When celebrities show up in unexpected places the outcome can be surreal. Especially if they are not recognized. By anyone. Most especially if you’re Sir Paul McCartney.
McCartney has a penchant for showing up (and singing) in the most unlikely places. He sang “I Saw Her Standing There” while the bride and groom danced their first dance at a country club in New York. OK, the singing part was a surprise, but not the showing up part; it was his nephew’s wedding. One night he popped up in a pub in southern England, took a seat at the piano and announced, “I’m the pub pianist and I’m taking requests.” The sing along lasted until the wee hours of the morning.
Then there was the night in 1982 when the world-famous voice gave a concert in London — and nobody recognized him!
True story! Disguised by a good make-up job and roughed up hair, Paul McCartney stood outside London’s Leicester Square tube station, guitar case open on the ground before him as he played and sang. No one recognized him, not even when he sang “Yesterday.” Sir Paul said, “I was standin’ there plunkin’ chords, doing this silly version of the song, and no one noticed it was me. So they’d toss coins and I’d be going, ‘Yesterday, all my troubles – thank you, sir – seemed so far away.’” Can you imagine??
Today’s verse says HE HUMBLED HIMSELF BY BECOMING OBEDIENT TO DEATH.
Of course the “He” in the verse is not Sir Paul, but Jesus Christ. He made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Talk about the ultimate make-under! It’s the most extreme example of valuing others above yourself and not looking to your own interests but to the interests of the others. He who is God in His very nature was willing to abandon heaven for you and me. Jesus, though he was rich, became poor. But He had a very good reason, you know. He did it so that you, by His poverty, might become rich. And most people didn’t recognize Him. They didn’t recognize Him as a 12-year old sitting in the temple sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. Nor was He recognized in Gethsemane’s garden. Or even standing outside His own tomb. But standing outside the tomb He spoke to Mary and called her name, she recognized Him. When we are seeking Him, we know Him by His voice speaking to us.
McCartney may have been able to fool everyone who walked by the tube station that night in London, but he would never have fooled my sister. She knows his voice. She’s picked McCartney out of a crowded restaurant. He was in a town where he wasn’t supposed to be. He was dressed to blend in. He was seated in a corner, away from most people’s view. But none of that mattered to my sister, because she knew his face and his voice; and from across the room she knew.
How will you recognize Jesus today? And how will you react when He speaks to you?
You may not expect to see Him in your local market or walking down the street. But He has chosen to fill the people who love Him with His Holy Spirit. He has sent them into the world to be His hands and His feet; to be His ambassadors carrying the message of His love to a lost and dying world. And He is speaking to you through them just as clearly as if you were walking beside Him on the road up to Jerusalem two thousand years ago. Same voice, same power, same person. It’s the same message and the same mission. Just disguised to look like the plumber, the woman next door, or the guy beside you at the coffee shop.
He hides Himself in His followers, and sends them to the world with His message.
His death was only a doorway to our life. He was crowned with glory and honor because He was willing to lay down His life for others; and we who follow Him will be as well. He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source; the love and power of God Himself. That is why He is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters! If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old has passed away, it died; behold, the new life of power, glory and service has come.
Now all of us who have given our lives to Him and are following where He leads us can boldly say, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
What surprising places will YOU show up on behalf of Jesus? If you too are willing to humble yourself and go where He sends you and speak what He tells you to say – how many people will YOUR life touch? Can you imagine??
HE HUMBLED HIMSELF BY BECOMING OBEDIENT TO DEATH