Friday, September 21, 2018

Where Jesus Has Gone

The modern Christian faith does not witness Jesus as much as the early Christian faith; we simply do not see Him in our world the way that the early believers did. There are two common misconceptions that modern Christianity holds onto that keep us from doing so.

The first misconception is that Jesus doesn't live here any more. God is no longer present.

We assume, and we are taught, that Jesus came, died, rose, left, and will be coming back again, but that we are now living in a time of the absence of Jesus. This is His "left" period, somewhere between resurrection and return. And it's quite easy then to say that if Jesus doesn't live here any more, we needn't spend our time looking for Him. He cannot be found. 

So we've stopped looking. We might, occasionally, look to the clouds to see if today is the day that He is coming back, but in terms of finding Him in our streets or on our seas or in our storms? Not a chance. It's kind of our dirty little secret. We talk about Jesus like He's near, but don't ask us what He's doing because He's not really here. Not as in, like, here

No wonder we're witnesses to our own human faith. We're not even looking for our Lord.

The second misconception is even more dangerous, if such a thing could even be believed at this point. What could be more dangerous than not even believing the Lord is present? Simple - we have a Christian faith that tells us that we are Him.

How often do you hear things like this coming from the church? You are supposed to be Jesus to this world. You are supposed to be His presence. You are His hands and feet. When the world is looking for Jesus, they are supposed to find Him in you. 

From here, it's just a short step to reach the point where we become witnesses to the human faith, to what we're doing, because, after all, what we're doing is what Jesus would do. We are Him. We love like Him. We talk like Him. We serve like Him. We judge like Him. We worship like Him. 

Want to see Jesus? Look at us. That's all you need to know. 

No wonder the world isn't impressed with Him. 

How could they be? Our love is nothing like His love. We aren't willing to die for one another; most of us won't even be temporarily inconvenienced for one another. Our grace is nothing like His grace. We aren't willing to eat with sinners; most of us are too busy judging them. Our speech is nothing like His speech. We won't speak the truth in love; most of us won't even whisper it, for fear of offending someone. 

And so, our witness is doubly dim, for not only are we no longer witnessing to His presence in the world (because He's not here and we don't have to), but we come nowhere close to living as witnesses by measure of our own faith. 

To that, I offer this: we must do something radical with our Christian faith if we are to recapture our Christian witness. We must learn to believe again. We must open our eyes to see the Lord that is truly present among us and be humble enough in spirit to admit that we aren't Him. Maybe it's true that we're living in the already-but-not-yet, but God Himself is still with us. 

May we be a people who see that with our own eyes and witness it to our world. 

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