Thursday, November 2, 2017

In Plain Sight

So far, we have seen that in the Gospels, some of those who came to Jesus walked right up to Him. Others were brought by family or friends. Today, we will look at a third group of persons who came to Jesus - those who were found by Him.

There were a number of men and women who were just going about their business who Jesus takes it upon Himself to encounter. There is, of course, the man with the deformed hand who was in the Temple on the Sabbath. It would be completely reasonable to expect a faithful man to be in the Temple on the Sabbath; that's where he ought to be. It's where Jesus, as a good Jew, ought to be. So their paths cross, Jesus encounters the man, the man finds himself come to Jesus, and he is healed.

There's another similar story about a woman who is swollen and doubled over, we can assume in modern terms by arthritis of some sort. Again, she has come to the Temple on the Sabbath, assumedly the way that she always had. She didn't know this was going to be a different kind of day for her, but here she is, and Jesus encounters her. She finds herself come to Jesus, and she is healed.

Jesus shores His boat on the far side of the sea, near a spot where there happens to be a cemetery, which just so happens to be the dwelling of a demon-possessed man that the townspeople have long since given up on ever seeing whole. The man is shouting, screaming, foaming at the mouth (at least, the demons are) when Jesus encounters them, and they find themselves come to Jesus. The demons are cast out; the man is healed.

Jesus and His disciples are traveling through the region of Samaria when He stops by a well to rest while His disciples go on ahead to find something for dinner. There just happens to be a woman at the well who has come so late in the day to avoid meeting anyone there. But Jesus encounters here anyway, tells her her life story, and, finding herself come to Jesus, she is healed.

Or what about Zacchaeus? This tax collector, too short to see in the thick of the crowd, climbs a tree to get a better look at Jesus as He is passing by. He hasn't figured that Jesus would even notice him, but He does. Jesus encounters him in the tree, calls out to him, invites Himself to the tax collector's home and, finding himself come to Jesus, Zacchaeus is transformed. 

Coming to Jesus is not always about taking the initiative to step forward, to come down the aisle, to seek Him out. Sometimes, we're just going about the regular things that we do in our day, the faithful little things that make a day a day, when all of a sudden, there's Jesus. He's right here. We've not necessarily come to Him, but He has encountered us and we find ourselves come without ever even going. 

It's beautiful, really. It's beautiful because it reminds us what a loving, personal, intimate God we have. He doesn't expect us to always be the seekers. He doesn't expect us to do all the work. He doesn't lay the burden on us to take control of our own destinies and determine the course of our lives. No, He's right there with us. As much as He longs for us to encounter Him, He has come to encounter us. He's got as much in this as we do, and it's not all up to us individually. It's us and Him together, the way that it's always been. 

It's always striking to read God's Word and discover just how many men and women in His story have had their lives dramatically changed not because they came to Him, but because He came to them. And He's still coming. And every time He does, it proves once again that what He has said is true,

I am with you always. 

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