“My prayer is not for them [my disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

John 17:20-21


Not long ago someone asked me, “How can a person be conformed to Christ’s image?” My first response was relatively straightforward, an answer many might give: “Spend time with him, pray, read your Bible.”

But when I had more time to think, the following came to mind: Although the above are all good practices, I think we can go further. The simplest way to get close to Jesus is to do what a child might do. Imagine being near him.

When I was going through a very hard time I learned to close my eyes in the early mornings and imagine myself 2000 years ago, putting myself in the place of various characters of the Bible who had experienced Jesus’ healing.

I imagined the blind beggar sitting at the roadside. Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51) The man must have felt in awe to have this great rabbi pay such attention to him.   He was usually ignored. Jesus bent over him, restoring his sight in the amazing way he had become known for. But I believe the man received more than physical healing alone. I believe the greatest healing must have taken place in the man’s heart. Someone had cared about him in a way he had probably never been cared about before. As I pictured this, I felt Jesus caring about me as well.

I imagined what it must have been like to be the woman who was likely a prostitute – so deeply moved that her tears flowed over Jesus’ feet as he reclined at dinner. Where did all those tears come from? Have you ever felt such a great release of emotions? I wonder if it wasn’t the great joy of being loved in a way she had needed for a long time. As I sat in my leather chair thinking about this, I could not help but feel the way she must have felt. The love of Jesus overwhelmed me too, releasing me from the great need I’d had for so long.

I spent many mornings like this, close to Jesus, badly needing healing. Each morning I imagined myself as a different biblical character. Each craved the care and compassion Jesus offered. Each came to him and received it. I witnessed Jesus’ response: how he was able to feel what we felt; how he suffered along with us. And I found my own heart changing.

Just by being close to him, we ourselves can become more like him. We become as one with him, as he is one with the Father. He begins to live in our heart as he lives in his Father’s heart. And when Jesus lives in us, we cannot fail to be changed into his likeness. We will carry Jesus with us wherever we go. Jesus, that person we’ve come to know so well. That person who has grown to be such a part of who we are.

Jesus can heal us physically, but also emotionally. Over time, those who had been considered outcasts, started feeling they belonged. Through Christ’s love they grew strong. They gained the confidence to face life as new people.