“‘…But who do you say that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ…(Matthew 16:15-16).’”
Time out! All five of us kids flopped onto the curb. Some of the best two-hand-touch football games were played on my street in Detroit, and Butchy led us.
Butchy was older, so he was always the official quarterback for both teams. We all looked up to him. One of those guys you never forget; he made you feel like a million bucks. When Butchy chose to throw to you it made you feel special. You dare not drop it.
After some huffing and puffing, Butchy asked one of those playground questions kids ask like if you had three wishes or won a million bucks…“Who would you want to meet if you went back in time?”
“Daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy Son Jesus Christ…”
As if possible, we deliberated it with great seriousness. For 1971, our answers were predictable. Jeff chose Daniel Boone. Skinny Doogan picked Washington. Ray grabbed Lincoln, and that left me. The pressure was on, but I knew that the greatest “baseball card” to collect as a ten-year-old had to be Jesus.
Another playground question…Do Lincoln and Lee talk in Heaven?
Looking back, it just seemed like He was the one guy you’d want to meet above anybody else. This had nothing to do with theology. Even then I knew Jesus would be a wow-factor guy. He had all the answers, did miracles, and even rose from the dead! That sunny Detroit day is still clear to me 50 years later, and sometime in the next 50 I’ll get my wish.
The great Fess Parker
According to the Bible, seeing Him is a sure thing, as is meeting other famous Christians like Washington, Lincoln, and even the Apostle Peter…who saw Jesus, and heard Him ask that ‘who am I’ question in person! Wanna’ know a secret? You’re going to see Him too, eyeball to eyeball. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10).” So here’s my question, are you ready to meet Jesus?
I hope so, and I’m also hoping to see my buddies in Heaven too, especially Butchy. It’s not a fair comparison, but the way he made me feel is like Jesus does now…genuinely accepted, pretty darn special, and included right along with stars like Peter.
Peter’s answer is a classic because he caught that Jesus was God, in the flesh! Jesus threw a deep pass and Peter made a spectacular reception. Imagine his euphoria when Jesus looked at him in that recognition moment, and then consider what he felt later on when he denied his best friend…three times. Did you know Peter was so near that Jesus heard him? “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter (Luke 22:61).” Despite that rejection Jesus forgave Peter, and He can forgive you too. I hope you receive His pass before that day when He turns to look at you (John 1:12). You’d make a great catch.
The second best catch of all-time!
Butch (Frank Rokowski) front and center as usual, his brother Dave, and me with a popsicle