Who Has Sought Jesus?
The biblical narrative reminds us that many came, and they all came looking for Jesus. The shepherds came, and Luke in his Gospel says they saw, they rejoiced, and then they returned to the field telling everyone the “good news.” The Magi (“wise men”) came bringing their gifts acknowledging Him to be the “king of the Jews” whose “star” they had seen.
From that far away place – probably in the vicinity of what is now Baghdad — they had traveled seeking the new thing God was doing for the world. This is one way Matthew has of saying in his Gospel the good news of God was for all people everywhere!
Zacchaeus came looking and had to climb a tree in order to see. His life was changed when Jesus looked up and said, “Come down, today I must abide at your house.” Blind Bartimaeus heard the noise and cried out; he received his sight, and followed Jesus.
The Greeks came that last week and declared, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” John says it is at this point that Jesus said, “Mine hour has come!”
Something about the Greeks coming, perhaps because they were foreigners and yet came seeking God’s revelation of himself, that clicked in Jesus’ mind the fact that his mission has been completed. The cross and resurrection came shortly thereafter!
They all came looking for Jesus . . . !
Each of us at one time or another in our lives came looking for Jesus, and our lives, too, were changed! Even today we look for Jesus . . . in our world of war, acts of hate, busy malls, crowded places, fears, and frustrations of everyday life.
Ours is much like the world of 2000 years ago . . . poverty, poor, homeless people, no room in the inn, taxation, folks in trouble with no one to help. Still, we look for Jesus in the midst of all of it.
Where Is God?
Victor Frankle described the awfulness of the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Dachau where 100’s of Jews died. The question came, “Where was God in all of this human tragedy?”
The answer most often given: “He was there in all the awfulness. He was there with his people in their suffering and death!” EMMANUEL – GOD WITH US.
The Rev. William Curlen, Bishop in Mecklenburg County and greater Charlotte, was on our campus some time ago. He told about being with Mother Teresa once in Calcutta. (A side note – I always wanted to meet Mother Teresa and I felt that we stood on holy ground that day when Father Curlen, a man who knew her well, told us about one of his visits.)
Who Is Jesus?
There in that awful place of poverty, sickness, and suffering of poor people who seemed to have little or no hope of life, Mother Teresa said to Father Curlen, “Would you like to see Jesus?” “YES!” came his excited answer. He said, “We went out into the street.
There was a poor man, almost a complete oozing sore from head to toe, dying. Mother Teresa took him in her arms, prayed, and spoke words of comfort to this poor, dying man. Later, she said to me, ‘You know who that was? That was Jesus!”
The “Word” in that moment became flesh – “As you’ve done it unto the least of these my brethren, you’ve done it unto me.”
The Real Meaning Of Christmas
At this Christmastime, we try to remember the reason for our celebration. I even heard serious words from “Santa Claus” at a church program in 2001 reminding us of the “real meaning” of Christmas – more than giving and getting!
It’s our love for God and our love for each other, he “preached.” Our gifts are simply reminders of God’s gift of His Son to us for the saving of the sinful world.
Dr. Seuss knew the real reason for the season and tells us clearly in his classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
It’s more than presents, lights, and trees, we are reminded. After the visit of the Grinch with his idea of “stealing their Christmas,” the Postman says, “I’m glad he stole all the presents.
Christmas is more than that. We’ll still have Christmas because we’re with our families and friends and we have love!”
WOW! We can say “Amen” to that, for sure!
Where To Find Jesus
We look for Jesus and we find him – in families, in friends, in church (in the music that leads us into worship, in sermons that remind us of the real meaning of the Christmas message), in love that binds us together (binds us to each other and binds us to God).
We look for Jesus and we find him as we serve each other. Holy Scripture pictures graphically this truth. “Love God, love your neighbor.” “As you’ve done it unto the least of these.”
Even in John’s foot-washing scene in the Upper Room, where the message seems to be – “Go out and do what Jesus has done,” and the “what Jesus has done” in this scene seems to be acts of loving kindness. This is the reason, I think, that Jesus seems to say to the disciples, “You don’t know what I’ve done to you, but when you know, do it.”
Loving acts of kindness – how the world needs that. Beyond the walls of the Upper Room, people need our love, our kindness; beyond the walls of the sanctuary, people are there in need of God’s love. They experience God’s love in our love for them!
Jesus In The Seminary
I remember at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, one night in the dorm a friend came to my room and asked for help.
I followed him to his room and for the next hour or so helped him hold a man down who was having delirious tremors, seeing snakes, bugs, all kinds of beasts that were tormenting him!
The man knew my friend from a mission in downtown Louisville and had no one else to turn to in his desperation.
After more than an hour, he was able to calm down and sleep soundly. The snakes, bugs, and other beasts had been defeated by love and care and prayer. At the Seminary, we looked for Jesus . . . and we found him in a dorm room, in a Louisville alcoholic who needed God’s help! “As you’ve done it unto the least of these my brethren . . .”
Jesus In A Small Southern Church
I remember at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lancaster, S.C., one Sunday evening a family was there. Strangers. A Mom and Dad, and two little children.
They told of their struggles to make ends meet and their hard times.
We took up a love offering and sent them happily on their way with food, gasoline for their car, and some extra money for unexpected needs as they made their way home in Florida.
At church we looked for Jesus … and we found Him in a family in trouble. “As you’ve done it unto the least of these my brethren . . .”
Where To Find Jesus? — Wherever We Look!
The point of all this – we confront Jesus not just in sermons, or music, or Bible stories . . . We confront Jesus almost everyday in every place in people.
SO . . . always, always remember and especially at this Christmastime, when you are looking for Jesus —- “As you’ve done it unto the least of these my brethren, you’ve done it unto me . . .
About the Author
G. Byrns Coleman is a retired Professor of Religion and Chair of Department of Religion & Philosophy, Wingate University, Wingate, NC . He is also a member of Wingate Baptist Church .
Many of us spend a lifetime looking for Jesus but Dr. Coleman directs us toward finding the Savior in just a few paragraphs. Read this unique Christmas story twice and bookmark it for future reading. It’s a real blessing. – Bob
If you would like to learn more about how to receive the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to go here.