Gospel Message & Recording
There are three terms used to describe the character of God, namely, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent. Omnipresent means God is present everywhere. There is no place that He is not. Omniscient means that He is all-knowing. In other words, God knows all things. Omnipotent means He is all-powerful. That is, God has power over all things. Here, we will deal with the idea, or rather the fact, that Jesus is omnipresent.
In the Gospel reading today, taken from Matthew 24: 42-51, Jesus teaches on the faithful and unfaithful servant. The main idea of this Gospel reading is that the faithful servant does the will of the Master even when he is not home. The unfaithful servant does the will of the Master when the Master is at home; but when the Master leaves, the servant begins to go against the orders of the Master and does his own will. The difference between the faithful and unfaithful servant is that one acknowledges the presence of his Master at all times, either present or absent; the other acknowledges his Master's presence only when physically present at home.
This story is a reflection of our Christian condition. Meaning, we may be on our best behavior when we are attending church or when people are watching, but when no one is watching are we conducting ourselves the way our Master, Jesus Christ, would want us to behave? For most Christians, we are concerned with what other people think, but we should be concerned with what Jesus would think. Moreover, we should be aware of the omnipresence of Christ. That is, recognize that no matter where we are, Christ is right there next to us. Either if it is at home or at the workplace, Christ is there. The faithful servant behaved as though his Master was home, even if physically absent. We have to be like the faithful servant and behave as though Christ is physically present wherever we are.
Most of our sinful behaviors would subside if we “truly” believe and acknowledge Christ’s presence in our life. For example, would we become angry and lash out at our spouse if we truly believed Christ was present. Would we commit deviant sexual behavior if we knew Jesus is watching? Would we take part in unethical behavior if we knew Jesus was standing next to us? A Christian should always behave as though Jesus watching or standing next to him or her.
Let us as Orthodox Christians commit to recognizing the presence of Christ in all places and at all times, not because Christ is a “hard taskmaster” taking account of our sins, but rather, because of our actions have brought “deep hurt” to the heart of our Lord. I say this because a year ago during my prayer time while lamenting over my own sinful condition, I asked the Lord, “What do you do when I sin?” Right then a vision appeared before me where I saw a man (Jesus Christ) vested in a beautiful red robe. He was standing before an altar, one like our own in the Orthodox Church. Deep down inside my heart, I heard a voice say, “When you sin, I am praying for you.” At that moment, Jesus, like the Priest in the Orthodox Church, bowed before the Holy Altar and began to pray for me. What a great revelation! That Christ is always next to us, praying for us. This has compelled me, more than any other experience to be extremely cautious of my sinful behavior, either of mind or body. Since Jesus was saddened, it restraints (to some degree) my mind and body from thinking/acting sinfully. It was not His judgment, nor his anger, that changed me, or continues to change me; but it is his love, grace, and mercy.
- Do you live like Jesus is watching you or standing next to you? What are some things we could practice that could make us more aware of the real presence of Christ in our life?
- Why do you think so many Christians don’t recognize that Jesus is really present in their life? What is lacking in our spiritual life that produces this lack of awareness?
- If Jesus appeared to us and told us that He has been standing next to us our whole life, what areas of our life would make us embarrassed?