H-E Christ who lived, died, and was resurrected and with thousands upon thousands of questions going through my mind I said, “If you’re Jesus then who am I.”
I could have died right on the spot! Since giving my life to him I’ve rehearsed over and over what I’d ask him if I ever met him and when my chance came I choked and couldn’t even remember my own name!
But he sure had a great comeback that put my embarrassment to rest. “I like your answer,” he said, “I know your name is Gary Piper but who you are will come as we build a relationship with each other and as you live out your life.”
At first he caught me off guard because I thought Gary Piper was who I was but when he put it the way he did I realized that Gary Piper was my name but who I was actually came from my life. Slowly I began to regain my composure and after a few minutes my heart moved from my throat back to where it belonged and I could talk clearly once again. But unfortunately I tripped again over the thought that I was standing in the presence of Jesus Christ! As I stated earlier he sure didn’t look the part. I wondered how many people had passed him by treating him like they did me only minutes ago.
I had a very profound question right on the tip of my tongue but that isn’t what came out! “Well,” I stumbled about, “What do we do now?” I couldn’t believe I did it again! I wanted to ask him how he made the universe out of nothing but outcome some dumb lame question from outer space or somewhere besides my mind. “I’m glad you asked that,” he chuckled aloud, “Usually I’m asked how I created the universe. I tried that once with a man name Einstein but by the time I finished he had it all messed up so I quit. But where we go from here that’s a real question.”
Saved again I thought, silently thanking God for making foolish things not so foolish. After a moment or two of silence he looked at me and said, “What’s your greatest desire my friend?”
Just then a Hummer H2 drove by. A big beautiful black Hummer. I pictured myself in the driver’s seat of the SUV of my dreams. Giving Jesus a quick glance I heard him say, “Boy! If I’d had one of those beauties while wandering in the wilderness those 40 long, rough and tumble days it would’ve been a walk in the park. You’d probably like one of those wouldn’t you?”
My first thought was to say, “you bet I’d like to have one.” After all how hard would it be for the one who made all the universes to rustle me up the vehicle of my dreams? But I couldn’t bring myself to do it instead, “Why’d you have to go into the wilderness Jesus,” I asked, “I know what the Bible says and all that good stuff but I’d like to hear it from your own lips?”
I couldn’t believe I’d actually asked him a serious question without messing it up and sounding like a fool. “What does have to do with the desires of your heart Gary?” he asked in return.
After collecting my thoughts I told him, “The greatest desire of my heart is to be like you. I can learn a lot about you by studying your story in the Bible but for me that doesn’t go far enough.” I could see a smile breaking out on his face so I stopped talking and waited for his response.
It didn’t take him long, “Each time,” he started, “You do something that takes you away from the Father you go farther into the wilderness of sin and despair. Sometimes when that happens the world seems like a friendly place and it calls for you to seek its peace. But its friendliness and peace are illusions perpetrated but unseen forces attempting to widen the gap between you and the Father. The greatest desire of my heart is close gap, to make it possible for you and the Father to have a relationship based on a life of repentance. In way I went into the wilderness after you and to take your place, to show you the way out.”
At first I wanted to say something but I couldn’t I felt so guilty, so unworthy I remained silent for what seemed like hours.
Suddenly he reached for my hand but I instantly pulled it away but he found it anyway. His hand was warm, strong, kind, and gentle nothing like it looked. With his other hand he wiped away the tears from my cheeks, “Lord,” I sobbed, “Will you please forgive me because you suffered in the wilderness for me when I should have stayed there myself?”
Tears were streaming down his cheeks also, “You could never make it by yourself my friend you’ll never be strong enough to make it on your own, you’ll always need me.” Instinctively I reached up and wiped away his tears and as my hand touched them I felt a surge of strength pulse through my heart. Next it was like tiny explosions going off inside me and with each explosion I felt the pulse of my spirit getting stronger and stronger. I don’t know how I knew that I just did that’s all I needed to know.
I don’t how long it was before one of us spoke, it seemed like hours but it was probably only minutes. “You haven’t fully answered my question,” he asked me, “What is the greatest desire of your heart?”
At first I didn’t understand what he meant hadn’t I told him my greatest desire was to be just like him? Then like someone flipped a switch I knew what to say, “I want to go into the wilderness just like you did and help those who are still there find their way out. I want to make you real to them.” I could tell by the look on his face that was the answer he was looking for.
After a few moments of silence he said, “It’s not going to be easy in fact you’ll never do anything more difficult.” Interrupting him I commented, “I know Lord but you’ll be there with me won’t you.” This time wiping away his own tears he answered back, “I’ll never leave you, never.”
“Jesus,” my voice broke the silence, “You know in the Bible where is tells the story of you feeding 5000 men with just a small amount of food.”
Flashing me I big smile, “Hungry are you?”
He must have heard my stomach growling or something like that, “Not for food Jesus but I’m hungry to know why the story is so important to me now?”
I could tell he was trying to figure out how to simplify his answer so I could understand. “I don’t need to know how you did it but I’d like to know why you did it. After all you took a big risk because people would want you for what you could give them not for what you can do for them.”
With half a smile and half crying he answered back, “I can tell the Holy Spirit has been teaching you. When you travel back into the wilderness you’ll need a vast amount of spiritual food to give those who hunger and thirst. I used that illustration to show you that with the small resources you’ll carry with you through your faith your resources will become unlimited when the time is right.” Faith has always been something hard to understand and has transparent for me, “Tell me about faith Jesus.”
“When I looked into the heavens that day long ago I prayed in faith just as you’ll have to do. The faith with which I prayed was not faith in what the Father can do but in what the Father will do. The faith I used and the faith you’ll need is in what the Father is willing to do. See that Hummer parked over there?” he asked.
I nodded I’d seen it. “We can have faith that it can take us where we want to go but we’ll never get any there until we turn the key start it up and drive off having faith it will get us there.”
“Jesus, who am I,” hearing myself repeat the words had a much different ring to them this time. Without hesitation his voice rang out, “You are my friend, a man after my own heart.”
Suddenly somehow I knew he’d be going away that our meeting was coming to an end, “Are you going now?” I asked. “For now, “came his quick reply.
I tried to choke back the tears. I didn’t want him to go there was so much I needed to learn so many questions about life I needed answers for. “But I don’t want you to go,” I cried, “I need you Jesus. Will I see you again?”
Flashing me a big smile, “This is only the beginning of our relationship,” he said. Breathing a big sigh of relief I blurted out, “Will you always look like that?” Breaking out in a hearty laugh, “Something wrong with the way I look?”
I was instantly embarrassed beyond belief and I couldn’t believe it came out the way it did, “I am so sorry Lord,” I quickly apologized, “What I meant to ask was will I recognize you again?”
Still laughing, “Excuse me , Gary I just had to play with you. Whatever you do don’t feel so awkward around me let what hair you’ve got down and relax. You’ll always recognize me even though I may not always dress like this. I’ve got a new tee shirt I think I’ll wear the next time. Want to know what it says?”
Suddenly I found myself more relaxed then ever, “Yeah, go ahead tell me that way I won’t be surprised,” this time it was my turn to laugh.
“This one’s really cool! On second thought maybe I won’t tell you and that way you’ll always be looking for me.” Then suddenly he was gone leaving me standing alone on the very spot I was when he first walked up to me. At first I thought I should be sad or something like that but I wasn’t. As I walked away I was singing to myself, “I’ve bonded with Jesus, I’ve bonded with Jesus the Son of the Living God, and I’ve bonded with Jesus.”
Some how I knew in the back of my mind when deep in my soul I’d pray, “If you’re Jesus then who am I” he’d be back.