A Good Impression
Read John 1:1-18.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (vv. 1, 14).
Women left him their phone numbers, and so many people gathered in front of the door to his dorm room that it scared him off. Yep, that was quite an impression Darius Walker made.
On Sept. 11, 2004, late in the first quarter, Walker entered a college football game for the first time ever. His mom once observed of her son, “He loves the stage.” This was one of the biggest stages college football had to offer: the Michigan game. The Wolverines were ranked 8th in the country and were favored; the game was at home and was nationally televised. The freshman desperately wanted to make a good first impression. He did just that.
Walker carried the ball 31 times for 115 yards that day. More impressively, he scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to propel the Irish to a 28-20 upset.
Then he got a taste of the impression he had made. When he returned to his dorm room a few hours after the game, thirty to forty people were there waiting for him. “I’m like 18 at the time, so I have no idea what’s happening,” he said. He ran off, taking shelter in a friend’s room for a while before trying again.
This time instead of the people, he found a giant white sheet of paper on the floor. Written on it were messages such as, “We’re your biggest fans” and “You’re our savior.” A number of women had left him their phone numbers.
“It was the most ridiculous thing I had ever seen,” Walker said, “but it was also the most humbling thing I had ever seen.”
Walker went on to make a lasting impression. He turned pro after three seasons, leaving as the school’s fourth-leading rusher. He set the school record for most catches by a running back.
That person in the apartment next door. A job search complete with interview. A twenty-year class reunion. The new neighbors. We are constantly about the fraught task of wanting to make an impression on people. We want them to remember us, obviously in a flattering way, which means we perhaps should be circumspect in our personal conduct.
We make that impression, good or bad, generally in two ways. Even with instant communication on the Internet — perhaps especially with the Internet — we primarily influence the opinion others have of us by our words. After that, we can advance to the next level by making an impression with our actions.
God gave us an impression of himself in exactly the same way. In Jesus, God took the unprecedented step of appearing to mortals as one of us, as mere flesh and bone. We now know for all time the sorts of things God does and the sorts of things God says. In Jesus, God put his divine foot forward to make a good impression on each one of us.
It was my induction into the craziness that is Notre Dame football. — Darius Walker, recalling the hoopla after the 04 Michigan game
Through Jesus’ words and actions, God seeks to impress us with his love.