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Jesus Won't Stay Where You Put Him

Updated on April 6, 2010

Why Do You Look for the Living Among the Dead?

Jesus has a way of never staying where you put him. In a stereotype, in a boat, in a tomb--Jesus often appears in a place you never thought to look and often is missing in the place you expect him to be.

When he was twelve, his parents and entourage busied themselves in Jerusalem's shopping mall. When it was time to make the long trip back, they expected him to be somewhere in the caravan. When they discovered he was missing, they returned and found him in the temple quizzing the experts and surprising them with his insight.

The people of Israel (and his disciples) had him pegged as the warrior Messiah who would deliver them from the Roman occupation and set up a new kingdom with the disciples as the members of his cabinet. He said if my kingdom were of this world my servants would fight---He said his kingdom was not from this realm. The people who initially followed him expected him to take the throne, not the cross.

As I related in my hub Jesus Would Look in Your Refrigerator, most of the religious leaders looked for him to hang around with them not the sinners and tax collectors he often taught and healed.

When Lazarus, a friend of his was sick, the friend's family and the religious leaders expected him to hurry back from the trip he was on to heal him. Instead, he waited until Lazarus died and came back three days after he had been buried for the famous resurrection scene. He cared for Lazarus and in the shortest verse of the bible it records: "Jesus wept." He cared about his friend but he had a lesson to teach everyone who feared the grave.

Speaking of the tomb, even though Jesus said over and over that he would be betrayed, crucified, would die, be buried and on the third day rise again, his disciples were flabbergasted that he was gone from the tomb where they had put him. I love the words of the angels who waited around to give them the wake up call:

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words. ~ NIV

He Won't Take the Easy Way

It Was a Wild and Stormy Night

After a big teaching session in a remote area near the Sea of Gallilee, the disciples left Jesus at his request and launched their boat to go home, fully expecting to have to go back and get him. Imagine their surprise when they looked out and there he was walking on the water. They were all afraid except Peter who said "Hey, Jesus, if that's you, that looks like fun, can I come out there too?" Jesus must have chuckled to himself, but all he said was "Sure you can, come on." Well Peter was doing great, sliding down one wave and then another, hanging ten and singing "Surfin' Safari" when all at once it dawned on him---I weigh more than water! All it took was for him to look around at the wind blowing, the crashing waves, the heaving ocean and do a little calculation on surface tension versus human mass and down he went.

Now I'm going to stop right here and talk about assumptions and ways of thinking. The title of this hub is Jesus Won't Stay Where You Put Him. Over and over, people during his 33 years on earth would try to pigeon hole him--Pigeon Hole: To place or file in a small compartment or recess--To classify mentally or categorize simplistically. When you try to get Jesus to stay in a limited category (or tomb), you invariably find he is bigger than you imagine him to be, more capable and infinitely more resourceful.

Jesus went over to Peter, reached out his hand and pulled him out and Peter once again was walking on water. Jesus asked him this question: Oh faith challenged one, why did you doubt? Now the word used there in the greek is the word "diakrino" from where we get the word deacon. The main meaning is actually to discern or to learn by discrimination, to try, decide, give judgment.

Now everyone would agree that judgment and discrimination is a good thing if you are going to cross the street. You need to be able to discriminate between red and green or you'll get run over by a truck. You need to be able to judge between ivy and poison ivy or as Steve Martin learns in the movie "The Jerk," between "shit and Shinola."

The problem comes when you start to use your God-given ability to discriminate between classes of people, worthy and unworthy based on race or income or belief. That kind of discrimination is not only against the law, but it deprives you of wonderful relationships. So in cases of race, status or income, we suspend this marvelous ability to judge and simply---don't.

Ok, back to the wild and stormy night. Why did the master of impulse, right-brained Peter, after jumping presumptuously onto the waves, decide to be a left-brained scientist and leave the world of the obviously supernatural for the world of the natural and predictable?

