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Jesus Won't Stay Where You Put Him
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 Friii...day......But Sunday’s coming.
Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. It's Friiiiii....day......But 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:
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?
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