Wednesday, January 4, 2017
All of us have heard someone speak of their "coming to Jesus" moment by saying, "I found Jesus." Not too many years ago those words made a popular bumper sticker in these parts. While everyone understands what the user of those words means, it is still an example of some poor theology. People do not find Jesus. It simply does not work that way. Jesus is not playing some game of "Hide-and-Seek" with us as He hides and waits for us to find Him. The truth is if it were left up to us to do the finding, it would never happen.
The first chapter of John give us examples of Jesus calling disciples. In the 43rd verse it says, "He (Jesus) found Philip and said to him, 'Follow me.' " The languages convey an intentional deliberate seeking out of this man. It brings to mind another seeking moment on the part of God. In the Genesis story, we see God in the Garden looking for the couple who had succumbed to temptation and were hiding from Him. Even though they had been disobedient, He was the One doing the seeking. It is the theme of scripture from beginning to end. In Romans the Word of God says, "But God proves His love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) The God of the scripture is a seeking and finding God.
Our encounters with Jesus are not about our playing some spiritual insider trick, but about God in His mercy and grace making it possible for us to know Him. As sinners being in the same room with God is an impossibility. He is holy. Our sin excludes us from experiencing His presence. But, Jesus has come, not to condemn, but to save us and deliver us to God the Father. Jesus knew where to find Philip just like He knows where and how to find each one of us. Thanks be to God for this unimaginable and unexplainable gift!