Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Unexpected Jesus

“… unto them that look for him shall he appear...”  Hebrews 9:28

During His time here on earth, Jesus was found in not a few unlikely or unanticipated places. To begin with, it was not expected that the Messiah would be found in a lowly manger; and his parents would never have thought to look for Him in the Temple at the tender age of twelve. Later on, the disciples were surprised to find out that figure coming toward them on the boisterous sea was actually Jesus, walking on the water. And they were scared within an inch of their lives when He showed up in their midst a few days after His Crucifixion. You see, as it turned out, there was one place where everyone assumed He would be…but He wasn’t: the tomb!

Would you allow me to lift these nine words out of Hebrews 9:28 to challenge us about something I think we’re all guilty of from time to time? I realize, doctrinally, the verse is teaching that Christ came here the first time for the express purpose of taking our sin upon Himself; and having disposed of that sin, once and for all, will come back a second time for those who have claimed that redemption in Christ for themselves. But laying aside expectations of His Second Coming for a minute, I want to ask this question: Do I expect to meet Jesus today?

Did I expect to meet Him when I bowed my head in prayer this morning and opened His Word? After all, God reveals Himself to us the same way we reveal ourselves to others, by talking. Otherwise, He wouldn’t be a personal God. He shows Himself in Creation, but He reveals Himself by words, initially by conscience (Rom. 2:15), then His Word, and for the redeemed, by the Spirit of God. For this reason, you and I have every right in the world to expect to hear from Him regularly. His Word is not only true; it’s personal. It’s between Him and me. If what I’m reading is not necessarily to me, it’s still something He wants me to know, otherwise He would not have given it to me, pure and preserved (Psl. 12:6-7). Do I approach it with this kind of expectation? Remember, “unto them that look for him shall he appear.”

And how about this? Did I talk to Him in prayer as if He were there, or was it more of a recitation than a conversation? This is serious business. If I can’t be sincere and upfront with God, how real is He to me? We talk to people in order to communicate, with the expectation of some kind of response. They don’t have to agree, but we do assume recognition. Should we expect less from our heavenly Father, who went to the extreme measure of the giving the life of His Son so that He could have fellowship with us? I would contend we have every right to expect His attention. Even sin on our part can dull His hearing only as long as it takes us to ask for forgiveness. Do I come to prayer with the expectation of the undivided attention of God? Remember, “unto them that look for him shall he appear.”

Those nine words have pierced my heart today. I realize Jesus exceeds all our expectations; but that doesn’t mean we should be completely clueless. So often, reading His Word or talking to Him in prayer, I find myself saying, as it were, “Oh, it’s You!” How much better for Him to say to me, “Oh, it’s you!”

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