Yesterday I had the blessing of meeting a “Jews for Jesus” missionary, who came to know about the Coptic Orthodox church through a common friend who I then converted to Orthodoxy.
This missionary goes around in different churches, cultures and ethnic groups to speak about the Passover in the Christian understanding, shedding light on the Jewish traditions and how they are fulfilled in the Lord Christ. He was born to a Jewish father and to a demon possessed mother, who later on was freed by the power of Christ. This missionary wasn’t converted to Christ at the same time as his mother, although the experience had kept the Lord always in his mind. This leading him to later on surrender his life to the Lord. In our meeting we discussed the Orthodox understanding of the Old Testament, especially the Passover, how the Coptic Church view Egypt in the Old Testament, and Pharaoh and the slavery of the Jews. He was knowledgeable in the scriptures, especially pertaining to Israel. He was telling me that he is very disheartened by the rejection of some churches to preach Christ to the Jews. He felt that it’s the role of every Christian church to go preach the kingdom of God to every nation, not excluding anyone. I was overwhelmed not by his knowledge, zealous, desire to preach and the love of the Lord, but I was overwhelmed by the Lord Himself who “has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all” (Rom 11:32). I was overwhelmed by the Lord and how He is working in every nation and kept His promise to the fathers “concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers” (Rom 11:28). It’s the Lord who is still working, even with the people who rejected Him.
After I finished my meeting, I went on to visit an elder, whom I could not remember before going, in a senior home. I walked in the senior home, only to be greeted and welcomed by a very nice gentleman, who quickly came to help me, spoke my native language and asked me “who am I visiting”? He walked me to the person I’m visiting. Although I haven’t seen the elder for few years, I was able to remember his face, which aged over the years and showed the signs of illnesses yet it was filled with peace. We went somewhere quiet, we talked about many topics. Then he noticed the gentleman who greeted me at the door and whispered, “This is either the owner of the facility or the manager, he is a very good man”.
We continued on our conversation but I couldn’t help but notice this gentleman and his work ethics, he was filled with joy despite the difficulty of his job; active, running around, and willing to serve with a very humble heart. I prayed for the elder, anointed him with oil and left. It was Christ who was working in the owner/manager, gave him a spirit of humility, joy, endurance, patience and love. It’s the Lord who was present in this place, who fills all things, whose Father works until now and He is working too (John 5:17). It’s His goodness as He is the source of all goodness.
Then I visited few other people, held couple of meetings; then later on at night in church, I was asked by a servant to sit down and talk. She told me that she went out on a service with a co-servant. After finishing the first task, the other servant told her, you look stressed and tired, let’s just go have lunch, relax and chat. They went, had lunch, chatted, spoke about their sermons which they each heard this week, exchanged simple joyful moments and wrapped up the conversation and each went their way. But the servant, who asked to speak to me, was very touched by the fact that her co-servant felt her heavy weight and decided to cheer her up a little bit. She spoke to me about Christ who was working, living and moving in the co-servant. She said, “I was presented by Christ today”. But in my own words, I would say she even had lunch with Christ that day.
Brothers and sisters, I ended my day feeling very useless, but in a good way, I felt that the Lord does much more than what we can think of and comprehend. In these few incidents, I saw Him working in a Jew missionary, a senior home manager and a faithful servant. I came to truly understand the bible verse “in Him we live, move and have our being”. I came to recognize that we need to open our eyes to recognize Him and that He still works, that I can confidently say with Peter, when he recognized the Lord after His resurrection at the sea of Tiberias, “It is the Lord”. He asked the disciples to provide Him food, while He feeds the whole creation, asked us to work in His field while He is the Lord of the harvest, to give water while He is the source of the living water. “It is the Lord” said Peter, it is the risen Lord. Brothers and sisters, let’s open our eyes to see the Lord.