An Unexpected Visitor
I hadn’t expected her.
I didn’t realize she even knew where I lived, so I certainly never expected to see her at my door. But there she stood, knocking, and there I was, frozen, hoping she would leave without knowing I was hiding inside, afraid to let her in.
Ashamed to let her in.
I always felt dowdy when I was around her, even when my makeup was on and my hair was done, which was not the case when she came for a visit. Her silky, dark hair always looked perfect. Her clothes were always impeccable. The sight of her kicked me into comparison mode, and my self esteem bottomed out. So I avoided her.
In hindsight I can see how ridiculous it was, but at the time it was an obstacle I couldn’t get past. I didn’t look as good as she did. I didn’t have the social connections she had. I didn’t have her money. And I let that keep us separated. I hid inside not opening the door, hoping she would go away.
And here’s the crazy part: I liked her. She’s an amazing woman! When I finally got the courage to break through my inferiority complex and let her in, everything changed. I really got to know her and came to like her even more. I even grasped the fact that she really liked me. The most beautiful friendship grew after that day.
But I had wasted so much time. I missed so many opportunities. So sad.
I finished a seminary course not long ago that taught me a lot about what life was really like in Jesus’ time. (I know this seems unrelated, but stay with me.) Things like socio-economic status, wealth, ethnicity, and gender all determined which people associated with each other. Nothing painted a better picture of that social system than the dinner table. In the first century you ate with people like you. Period.
No one would dare invite someone out of their class to have dinner with them. No one would even think about accepting an invitation they couldn’t repay with an invitation to their own meal. It was unacceptable for someone “better than” to lower themself to go to the home of a “less than”.
But Jesus did.
Do you know the number one complaint most of Jesus’ critics had about about him? He ate with sinners.
Jesus ate with “less thans”. He sought them out. The upper class, the rulers, the “better thans” would summon the “less thans” to themselves, and that was only when there was some unavoidable reason the two would have to meet. They never would have lowered themselves to go to a neighborhood where a “less than” lived. And they certainly wouldn’t have eaten with them.
But Jesus did.
Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.Revelation 3:20, NRSV
We can find ourselves hiding behind our doors, hoping Jesus will leave until our hair and makeup are right, our clothes look better, and our house is clean. We can hide until we think we have our lives together. Or we can open the door. Because our lives will never be together. And like my friend, who I finally realized could have cared less about my hair and my house, Jesus will be thrilled to come inside.
He doesn’t see your mess. He sees a friend. And he thinks you’re amazing.