Friday, December 2, 2022

A Personal Touch

We're talking, as Christmas is coming, about our need for Jesus not to be everything, but just to be one thing. 

While it's cool sometimes to talk about the overwhelming number of prophecies fulfilled in Jesus and to trace God's Promise of Him through the Old Testament and all the way to the manger, we have to be honest in recognizing that that's not what most persons were talking about around Him. It's not what the disciples were talking about, not what the Pharisees were talking about, not what the crowds were looking for. 

We never see someone crying out along the side of the road, "Jesus! Jesus! Were You really born of a virgin? Are You the Wonderful Counselor we were told about?" In fact, the only person to really ask this question was John the Baptizer, who sent to Jesus to ask if He was the one they were all waiting on, even though he, of all persons, already knew the answer to that. After all, he leapt in his mother's womb when the pre-born Jesus drew near. 

Jesus, a couple of times, asks something like, "Who do you say I am?" And every now and then, we get something saying, "You are the Son of God." (Or in the case of the Roman soldiers, "This was the Son of God.") 

But overwhelmingly, Jesus's ministry was not about the theological fulfillment of prophecies; it was about Immanuel - God with us. 

So what we see setting up is this very prominent distinction between those seeking for Jesus and those holding theological ideas. 

Those seeking for Jesus lined up on the sides of the road, climbed into boats, climbed trees, and followed Him everywhere. They longed just to reach out and touch His robe; they cried out for Him to touch them. They all had one specific thing that they needed Jesus to do or to be - restore my vision, heal my lameness, cast out my demon, rescue my child. 

And when these things happened (and notice, Jesus did every single one of them), we don't see a single one of these persons saying something like, "Thank You, Jesus. Now, if only You satisfied all of my theological curiosities, too." We don't see anyone saying, "I can see again! ...But I also have a bit of a trick knee right here that if You could just...." 

A man who has that one thing he needs Jesus to be is simply a believer when he discovers that Jesus is that one thing. Just like that. He doesn't have all of the answers. He doesn't have a solid 13-point theological doctrine. He doesn't suddenly have all the "learning" the religious leaders think he's supposed to have. But he knows this - Jesus is who he needs Jesus to be. 

That's the start of everything. 

On the contrary, and this is where the distinction becomes obvious, it is always those who haven't needed Jesus to be one thing, but have demanded that He be everything, who have the most questions. It is always this group that hesitates to have faith. It is always this group that is antagonistic. Because they haven't had the personal touch of God in their lives - they haven't sought it, and they haven't received it. 

Everyone who condemns Jesus never draws close enough to really get to know Him. They haven't come to Him for Him to be anything. To them, if He's not everything all at once (and very obviously), then He is nothing at all. 

Just look at them scoff - who is this man who thinks he can heal the lame? Well, if you would bring your lame self a little closer to Him and let Him touch your self-righteous heart, you wouldn't have to ask that question. 

It's always those at a distance who can't figure Him out. Those close enough already know.

And He is everything, sure, but that's not it: He is that one thing that you most desperately need Him to be. 

He is Immanuel. 

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