Sitting in a Seat Across from Jesus

March 25, 2024

One Easter morning, a woman’s car wouldn’t start and so she called for an Uber to pick her up. Halfway through the ride, she asked the driver a question, but the driver didn’t respond. She leaned forward and tapped the driver on the arm. The driver let out a loud scream, swerved into the other lane, almost hit another car, slammed on the brakes and skidded over to the shoulder. The woman and the driver sat in silence for a minute, and then she said, “I’m so sorry. I had no idea that tapping your shoulder would alarm you like that.”

He responded, “You really didn’t do anything wrong. This is my first day driving for Uber. You see, for the past 25 years, I’ve been driving a hearse.”

Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the incarnate one, God made man. To believe that it really happened is an affirmation of faith. To believe that God could or would do such a thing is to believe that God has the power to alter the course of history.

At one level, it really doesn’t matter if we believe it or not, for the belief that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead altered the course of history. At a personal level, it makes all the difference in the world if you and I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, risen to rule the world. Far more important than altering the course of human history, our Christian faith makes a claim that God is seeking to alter the course of your history and mine.

Imagine, if you will, that you are sitting across from Jesus. He looks at you with the eyes that pierced the soul of so many people in the Bible, and you know better than to say anything. Instead, you wait for him to speak first. What does he say?

Does Jesus sit with you in judgment? Perhaps we hear Jesus say, “You are too proud, give up your foolish pride and seek forgiveness from your spouse, or parents, or children or a friend.” Maybe he tells you to stop thinking so much about money, sex, alcohol or drugs. Maybe he says to stop worshipping idols, and worship God and serve him only.

Judgment not only helps us to focus on the destructive aspects of our lives, it prepares us for forgiveness. So, maybe Jesus is sitting before us to offer us forgiveness. Perhaps he will offer us forgiveness for the mistakes and sins we made raising our children. Maybe we need to be set free from being bound by the way we have handled business affairs in the past, or our past failures. Maybe what we need most is to be given permission to forgive ourselves, and Jesus will let us know that God has forgiven us a long time ago, that we judge ourselves too harshly.

Jesus may be sitting in a judgment seat, or a forgiveness seat, but he is certainly sitting in a position to grant us a new life. He may tell us to keep up the good work, and say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” He may speak words of comfort and encouragement.

After the resurrection, Simon Peter saw the Lord on the beach and was consumed by guilt. After they share breakfast together, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love (agape – unconditional love) me more than these?”

Peter answers, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love (phileo – brotherly love) you.”

Two more times Jesus and Peter share these words with one another. Perhaps because of the guilt of denial, Peter is unable to answer that he loves Jesus with agape, unconditional love. But Jesus knows Peter will one day fully understand unconditional love, and he calls Peter to “feed His sheep.” Peter found forgiveness, and he found a new life. That new life transformed him from a fisherman to a fisher of men, a powerful force to lead Christ’s church in its early days (John 21:15-19).

Peter knows what judgment for sin is like, he knows the power of forgiveness, and how that empowered him to continue as a disciple of Jesus after Jesus’ resurrection, and learn how to love unconditionally. Since that time, God has altered the course of history in the lives of millions through the resurrection of his son. Let God alter the course of your history.

If Jesus were sitting with you on His judgment seat, what might He say? Are you too proud? Is there someone you need to ask for forgiveness from? Do you have an idol that is more important than God? What sin would you like to hear Jesus say, “You are forgiven?” In what part of your life do you need to experience resurrection, new life, and/or a rebirth? (To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles, see