Encountering Christ Unawares

Meeting Jesus Incognito

One night, a shoemaker named Conrad had a dream that the next day Jesus was coming to his humble shop. He got up early the next morning and went to the woods to gather green boughs to decorate his shop in order to receive so great a Guest.

He waited all morning, and the only thing that happened was that an old man shuffled up, asking to rest. Conrad, the shoemaker, saw that his shoes were worn through, so he brought the man in. “I’ll give you a new pair”, he said, and put on the old man’s feet the sturdiest shoes in the shop before sending him on his way.

He waited through the afternoon, and the only happening was that an old woman under a heavy load of firewood came by. She was weary, and, out of compassion, Conrad brought her in and gave her some of the food he had prepared for Jesus. She ate heartily, for she was very hungry. And refreshed, she went on her way.

Then, as the shades of night began to fall, there came into his shop a lost child, crying bitterly. Conrad was annoyed because it was necessary to leave his shop in order to take the child home.

Returning, he was convinced that he had missed Lord. Sadly, he lived through the moments as he had imagined them: the knock, the call, the latch pulled up, the lighted face, the offered cup. He would have kissed the hands where the nails had been, he would have washed the feet where the spikes had entered. Then the Lord would have sat with him, and would have broken bread.

Conrad cried, “Why is it Lord, that your feet delay? Have you forgotten that this was the day?” Then soft in the silence, a voice he heard: “Lift up your heart, for I kept my word. Three times I came to your friendly door. Three times my shadow was on your floor. I was the beggar with the bruised feet. I was the woman you gave to eat. I was the lost child on the street.”

The Parable of the Sheep and Goats

This story reminds me of Jesus’ Parable of the sheep and the goats (Mathew 25:31-46). In this Parable, Jesus reminds us that we can encounter Him in the hungry and thirsty, in the stranger and poorly clothed, in the sick and the imprisoned. We show our love to Jesus in this world by how we treat the most needy.

The Lord does want us to encounter Him in a worship service on Sunday morning or in our private Bible reading and prayer time. But let us be alert to the “mundane” events of our everyday life where we may be encountering the crucified and risen Christ unawares.

QOTD: Have you encountered Jesus today without recognizing Him?