The answer is in the question. He put Jesus (and consequently himself) in a pigeon hole--this time the box was the natural universe, the predictable course of events, the known. Anytime we put Jesus in a box, a stereotype or a tomb, we limit not only him, but our access to miracles. I will freely admit that I am a man in need of miracles on a regular basis. The good news is that they frequently happen. When I have my mind and emotions so firmly fixed on the impossibilities, when I put Jesus in the box along with my doubts and insecurities that's when they disappear.

Dr. Tony Campolo relates the story of a serman he heard given by an old black pastor before Easter:

It was a simple sermon, starting softly, building in volume and intensity until the entire congregation was completely involved, repeating the phrases in unison. The sermon went something like this.

Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. It's Friday......But Sunday’s coming.

The disciples are hiding and Peter’s denying that he knows the Lord. (The pastor's voice stretches out and raises the first syllable of Friday) It's Sunday’s coming.

Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. It's Sunday’s coming.

Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. 

Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. (the voice starts to get louder...) It's Friiiiiiiday......But Sunday’s coming.

The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. 

See Him walking to Calvary, the blood dripping from His body. See the cross crashing down on His back as He stumbles beneath the load. 

It’s Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, “Father, forgive them.” 

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday’s coming.

It's Friiiiiiiday...The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God who will not abide with sin pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, “My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?” What a horrible cry. It's Friiiiiiiday......But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. And at the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil of the Temple that separates sinful man from Holy God was torn from the top to the bottom because Sunday's coming.

Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that’s because it’s Friday, and they don’t know it, but Sunday’s a coming.

And on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of Calvary. Satan thought that he had won the victory. Surely he had destroyed the Son of God. Finally he had disproved the prophecy God had uttered in the Garden and the one who was to crush his head had been destroyed. But that was Friday.

Now it’s Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn’t the only thing that was shaking because now it’s Sunday. And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb. Yes, it’s Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it’s Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says. He is risen indeed.

It’s Sunday, and the crucified and resurrected Christ has defeated death, hell, sin and the grave. It’s Sunday. And now everything has changed. It’s the age of grace, God’s grace poured out on all who would look to that crucified lamb of Calvary. Grace freely given to all who would believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary was buried and rose again. All because it’s Sunday.

At the end of the message the pastor shouts out:

It’s Friiidaaaay!

And everyone in the church shouts back: But Sunday’s Coming!

Where have you put Jesus?

What storm are you in the middle of trying to walk on water?

What has died that you think Jesus doesn't care about?

What about you makes you think Jesus would not like you?

It may be Friday in your life and your back is against the wall and your hopes are crushed....just watch...Jesus won't stay where you put him....Sunday's coming.

If You're Not Sure Where You've Put Him Watch This


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    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Thank you FR,

      I was reading about a visit to a town where they wouldn't keep quiet about His miracles, but kept saying "Everything He does is wonderful!"

      If they were more versed on their Isaiah they would have known that is His middle name. =: )

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Yes, Praise Him that He does not stay in that box we sometimes want to place our sweet Lord. He is risen!!! He is no longer on that cross, and what we fail to realize is that we can tap into that same resurrection power that raised Him from the dead, as a child of the King!

      I am so glad I have that personal and intimate relationship with Jesus, and He is right there with me through each and every trial I have every been through, and each day. I know all I need to do is to cry out to Him, and as He tells us in His Word, He will relieve me of my distress when I cry out to Him!

      Thank you for this powerful write here to glorify our sweet Lord God. I love your writing style. It is real.

      Voted up ++++ and sharing

      So glad I finally found your wonderful work here and that you do share your God-given gift of writing here on HP!

      God bless you. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Thank you MD, you can tell a lot about a person by what they write, but you can also tell a lot about a person by what they choose to read. You have made some great choices from my little menagerie of hubs.

      I should have said Jesus won't stay where you put Him except in your heart and I am eternally grateful for that exception. =:)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 years ago from The Caribbean

      Sunday's coming. He will not stay in the tomb, not in any other place where He is unavailable to us. Hallelujah! Thanks for this inspiration.

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi Izzy, thanks--it's what comes from going to church three times a week growing up. As an adult I find the disciples to be as prejudiced, bumbling and as fallible as I am and Jesus to be more interesting and far from our stereotypes.

