This month is the 40th anniversary of Spielberg’s classic, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a film that conveys an almost spiritual longing for contact with intelligent life in the cosmos. As a fan, I’ll definitely be buying tickets for its return to theaters this month. Having seen the movie a few times, there is a truth in this film we would do well to recognize. That each of us is innately fascinated by and drawn toward both the possibility of life on other worlds, and to the Maker of All Worlds. We are wired, say brain scientists, for transformative and transcendental experience.
In other words, “close encounters” are really what each of us longs for most. Just last Sunday two women approached me, one a newcomer to St. John’s and the other an elder. What they shared, having never met before, involved a spoken prayer need, and an unusual dream. The very next Tuesday, while I was at the gym, a fellow approached me about a friend who had collapsed while they were golfing. As it turns out I know this golfer, but I found it quite strange that the man in front of me was asking me to pray for him. Who is this man and who is the golfer? What is the content of that dream that two women wanted to immediately share with me? When I learned the answers, I felt that numinous awe that accompanies a “Close Encounter of the Jesus kind.”
The details of these encounters will be shared in an upcoming series of messages that I’ve entitled, “Sightings! Jesus in the Old Testament.” On the road to Emmaus, a veiled Jesus tells two weary travelers, shocked with the events of his death but not yet convinced of his resurrection, that the law of Moses, the prophets, and the Psalms indeed spoke of Him about all that had taken place (Matt. 5: 17-18; Luke 24: 25-27; John 5: 39-47). And in John’s gospel, our Lord challenges the teachers of the law with these words, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39).
In this upcoming teaching and small group series we will discover where and how Y’shua (Jesus) uniquely appears in the journey of God’s ancient people; and how his life reflects and fulfills that journey, and our own Along the way, we want to understand not only how Y’shua appears in the story of ancient Israel, but how to recognize him in our lives as well. Each Sunday this fall, we will hear from members of our own congregation as we share our very own “Jesus sightings.” Small groups begin September 10th, and the first message in “Sightings!” will be September 17th.
Get ready to see more in the Old Testament than you have ever see before, and to see more of Jesus in your everyday life as well. Hope to see you soon…