A few years ago, a Memphis TV station aired this story, which later gained national attention, about a courageous woman named Pauline Jacobi.
92-year-old Pauline Jacobi reads her Bible every day. Her strong faith keeps her going in life and may have saved it after she almost became the victim of a parking lot robbery. Jacobi had just finished putting her groceries inside her car at a Dyersburg Wal-Mart when a man jumped into the car through the passenger’s side door. He told Jacobi he had a gun and that he would shoot her if she didn’t give him money.
“I’m not going to give you my money,” Jacobi said.
In fact, she told him “no” three times.
Then she started to talk to him.
“As quick as you kill me I’ll go to heaven and you’ll go to hell,” Jacobi told the man. “‘Jesus is in this car and he goes with me everywhere I go.”
She recalled “He just looked around and the tears just began coming down his eyes.”
She told him to ask God for forgiveness and ministered to him for 10 minutes inside her car.
“He says, ‘I think I’ll go home and pray tonight,'” Jacobi said. “I says, ‘You don’t have to wait until tonight. You can pray anytime you want to.'”
As tears were rolling down the man’s face, Jacobi voluntarily gave him $10 – all the money she had.
“When I told him I was going to give him the money, I said, ‘Don’t you go spend it on whiskey either,'” Jacobi said.
The man thanked her for the money and kissed her on the cheek. Then he walked away….1
How did this elderly woman have the courage and boldness to stand up to this armed attacker without backing down? What gave her the love then to minister to this man and to encourage him to pray and get right with God? One thing is certain – she was absolutely convinced of the immediate presence and reality of Christ with her, not only in that moment of crisis, but all the time. To Pauline Jacobi, Jesus Christ was more than a biblical figure. He was a living reality in her daily life, and he was right there with her in her moment of crisis.
As followers of Christ, shouldn’t we be just as convinced of his presence in our day-to-day lives? Jesus himself promised his disciples that he would continue to be present with them after he physically left the earth.
Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Did Jesus make this promise only to his immediate disciples? Or does it apply to those of us today who have made him Lord and who choose to follow him? If you’re reading this article, then the end of the age has not yet arrived, and Christ’s promise still holds true today.
It’s noteworthy that these were some of the final words Jesus shared with his disciples before he departed this earth. Often one’s final words take on added importance, and Jesus took this opportunity to emphasize that he would continue to be with his disciples right up until the end of this age. It’s also significant that Jesus’ declaration was given in the context of the great authority that God had given to him – authority that he has now given us to use, in his name, as his representatives in this world.
Matthew 18:19-20 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”
When we meet with other believers, are we mindful of Christ’s presence in our midst? Do we remember that Christ is right there with us in every situation we encounter? Are we willing to let him guide our words and actions in the way we deal with everyday situations? How would our interactions with others change if we held this awareness all the time?
For the Apostle Paul, after he became a follower of Christ, it was a staggering realization that the Son of God was living inside of him – a reality that God had to reveal to Paul.
Galatians 1:15-16 “But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood”
It must have been a life-changing truth for Paul, who had been a zealous Pharisee and who was very knowledgeable in the Scriptures, to come to the realization that the very Messiah, Jesus Christ himself, was now living in him and through him. After receiving this insight, Paul did not immediately discuss it with others. He did not travel to Jerusalem to be with the church leaders in order to get their opinion. Instead, he went to an unlikely place where there were very few Christians at that time – Arabia. It’s quite possible that he just needed an extended time alone with the Lord to assimilate the magnitude and implications of this revelation.
Eventually, the truth of Christ living his life through him became such a compelling reality to Paul that he no longer even considered himself to be alive any more – rather he viewed his life as a manifestation of Christ himself living through him.
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Like Paul, we have the amazing privilege of allowing the risen son of God to live his life through us! Jesus can live in us wherever we go if we open our hearts to him and let him do his work in us. He can live in our words and actions and as we reach out to those in need. He can live in us as we speak words of love to the unlovable and as we encourage the disheartened. As our awareness of Christ grows, along with our willingness to let him do his work through us, own problems and issues begin to diminish in importance. Our lives become more about him and less about us. Christ is no longer just part of our lives, he becomes our life. He is our life.
Colossians 3:3-4 “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”
Perhaps these wonderful truths add deeper meaning to Paul’s declaration in Colossians.
Colossians 1:26-27 “that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
The term “Christ in you” is not simply a statement of belief, a theological abstraction, or part of a Scripture we memorize. Rather, this is a powerful truth, one which Satan would rather we remain ignorant of − that Christ can be a living presence in us and with us wherever we go. What a glorious reality! Wherever we are, we have the awesome privilege of allowing Christ himself to manifest his presence through us to the world around us! No matter what situations we find ourselves getting into, Jesus Christ goes along with us, so we never have to deal with them alone.
God’s great prayer for us in Ephesians 3 is that Christ would dwell in our hearts by faith. Will you let him dwell in your heart, and will he live his life through you today?
1 Taken from a WMC (Memphis TN) Action News Report, Dec. 6, 2007