Going To See......What?


     In Matthew 11, Jesus asked His listeners this question concerning their interest in John the Baptist, "What did you go out to see.....?"  That question has been finding a place in my spirit as concerns my, our, reasons for, interest in, going to both the Lord, and His "church."  Why do we go to Him?  Why do we "go to church?"  What is it we're after?  What do we expect to see?  A blessing?  A show?  A social event?  Jesus obviously thought this was a legitimate question to ask.  Can it be any less legitimate that He ask it of us today?
     Lots of people are "interested" in Jesus Christ.  As I heard it put, interest in Him does not make for a life lived in Him.  Many things may have our interest.  They don't have our heart.  Could Jesus very well be just one more of our "interests?"  Someone we're willing to invest some time in, perhaps even to the point of going to a place, "church", where we can hear songs sung about Him, and hear men and women talk about Him?  It can interesting.  He can be interesting.  Very interesting.  But too many never have any more than an interest, and interest in Him will never transform a life.  And no matter how many efforts we might undertake to make Him interesting enough to others, all will fall short because only the power, life, and grace of God in Christ can take a person past interest into real knowledge and experience of Him.  Has that ever happened to you, or, are you still living in the place of interest?  Interest that may be fading by the day.
    When that question is asked of we who would consider ourselves true believers in and followers of Christ, how do we answer? Week after week we "go to church."  What are we going for?  What are we seeking to experience?  What do we wish "to see?" Are we there because it's what we were brought up to do?  "It's Sunday.  I, we, need to be in church." Are we there because the atmosphere is generally positive, and we like the feeling we get from that?  Are we there because the social support system and friendships are highly valued by us?  Are we there because the church helps us establish good values and morals in the midst of a culture sorely lacking both?  Are we there because we like the preacher, the worship leader, the programs?  None of these are bad things, but none of these are Christ.  None of these ever will be.
     I think the answer to Jesus' question is found in Luke 1, when Zechariah, father of John the Baptist gives this prophecy concerning his son.  "You will prepare the way of the Lord.   You will tell people how to find salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.  Because of God's tender mercy, the Light of heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace."  Jesus told His listeners that there was nothing John did that could bring any attention to Himself.  Nothing bombastic, or stimulating to the senses.  He just pointed people to the burning light of Christ, trusting in the power of the Father to bring to them a sense of need for the forgiveness of their sin, and the fullness of the hope of the Kingdom.  In this day of the cult of personality in the church, and all the special effects we think we need in order to "do church," I think we have strayed far from this.  We are to be the manifestation of His Light, pointing people to Him, wherever we are.  We offer no show, no perks, and no lure, and we don't need to, because we offer Him in all of His fullness. We are no longer curiosity seekers, or even regular attenders, but fullhearted pursuers of His Life.  
     So, today, each day, Jesus asks us, "What have you come to see?  If it is anything but Him, we may likely find it, but will have missed Him, and so missed everything.  If we have come to behold Him, His Life and Light, He will pour both out upon and into us.  Why are we here?  What have we come for?  Will we receive all He longs for us to have?

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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