By Rev. Aracelis Vasquez Haye
What will your response be, if someone tells you, “I want to see Jesus?”
I believe that we are living during a time that many are seeking for answers, clarity, in need of healing and restoration, and searching for meaning and purpose to life’s problems and challenges. In my own ministry, like the Greeks seeking to see Jesus in the Gospel of John 12, I have encountered many women in search of Jesus, especially during their crises:
- A 21-year-old college student who dreams of becoming a lawyer one day. However, her future is at risk. She is a DREAMER, a young woman who was brought to this country when she was ten months old. She now fears that the outcome of having to go back to a country that she never knew would rob her of her dream and aspirations. She came to see me to tell me, “I want to see Jesus.”
- A young woman who as a child was sexually abused and now as a young adult has struggled to forgive herself, told me, “I want to see Jesus.”
- A woman who has lost her marriage and children due to drug addiction, and now finds herself homeless and helpless, tells me, “I want to see Jesus.”
- An elderly woman, who spent her life advocating for peace and racial justice, and who has recently confronted bigotry in her own church, told me, “I want to see Jesus.”
- A mother who lost her teenage son to gun violence tells me, “I want to see Jesus.”
I was present as I listened to their stories and I asked myself, “How do I show them Jesus?” I heard their grief, felt their pain and brokenness, and I saw their desperation. They wanted to see Jesus: that Jesus who healed the sick, cared for the marginalized, and resurrected the dead. For some, this was the point of no return: they desperately needed Jesus. And they came to me because they knew that I know Jesus. My response to them? “Look, Jesus is here.”
Through life’s ups and downs, I have learned that behind the shadows of my own sorrow and brokenness, Jesus was and is here. Though it is hard to comprehend and, like Mary and Martha, I may have said in various occasions, “Jesus, if you had been here…”, (John 11), I later realized that he had been there the whole time. I learned to look further and deeper into my situation. It was there that I changed my request into an invitation, allowing Christ into my crisis and seeing him intervene and interrupt my circumstance, even if it was solely with his presence and peace.
Like the Greeks in our Scripture passage, and like those women who shared with me, I wonder if they initially knew what they were asking. The request may seem simple, but at times Jesus’ response is anything but simple to the human condition. There are moments where Jesus will invite us to sit at the foot of the cross, and perhaps other moments when we will witness the resurrected Christ.
Do you want to see Jesus?