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    Friday, July 1, 2011

    Missing Jesus

        "The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God". (John 1:9-13 ESV)

      I've been re-reading through the book of John and I continue to get hit with some great things in this book.  John is, I think my favorite author of the Bible.  He wrote John, 1-3 John and Revelation, all of which are books I deeply enjoy and grow much from reading.

      Here, in the opening pages of John's Gospel, we see something very interesting happen.  God Himself comes to earth and many miss it.

      John shares this beautiful story of God coming into human history, dwelling among the people (John 1:14 ESV) and he shares that we was not received by His own people.  In essence, they missed Jesus, God come from Heaven, putting on flesh to live among them and they miss him.

      What a thing to miss.  What a sad testament to the greatest teachers of the Bible history has known.

      I think the question needs to be answered: who missed Jesus?

      Here, one must look at the totality of Jesus' life in order to find the answer.  Some people did receive and find Jesus, others did not.  The group that seemingly missed Jesus the most however were the religious Bible Teachers of the day.  The guys who knew the Bible inside out, anticipate the Messiah the most and preached sermons on Saturdays for years on end...those were the guys that missed God.

      When I see this played out in the story of Jesus, I automatically start calling those guys bone heads and ask: "How could you miss Him?"  Yet, I have their same title today: Religious Leader.  I am a leader in Christianity.  I am a Pastor, I am a Bible teacher.

      Once this reality sinks in, a get a bit humbled.  I now start to think: would I have missed Jesus?  Maybe I would have.  Maybe I struggle with the same things the Pharisees did. 

    Maybe I need to ask now: Why did they miss Jesus?

      Here again, we need to look at all 4 Gospels, the total picture of Jesus life.  What did Jesus call them out on the most?  What did he suggest through his rebukes was the reason they missed it?

    Self-righteous Pride

    These men were very worried about their appearance.  These men wanted the respect and love of the people.  These men desired to control the mass populace with their rules.  They earned it, they assumed because of their amazing life.  The deserved God's love and the unwavering loyalty from the people because they served God and they lived their lives for Him.

      Yet, whose applause did they live for?  Who did they seek to give the honor, praise and glory to?  Why in fact did they dedicate their lives to service to God?

      I think deep down they desired to serve God, but their pride and the motive of self won each time.  They loved the honor they received.  They loved how the masses followed their new regulations, which were added onto the Law from God.

      Jesus shook this group up.  His coming was not as they expected.  These men were so blinded by what they "predicted the Messiah would look like" that they missed Him.  They had wrongfully assumed that the box they build for the Messiah would fit and anyone who didn't fit the box was obviously (to them) not the Messiah and no one (not even God Himself) could deter them from this.

      Now, with that in mind, I can look into myself and ask: would I miss Jesus?

      Have I added to the Bible for control of others?  Have I desired the applause of men over God?  Do I try to fix and clean my appearance, while ignoring my heart?  Have I boxed God in so much that I couldn't let God himself bust my box?

      The answer is sadly yes.  I do care too much what others think.  I do try to make myself look nice and neat on the outside while my heart is a mess.  I have boxed God in and I like the way my boxed God functions.

      God desires to break my box.  He desires to call me out and make me different than I ever thought possible.  He is expanding my box.  He is calling out my heart and demanding that I think less of other people's opinions and think more of His opinion.  I do NOT want to miss God.  No matter how busy I may get, no matter how hard things get, may I not Miss God!

    Do you struggle like the Pharisees?  Have you boxed God in?

    May You also come to see Jesus and walk in the promise that seeing Him brings: being called a Child of God!