“I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.
“God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:15-23).
I was teaching school in Barstow, California. At that time my family were all living in the Treasure Valley. I had come home for Christmas and was returning to Barstow by bus. The route goes through Twin Falls, Salt Lake City, and Las Vegas. I don’t remember how many hours it took, but it took a long time. One way to combat the length of the trip was to take the “red eye” and sleep through most of it, and that was what I did.
As we left Boise the bus was filled with noisy, cheerful conversations as people shared their Christmases with fellow passengers. I was traveling alone and sat near the front of the bus. If you know me, you know I am not one to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I had planned to focus on the upcoming quarter of school and brainstorm some new ideas on how to teach it. But the passenger sitting beside me asked me about my Christmas, and we started talking about our holidays.
At some point in the conversation, the discussion turned more serious, and we began sharing what we believed about Jesus. Then some of the other passengers, evidently listening to us, joined in as well. The bus was dark, so we couldn’t see each other’s faces. I could see the profile of the bus driver in his hat by the light of the dashboard, but no one else. We talked for quite awhile. Maybe that darkness encouraged people to be honest. Beliefs about who Jesus was varied from “a good man” to “a prophet” to “a son of God” (strangely echoing what the disciples said in the gospel about Jesus). I expressed a wish that I had my Bible with me on the bus; what do you know, one appeared. It took me awhile to find this passage; it was a King James Version and a little harder to read. But by the light of the driver’s console I read it. And that was the end of all the conversation; no one had any more to say, and I realized the whole bus was quiet. It was a strange feeling. I gave the Bible back to its owner with a thank-you, and silence reigned. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit there in that bus. After a while I fell asleep, and when we stopped again I had no idea who I had been talking to, but that was okay.
Tomorrow we celebrate Christ the King. To me it is like the advent of Advent. We celebrate Jesus, to whom every knee shall bow. Then, during the season of Advent, we will look forward to that coming. We consider the astounding and humbling power come down to restore us to a right relationship with God. Amazing love, how can it be?
He left His Father’s throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race;
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me.
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me!