Reflection 1: Meeting Jesus


· Matthew 25: 34-40

· Isaiah 58: 6-8

‘I was in prison and you came to visit me.’‘…..then your healing will quickly appear.’

Jesus was and is homeless. He was born in a borrowed stable: homeless. He fled violence and lived as a refugee: homeless. He had nowhere to lay his head: homeless. He died rejected and betrayed, buried in a borrowed tomb: homeless. He identifies himself with the needs of those on earth today, saying, ‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40). Earlier he had said ‘The son of man has no place to rest his head,’ (Matt 8 vs20) therein identifying himself with the homeless.

Hope into Action works with the homeless.   Our church partners, motivated by compassion and biblical injunction, engage with the homeless and bring Jesus, who lives in us, into the relationship. But, as Matthew 25 also teaches us, we will meet Christ when we engage with the homeless and the poor and the prisoner. We, therefore, ourselves will grow. This point was made 400 years earlier through Isaiah who, after encouraging us in 58th chapter to ‘break every yoke…..[and] provide the poor wanderer with shelter,’ tells us that our ‘healing will quickly appear.’ (Vs 8)

There are only 3 places where Jesus says he will meet with us: when 2 or 3 people gather together[i]; when we receive the bread and wine[ii]; and when we visit with the poor, the broken, the sick, the prisoner. Notice that Jesus does not say we meet him when giving to the poor, as worthy as that is – he uses the world visiting, a word that suggests an ongoing relationship.

Meeting with the disinherited, with empathy in our hearts, is a religious ritual commanded by Jesus. If we can engage in that ritual as consistently and deliberately as we do ‘gathering’ and ‘communion’, then can you imagine the healing that will break out across our country? Healing both for the homeless and for the churches, as we come together and find Jesus waiting there for us.

Reflection and Application:

At Hope into Action we open every house in partnership with a church. The church needs to ‘provide’ a ‘Friendship and support group’ whose role is to worship God by ‘visiting’ (we call it befriending) those in our homes. Interestingly we find it easier to find the capital to buy a house than we do the volunteers willing to engage with the poor!

Questions for Reflection:

  • Jesus commands his followers to visit ‘the prisoner’. When was the last time you obeyed that command? (Feel free to interpret ‘prisoner’ in literal and metaphorical terms – someone imprisoned by addiction, homelessness, abuse would equally apply)
  • Pause for a moment and reflect on your religious rituals. How much time is spent ‘gathering’ & ‘taking the bread’, and how much time is spent engaging with the poor, the broken and the sick?
  • What practical steps can you take to balance your time spent in prayer and fellowship with meeting with the poor?

[i] Matt 18 vs 20

[ii] Luke 22 vs 19&20

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