Inspired by “When Jesus Came To Town” by Joe Antonelli
There’s this new game I discovered from the App store on my phone called Song Pop. Since downloading it, I have become quite addicted and have found myself to be quite good. If you’ve never seen or heard of it before, basically, you are paired up against an opponent. A song is played and you have four options for what the song or artist is. The faster you guess it correctly the more points you get. Well, with thousands of categories to choose from, the category that came up for my most recent game was Christmas tunes. The last song that played was Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Which got me thinking about When Jesus Came To Town by Joe Antonelli. I thought, what if I were to change the lyrics from Santa Claus to Jesus how would it turn out? Here’s what I Came Up With:
Oh! You better watch out, You better repent, You better not doubt, I’m telling you why:
Jesus Christ is coming to town!
He’s given His life, That you may live And bring you to your heavenly home.
Jesus Christ is coming to town!
He sees you when you’re sleeping, He knows when you’re awake. He loves you even when you’re bad, Although it makes Him sad!
Oh! You better watch out, You better repent, You better not doubt, I’m telling you why: Jesus Christ is coming to town!
I can’t even begin to imagine what it might have been like when Jesus walked from town to town. It must have seemed like a circus. People traveled from miles around just to get a glimpse of Him. Some just hoped they could brush shoulders with Him. They thought if I could just touch him just maybe I would be healed. And no matter how much the religious leaders tried to stop Him, Jesus always had a way of putting them in their place and making them look just a little silly. But with each town that Jesus visited, He didn’t just go there aimlessly. Jesus with each step He walked had a specific purpose and reason for doing so.
First, Jesus Christ came to proclaim good news to the spiritually hurting, to preach the good news to us. He came to heal the broken-hearted. Jesus came to set people free who are bound by sin. Jesus came to open our spiritual eyes to our spiritual need. He came to lift up those who are crushed by life. He came to give us abundant life. Jesus came to lift us from the physical realm of the senses to the spiritual realm to show us that there is more to life. He came to give His life for us. He came to die. Jesus Christ came to this earth to seek and save those of us who are lost, just as a shepherd seeks a lost sheep.
And though it may seem like a million years since Jesus was here on earth, Jesus is still doing the same things even today; which got me to thinking about what would happen today if Jesus came to town today? I think Focus on the Family got it right when they shared the following story:
Hey, I know what we can do today,” exclaimed my best friend, Kristy. “Go for a hike and enjoy the sunshine?” I suggested hopefully. “Nope. Let’s go downtown and practice presenting the gospel to people. It will help prepare us for our outreach in Tyonek next weekend.” (Tyonek is a small native Alaskan village near Anchorage). “Yeah!” my three children shouted in unison, scrambling to be the first out the door. Yeah, right, I thought. Just the mention of the word evangelize makes me break out in a sweat. Besides, we weren’t going to have to talk to adults in Tyonek, just do vacation Bible school with a few kids. “Um, I’ve got . . . stuff to do. You guys have fun,” I said. Kristy glared at me. “What kind of example are you setting for your kids? C’mon, Shawn. It’s not that hard.” “Yeah, Mom,” scolded Lindsay, my oldest. “You’ve always taught us that Jesus would give us the right words to say. It will be an adventure!” But I’m allergic to adventure. “Okay, I’ll go. Just don’t expect me to say anything. Evangelism is not my gift.”
We ended up at a beautifully landscaped park in downtown Anchorage. After a fruitless hour of trying to strike up conversations, I suggested calling it quits and going for an ice cream. The two older girls readily agreed, but Candyce, my youngest, hesitated. “But we haven’t talked to anyone about Jesus yet, Mom. Didn’t we ask Him to send us someone?” “Yes we did, Honey, but the people’s hearts don’t seem very open today. The Lord will have to lead us to the right person at the right time,” I explained.
That’s when we saw him. Dressed in faded jeans and a yellow sweatshirt and wearing a garish, multicolored afro wig, the slightly built man was passing out balloons and suckers to children playing in the park. Seeing my three girls, he skipped up to them and offered each a treat. Hmmm, this guy doesn’t seem like he’s in such a rush. Okay, Lord. I feel we are supposed to talk to him, but I’m out of my comfort zone. Help me out here. Unwrapping her sucker with gusto, 6-year-old Candyce popped it in her mouth, then remembered her manners. “Thanks! Hey, what’s your name? Why are you dressed like that?” “My name is Rainbow Rambo,” he replied with a sweeping bow. Straightening his wig, he asked, “And who might you lovely ladies be?” The girls hesitated a moment, but when I nodded, they introduced themselves to Rainbow.
