A Stranger on the Bus

December 2018






   I recently had part of a song playing in my head. Seven words on constant repeat.

   “What if God was one of us?”

   It turns out that the phrase is from a song released in 1995 by Joan Osborne called “One of Us.” I couldn’t recall hearing it before. I looked up the lyrics and downloaded the song. “What if God was one of us? Just a stranger on the bus?”

   I tend to imagine God sitting on a throne in heaven high above us. It hadn’t crossed my mind that He would come to visit. Would God really come to Earth? Would He interact with the people He met while here?

   As incredible as that may seem, there are references to God walking on Earth and talking with people throughout the Bible. Adam and Eve heard the sound of God walking in the Garden of Eden. They had a face-to-face conversation with the Lord and He made clothes for them (Genesis 3:8-24). Genesis 18 says that the Lord appeared to Abraham. Their conversation is recorded there. God appeared to Moses in Exodus 3. That chapter and a large portion of chapter 4 shared their conversation.

   There are many references in the Old Testament to conversations with the Lord. The text doesn’t say if that conversation was face to face or by some other means.

   There were times that God sent angels to Earth with messages for people. Sometimes He spoke through dreams or visions. Other times, He spoke directly to people who heard His voice but didn’t see him. 1 Samuel chapter 3 tells of Samuel’s experience.

   There are more accounts of God speaking with people in the New Testament. Acts 9 describes how Saul (later called Paul) saw a vision of Jesus while on the road to Damascus. Acts 10 describes a visit to Cornelius by an angel of the Lord. Peter was given direction through a vision.

   The most significant visit was when God sent His son Jesus to live among the people. Jesus was born, lived His childhood, and became an adult here on Earth. The New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John tell us about His life.

   During His ministry, Jesus taught people about the love of God. He healed the sick. He calmed the storm. He restored sight to the blind. He cast out demons. He raised the dead.

   Jesus performed many miracles but the most important thing He did was to die on the cross. He had committed no crime. He was an innocent man. He could have refused to endure the pain and suffering.

   But He didn’t. Jesus died on the cross so that all people would have the opportunity to spend eternity in Heaven.

   Why would God send His Son to die for us? John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

   Jesus was resurrected and appeared to His disciples before returning to God’s side in heaven. Mark 16: 9-19, Luke 24, and

John 20 and 21 tell of those appearances and conversations. In

John 14: 1-4 Jesus tells His disciples that He will go to prepare a place for them in heaven.

   Why would God visit, send messages, and sacrifice his Son for us? Why do you visit, send messages, and make sacrifices for your children? He loves us. He created us in His own image. He wants us to be with Him in heaven for eternity.

   Does God visit Earth today? Why wouldn’t he? We’re still his children. He still loves us.

   What if God was one on us? Maybe He’s the person standing on the street corner, or the person in front of you in the check-out line. Maybe He’s the person who helped you when your car broke down. Maybe He was the anonymous person who helped you when you were in need. What if He was a stranger on the bus?


Scripture quotes are from the New International Version of the Bible