|Create Date||January 9, 2019|
|Last Updated||January 12, 2019|
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Where is Jesus…NOW?
Redhill. 6 January 2019. Presented by Gordon Green
Two thousand years ago a group of men - after travelling about a thousand miles - arrived in Jerusalem searching for baby Jesus. They asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? (Mt 2:1,2) Today, Jan 6, is known as Epiphany on the church calendar which is the annual commemoration (and season) of the wise men who came from the east (perhaps Persia) looking for Jesus. “Epiphany” means “revelation” or “manifestation.” It’s about the manifestation of Jesus to the Gentile world. In other words God calls everyone to himself. The appearance of these wise men (in response to seeing a star that arose to announce the coming of a king) was a sign that all are welcome in Jesus’ kingdom. Their question was: “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” But what about today? If someone asked you where Jesus is today what would your answer be? Could you help them find Him? How should you respond? Where is Jesus now? Not what Jesus is doing now but where is Jesus now, present tense? There is not one single answer – here are 6 responses.
- Jesus is at the right hand of God the Father
The man who once walked among us sits on God’s throne at the right hand of the Father. But what does that mean? It doesn’t mean Jesus is sitting on a throne a million miles from here somewhere in outer space. No. Sitting at “the right hand” is a metaphor that speaks of authority, power and universal rule. It’s the same as saying Jesus is Lord. Some of the last words of Jesus to his disciples was “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”(Mt 28:18). In 1Peter 3:22 we read that Jesus “has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him”. God’s throne is not a place somewhere far away in the universe. Think about it: Where is God? Everywhere. “In him we live and move and have our being.” Ephesians 1:22-23: “God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” That is a deep mystery. Where is Jesus? He is everywhere. His rule extends everywhere. But let’s be more specific. Where is Jesus?
- Jesus is among the suffering.
“I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.’ (Mt 25:34-40).
Where is Jesus? Do you want to find him? He lives in the forgotten, in the ignored, in the hurting, the poor, the homeless, the abused, the woman trapped in sex trafficking, the prisoner, the widow, the orphan. Where is Jesus? He is among the suffering.
3. Jesus is among his church.
Jesus is the head of the church. The church is his body. Where the head goes so must the body. In Matthew 18:20 Jesus said “where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. Or “I am among them”. Message Bible; “When two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” Passion Bible; “Wherever two or three come together in honor of my name, I am right there with them!” When we preach, teach, baptise, pray etc He is there. Jesus created his church. He nourishes it with his own life and sustains it. He wants to express his character and nature through his body in a visible way. He wants his believers to continue his life and ministry on earth. Yes we see problems in the church and we can get discouraged and disappointed but he sustains it. He is working at making us ready for that great wedding day when the bride will become the wife of the lamb perfected in his likeness. Where is He? He is among his church – loving it, protecting it and perfecting his bride. Where is Jesus now? I want to say to you here:
4. Jesus is with you - always.
Mt 28:20: “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” That’s a promise. I know we don’t always feel this so we live by faith. A very helpful way of looking at this is remembering that Jesus said he is the good shepherd. A shepherd stays with his sheep - even sleeps with his sheep. When sheep fall and cannot get up where is the shepherd? Does he leave the sheep there? Does he leave the sheep to die? No. He comes alongside his sheep. When we fall or fail or are frustrated where is the good shepherd? Where is he? He is here and he comes alongside us to put us back on our feet. He is the restorer of our souls. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil for you are….” Where? With me. When you feel afraid Jesus is with you. When you feel forsaken, depressed, defeated, abandoned, alone, he is there with you. When you feel discouraged that you’re not growing like you want to, when you feel depressed that you keep having the same struggles and challenges and don’t see any progress in your spiritual life remember He will complete the work that he began in you because he is the author and finisher of our faith. He is perfecting what he started in you. We have nothing to fear. Your shepherds love will never leave you and he will see to it that all things in your life – whether pleasant or unpleasant will work for your good. When hard times come your way, it may seem that Jesus has quit his job but our good shepherd is never absent. He never sleeps. He never leaves us or forsakes us. Where is Jesus? He comes to where we are. He is present with us through the Holy Spirit. Walk by faith even in the darkness. He will not forsake you.
- Jesus is in you.
Paul wrote “we have this treasure in jars of clay”(2 Cor 4:7) which is a very poetic way of saying that the presence of God in Jesus living in you by the Holy Spirit is in the old cracked clay pot of our bodies. God dwells in you. That’s where Jesus is. That’s who you are. Christ is not just outside of us, a helper in our time of need, but he dwells in us, living in and with us all the time. That’s amazing. Do you realise that God’s life has been dispensed inside of you? You have the highest life-form in the universe dwelling inside of you – uncreated, holy, eternal life. And the most exciting news is just as Jesus lived by the life of his Father you and I have been given the privilege to live by His life. Why? So his image can be expressed in the earth. He is in us by his Spirit forming his character within each of us. The Christian life is the outflow of “Christ in you”. A prayer: “O Christ, my life, possess me utterly. Take me and make a little christ of me” – George McDonald. Spiritual growth doesn’t take place from the outside but from the inside out. He is transforming us (2 Cor 4:10-11).
- Jesus is in the bread and wine of communion.
In 1 Cor 10:16 Paul wrote, “The cup of blessing [of wine at the Lord’s supper] upon which we ask [God’s] blessing, does it not mean [that in drinking it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the blood of Christ (the messiah)? The bread which we break, does it not mean [that in eating it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the body of Christ?” Passion Translation: “…isn’t this our co-participation with the blood of Jesus…?” We can participate and share in this because Jesus is in the bread and wine. Communion is not just symbolic – it’s sacramental. In other words through a sacred mystery we participate in the body and blood of Jesus Christ that we might be his flesh and blood presence on earth. We take it into us and the life of Christ is communicated. All our 5 senses are encountering Jesus in this sacred moment. So we partake and encounter Jesus and participate in his life in his body in his blood. It’s a holy mystery. That’s where we find him. C.S. Lewis described this moment as one in which the other world--the one where Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty-- is so close that it's like the hand from "the other country" reaches through and touches our hearts and our minds.
So where is he? Right here. At the right hand of God. Right here. Among the suffering. Are you suffering? He’s right here. Among the church. Right here. With you always right here. In you. In this moment. In the bread and wine of communion right here. He is right here. We are here and Jesus is here.