One of my favorite TV shows is Undercover Boss. I love the optics of the company CEO interacting with workers who are unaware of who is in front of them. I love the way the company top dog almost always goes un-noticed, while all the while unearthing deep personal revelations from those who are “training” them.
Another Undercover Boss
Kinda’ reminds me of another Undercover Boss with Whom we’re all familiar.
This Boss had an eternal identity no one else ever had or ever will have. Truth be known, He was the One for Whom His people had been eagerly waiting for hundreds of years. So you’d think He’d arrive on the scene with a grand entry, right? Not exactly. Instead, He was born and raised in anonymity–in a small “backwoods” village, cut off from the big city and unbeknownst to his neighbors and peers. Most of His life was spent doing the mundane job of a carpenter. There was nothing whatsoever about His appearance that set Him apart from anyone else.
After going public, He immediately began to attract the crowds. They came for what they could receive from Him, all the while not knowing Who He really was. He elicited confessions of pain and suffering the likes of which you or I have not seen—all from strangers. And He also elicited the wrath of those who deemed Him a dangerous rival.
Yet none of these people knew Who He really was. Sometime after His very public execution, one of His followers declared that none of those who sought His demise had a clue of Who He really was (Act 2:8).
Keepin’ it Real
What would your reaction be if Jesus showed up in your home, your church, or even at your cubicle today or tomorrow?
Or maybe I should ask this: would you or I even recognize Him if He stood up in front of us in our home, our church, or our cubicle?
Don’t be so quick to answer. After all, He wasn’t very well-recognized by His own “kinfolk” in Galilee 2000 years ago. And last time I checked, human nature hasn’t changed a lot since then. We still expect Him to fit our preconceived notions of who He “should” be. We still expect Him to look and act the way we think the Savior of the world should look and act. An average guy or gal—maybe even one who is overweight or wears earrings—need not apply.
All this translates into a dangerous cocktail of pride, arrogance, and self-righteousness which leaves no room for the Holy Spirit. And considering that Jesus told us that it is only by the Spirit that we would understand His words (John 6:63) or any truth at all (John 14:27), then you can easily see how we wouldn’t fare much better than the ancient Galileans or Judeans did when it came to discerning Who it is staring at us right in the face.
Let’s imagine Jesus shows up in front of you minus the white robe, the long flowing hair, or the beard. Let’s say he’d appear today “disguised” as a regular common man or woman who just happened to be armed with love, healing, and truth? What would your reaction be? Would you want what you could get out of Him? Would you drive Him away from you because you didn’t want to hear His message? Or would you be drawn to Him? Would you be willing to leave everything behind to follow Him?
On the other hand…
Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’ve already been drawn to Him. You’ve already left your old life behind to follow Him. You’ve already counted yourself dead to the desires of this world and are looking forward to your eternal inheritance with Him. And it’s to you that the “end of the show” applies!
At the end of each “Undercover Boss” episode, the CEO-in-disguise not only reveals His identity but also reveals the rewards he or she has for the front-line workers who are giving their all. If you’re familiar with the show, you’ve seen the tears of joy on the faces of those deserving men and women who’ve gone through so much pain and yet have persevered. You just want to rejoice with them, don’t you?
Well guess what? The rewards awaiting you are far greater than anything that could be offered by an earthly tycoon. They are eternal rewards that no eye or ear can conceive of, including:
- the reward of eating from the Tree of Life which is in God’s very Paradise (Revelation 2:7);
- the reward of partaking of hidden manna (Revelation 2:17);
- the reward of ruling over the nations (Revelation 2:26);
- the reward of knowing Him intimately (Revelation 2:28);
- the reward of eternal life (Revelation 3:5);
- the reward of being an eternal pillar in His Temple (Revelation 3:12);
- the reward of sitting with Him on His throne (Revelation 3:21).
The conclusion of the story…
The rewards given by the undercover bosses we see on TV are paid for by the hard work of these CEO’s built up over a lifetime. The rewards given out by Jesus have been paid for by His own body and blood. Indeed, we ourselves are His reward!
He sees your inner being coming into alignment with Him. He sees who you are in the inside bearing fruit on the outside. He sees every act of obedience that comes from an inner heart of humility and gratitude. He even sees your persistence in the face of unspeakable suffering. If not a hair of our heads goes unnoticed, then certainly He doesn’t fail to notice a moment of true righteousness emanating from His Spirit residing within His children. He looks for every single “excuse” to lavish us with His goodness.
After all, He is the ultimate undercover Boss.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him; but the world did not know Him. He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him. But whoever did receive Him, those trusting in His name, to these He gave the right to become children of God. They were born not of a bloodline, nor of human desire, nor of man’s will, but of God. John 1:10-13 (TLV)