“It’s awfully nice of you to spend a Saturday morning making people smile,” I told him. “It’s more like therapy,” Rainbow confessed, his smile fading. His real name was Daniel. He’d been through some hard times lately. He was being treated for depression. “The drugs help some,” he said, “but when I’m feeling really down, I put on this wig and come here and try to make people happy. I feel much better when I make others smile.” So, Lord, we’ve got a depressed, unemployed clown here. I suppose he’s a good candidate for the gospel. Just give us Your words.
Before I could respond, Danielle, the middle daughter, announced that she was starving. To death. And only french fries at the McDonald’s across the street could prevent her sudden demise. Looking at my watch, I realized it was lunchtime, and I was hungry, too. But shouldn’t we witness to Rainbow first? “Mr. Rainbow, do you want to get some fries with us?” Danielle asked. “Yeah, come with us!” her sisters agreed. “Would you like to have lunch with us, Daniel?” I asked, although he clearly had no say in the matter. “Sure,” he grinned, a bit of a sparkle appearing in his sad, brown eyes. “I haven’t eaten yet today.”
Kristy caught up with us at McDonald’s. We introduced her to Rainbow Rambo and shared a bit of his story. Without hesitation, she began to talk to him about Jesus. Rainbow put his hamburger down and glared at us. “Oh, I get it. You guys don’t really care about me. I’m just another notch in your spiritual belts. I know all about your Jesus. I’ve been to church—dozens of them. All I know is that Jesus never did a thing for me. And as for you people who call yourselves Christians—well, when I needed help and friendship most, you Christians have always let me down.” Pain and bitterness punctuated his every word. In Rainbow’s opinion, the only Christians he’d known had used and then abandoned him in his moment of need. He grew agitated as he described his painful experiences to us.
“What difference has Jesus ever made?” he asked, his voice rising. “What would change for me if your Jesus came to town today? Just what would He do?” Suddenly, inspiration came. “I think He would buy you a hamburger,” I said. “Excuse me?” Even my kids were looking at me as if I’d lost my mind. “I think Jesus would buy you a burger,” I replied. “He would know you were hungry and lonely. He would sit and listen to you. Best of all, Jesus would simply be your friend.” Rainbow looked puzzled, but he was listening. As were my children and Kristy. I kept going. “Daniel, Jesus couldn’t be here in the flesh today, so He sent us. It was really His idea to invite you to lunch, not ours. He wants to hear your heart’s cry, so He uses our willing hearts to listen.” Rainbow sat back in the booth, his brown eyes moist with tears. “Jesus told you to talk to me? Does He really care about me that much?” “He cares more than you know, Daniel.”
We later left Daniel that golden summer day, alone at his table. Alone, but basking in the presence of his newfound Friend. We never saw Daniel again, but we never forgot the wonder of seeing God work through our simple step of faith, revealing His loving heart to a hurting man—through a burger and fries.
So as I close, I want to challenge you to think about your own life. How would you respond if Jesus came to your town? How would you react? What would you say? What If Jesus came to your house to spend a day or two, If He came unexpectedly, I wonder what you’d do. Oh, I know you’d give your nicest room to such an honored guest, and all the food you’d serve to Him would be the very best, and you would keep assuring Him you’re glad to have Him there—that serving Him in your home is joy beyond compare.
But when you saw Him coming would you meet Him at the door, with arms outstretched in welcome to your Heavenly Visitor? Or would you have to change your clothes before you let Him in, or hide some magazines and put the Bibles where they’d been? Would you turn off the radio and hope He hadn’t heard, and wish you hadn’t uttered that last, loud, hasty word? Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out? Could you let Jesus walk right in, or would you rush about?
And I wonder … if the Savior spent a day or two with you, would you go right on doing the things you always do? Would you keep right on saying the things you always say? Would life for you continue as it does from day to day? Would your family conversation keep up its usual pace, and would you find it hard each meal to say a table grace? Would you sing the songs you always sing and read the books you read, and let Him know the things on which your mind and spirit feed?
Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you’d planned to go? Or would you maybe change your plans for just a day or so? Would you be glad to have Him meet your very closest friends, or would you hope they’d stay away until His visit ends? Would you be glad to have Him stay forever on and on, or would you sigh with great relief when He at last was gone? It might be interesting to know the things that you would do If Jesus came in person to spend some time with you.
Tim Ewing is the founder of Kindred Concert Ministries. You can learn more about Kindred by going to www.facebook.com/kindredconcerts or by emailing him at email@example.com
Joe Antonelli is a singer/songwriter from Wynnewood, PA. When Jesus Came To Town is from his debut CD titled Walk By Faith which can be purchased on itunes, CD Baby or on his website. For more information about Joe Antonelli you can go to his website at at http://joeantonelli.com
The story of Rainbow the Clown is courtesy of Focus on the Family
If Jesus Came To Your House is a poem written by Lois Blanchard Eades
Want to read other devotionals written by Tim? Go to: https://www.facebook.com/notes/kindred-concerts-for-christ/kindreds-devotional-series/463516160364310