November 2017



One of the Puzzling Questions we have been looking at is: Have you ever been mistaken for someone else? And similarly, have you mistaken a stranger for someone else?

I remember being mistaken in the past for Nick Cotton from EastEnders - on more than one occasion, which I can only think was thanks to a sleepless night before! While Sarah has mistaken someone else for me at a party, but that is a different story!

I can't imagine wanting to start a conversation with Nick Cotton’s character, but I can imagine people wanting to meet the real person who is behind the character, perhaps to discover whether the actor is indeed different to their persona.

It can also be equally entertaining when the real person is not recognised. Such as when there is a lookalike contest and the real celebrity enters (anonymously) and is judged only to be the third best lookalike for themselves!

In both cases, the natural outcome is disappointment for one or the other. The Bible tells us that we will never be disappointed in God. I want to say that the reason we sometimes are disappointed is because we have mistaken ideas about who God truly is.

It seemed to be a common feature of Jesus’ encounters, with people regularly asking him – Who are you? Is he a prophet, a madman or the Messiah? The difficulty has always been that Jesus doesn’t wear a name badge saying ‘I am the Messiah’, and our photo-fit ideas of who Jesus really is can mean that we don’t always recognise Him when he comes near, rather like Cleopas on the road to Emmaus. He reveals himself to those who come close enough to see the real Jesus.

In the coming weeks, we will be approaching Advent, that time of preparing to celebrate God coming among us so that we may truly know Him. Between now and Christmas we will all see Jesus the Messiah mistaken for a helpless baby in a manger, for Father Christmas’ warm up act and the excuse for society’s poor behaviour towards one another. If that is who you think Jesus is, then you are indeed mistaken.

Yet this is the good news, the closer we become, the better we get to know Jesus and the more we recognise him for who He is and the less he resembles the caricature of who the world imagines him to be.

Every blessing,