      I like your example of the turban on the plane--the point is you use common sense and common decency. America is the land where we can disagree and have safety rules but we still defend to the death the right of others to be different and have and state their opinions. I, like Martin, have a dream too in which people are judged not by their color or gender but the strength of their character. Search the turban guy thoroughly and then have a drink with him and discuss Salman Rushdie.

      Thank you so much for daring to dialogue Izzy. I will spelunk the depths of philosophy and social concerns with you any time. =:)

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Izett 

      7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Well I learned where the term "shit and shinola" came from. Ha funny! But seriously I think you presented this message as non-threatening as only you could do. But the message is loud and clear. Really, well presented. Actually I got a couple of great messages from this. You are incredibly kowledgeable in the Bible- I'm not that well versed, but I'm still able to get how limiting Jesus could be if we kept him in various compartments within our life as needed.

      I agree on the discrimination and following our prejudice discussion, i would even state that sometimes prejudice based on race or culture does occur when combined with certain elements and situations- for our own protection usually. I gave the example in my hub as not feeling any differently toward Eastern Indians, but put me on a plane next to a fidgeting man with a turbin on and my prejudice radar will go off whether that's right or wrong, it serves a prupose.

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi Susan, you are welcome. I am happy you were moved by the message and I very much appreciate your comments. I'm glad Jesus doesn't stay where I try to put him. He knows where to be and when far better than my second guessing. Thank you for stopping by. =:)

    • SusanAdele profile image


      7 years ago

      A very Powerful message! Thank you so much. After reading I felt like I had been to a church meeting. Would have loved to been at that Easter Service, I bet it touched many a heart. Your Hub helped me to re-evaluate my own spiritual life and question "where have I put my Jesus." Thank you again. ???

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      LC you are most welcome. Most people have such a weird view of who Jesus is that I felt it might be helpful to share a fresh view of what the gospels plainly show. Thank you for your kind words and let your pastor know he can leave a comment without joining HP. Blessings

    • lctodd1947 profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Well, you are letting the Lord use you and this is a very great way to give Him glory. U of course get a rate up from me. I love the Lord and I am a Christian and yes Jesus lives. This is wonderful and I will forward to my Pastor. Thanks so much.

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Cathi, thank you for your comment. Speaking as a former pagan who now is humbly, eternally grateful for the Jesus celebrations going on in this formerly rebellious temple of my heart, I respect your preference to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus on Passover, but I am a living example of God taking something once committed more to the creation than the Creator and turning it into a brand new arena for His glory. I could have said: "God, I was formerly pagan and this body is not worthy to have you in it, could you give me a new one like you gave me a new heart?" He just says, if I am a part of you don't worry about what was before, if you are in Christ, I'll make you a new creation, all things will become new.

      Personally, I expect God to reclaim every day on the calendar. Paul took a pagan image dedicated to the unknown god and commandeered it. You never know what God is going to claim for Himself next--who knows, maybe even Easter. =:)

    • Cathi Sutton profile image

      Cathi Sutton 

      8 years ago

      Dear friend, I enjoyed this Hub in the vien it was written. However I do not celebrate Easter, due to the pagan origins of this holiday, which I believe to have replaced the importance of the Passover, which Jesus was celebrating on the evening of his being betrayed. Passover was commanded by God, the Father as the children of Israel were preparing to leave their captivity. The commandment was again commanded by Jesus durning the Passover meal when he said "Do this in rememberance of me". It is a Sabbath that, in my opinion, has been perverted by "man", to the detrement of mankind. However I did appreciate the interptutation of Jesus raising Lazurus, and of His and Peter's stroll across the waves! So, as your title implies, Jesus just won't stay where you put Him. Even on Easter Sunday!

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Lol, I know the feeling, when I try to pin Him down to my agenda, I often find He has other plans--which work out much better for me, by the way.

      Micky, I don't know how you slip in without my automatic notification beeping me--sorry I'm so late responding. I would talk to the hub heavenlies about this but I don't know how yet. =:)

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Winsome, this is such a great hub. Incredible! Fact is though- I have Jesus right here. He's--oops--He was here just a minute ago. I'll get back to you!

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Thanks Michael for stopping by and for your kind words.

    • Michael Shane profile image

      Michael Shane 

      8 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

      Very nice Hub! One to appreciate......

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Thank you Pamela. Nice to know we don't have to go through that isn't it? =:)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I loved your hub plus the video, and could just feel the tension of Friday coming even knowing that Jesus arose from the dead. Friday was the awful day of torture. Praise God Sunday came! God Bless!

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Thank you GL my wonderful cyber friend. The more you know about Jesus, the more you wonder why some christians call themselves that. =:) I just love that the God who watches over us all would meet us where we are and show us a way to live this life in love and faith.

    • Green Lotus profile image


      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Very well presented Winsome. I am not a Christian but I have great respect for both ancient history, (and I do not mean that in any cynical sense) as well as "out the box" , pragmatic biblical commentary. I also appreciate your comment "discrimination is not only against the law, but it deprives you of wonderful relationships". I hesitate to "judge others", but you don't often hear that from those who like to write about Jesus.

      I also enjoyed your "firewalking" story Ghost! A focused mind will get you far.

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Thanks for the anecdote Ghost. You do remember who was in the furnace with Shadrach and the boys don't you? "He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like the son of god" I do believe that the one who said "I will never leave you nor forsake you" is keeping his hand on you out there in the desert. Just don't put him in a box, he won't stay put. =:)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Well written. Though I'm not a Christian myself, I did study the King James version of the Bible "back in the day" and appreciate what you have to say here.

      And I can really, really relate to Peter's slip (and reassumption) of faith. Many possible examples, but here's just one that relates to "if you have the faith of a mustard seed", or words to that effect:

      (Yeah, I should do a hub on this. Someday....)

      Anthony Robbins is well known for his personal development seminars, books, tapes, infomercials, walking. Somewhere around 1990, I signed up for one of his sessions which was held in Philadelphia. He lectured us for a few hours, then--somewhere around 8:30 p.m.--all 200 or so of us adjourned to the open field near the hotel where we would do the fire walk.

      I'd have loved to chicken out but had set myself up deliberately by telling 50 or more of my top distributors in my sales organization that I was going to do this. No losee facee. So....

      Tony had informed us of a number of things:

      1. The length of the walk was "merely" 12 feet, but we'd be walking the coals at a normal pace in yes, bare feet.

      2. There was nothing fake about it, the coals being between 1200 and 2000 degrees.

      3. We were to mentally chant, "Cool moss! Cool moss! Cool moss!" as we walked. This would help hold us in the proper state of consciousness to protect our feet.

      4. We were NOT to "come out of state" until verbally advised it was okay. He'd once done that--and a coal that had stuck to the bottom of his foot had burned said foot severely. We saw blowups of the injuries on the big screen; very convincing. Since then, they'd added a hose with running water to hose down each walker's feet for safety.

      5. No one allowed to go more than once. Apparently some people become addicts.

      6. Every session, one or two people "just had to" get curious and come out of state to see if the coals were real--and got themselves burned. Don't be one of those people.

      My walk went well. Several short steps into it, I actually noticed that it did feel cool. This turned out to be not a matter of curiousity (I basically have none) but of distraction. Almost instantly I felt two sharp, small stings on my right foot. Knowing what that meant, I was able to snap right back into state, finished the walk, got hosed off, put on my socks and shoes, and returned to my hotel room.

      Where I took off shoes and socks, checked my feet and--yep, two pink marks where those coals had ALMOST burned me. Got my validation without hurtification.

      Which perhaps speaks to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as well....

    • Winsome profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Unchained Grace is welcome on the top of my list anytime. =:) Right up there with Redeeming Love, Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory....hey are those names taken?

    • Unchained Grace profile image

      Unchained Grace 

      8 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Ok. I guess I get the top spot here. Time and again, we lose when we expect what we shouldn't. We preassume the outcome and speak it into existance. When you predict failure, guess what happens? Like you said, you box yourself in really.

      Trying to put limitations on God based on your own preconceived notions about yourself do nothing but build a wall between yourself and God's plan for what you're doing. Great Hub!


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