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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Five Easy Ways to Miss Jesus

The Old Testament had prophecy after prophecy detailing the coming Messiah. However, most of the people missed Him. He was right in front of them and they did not recognize Him.

Jesus is right in front of us too. We may not be able to see Him physically but we will miss His workings in the world around us. The same reasons the New Testament people missed Jesus will apply to us. See if you agree.

You can miss Jesus by being too religious. The religious leaders believed that they would get God's favor by keeping His Law. They carefully followed the Law where it was specific and when it wasn't they increased the demands of the Law upon the people.

However, Jesus did not fit in with their understanding. He did not keep the Law as they said it must be kept. He did not give them the favor they thought they deserved, so they rejected Him as the Messiah.

We can miss Jesus by being too religious. We can condemn someone for their sins and not remember to extend grace. We can someone coming to our churches because they don't wear the appropriate clothing. We can shun people because they don't use the correct religious speech. Jesus told us that when we did things to the least we were doing it to Him. It's easy to miss Jesus by being too religious.

We can miss Jesus by looking focusing on our careers. Pontius Pilate had climbed halfway up the political ladder. He saw no reason to put Jesus to death but it would not look good to Rome if he had a riot. He couldn't afford to have more troops called in to squelch an unrising. He took the most expedient route of having Jesus crucified. He even tried to wash his hands of the whole matter but he is known as the man who sent Jesus to the cross. He missed Jesus because of his career.

I have seen countless people miss Jesus because of their careers. They work hard to get ahead. They work on Sundays and late nights. They want the boss' approval. They want to climb that ladder. Even speaking of Jesus may keep them from advancement. They miss Jesus because their world is more important than knowing who He is.

Politics can make you miss Jesus. Many people believe that Judas was a zealot. He wanted to see Rome fall and Israel to rise. He joined the disciples because he believed that Jesus might be the right person to bring about this uprising. He missed Jesus because Jesus was not political. He sold Jesus for a thirty pieces of silver.

Many politicians try to use Jesus to help them gain power. They may even think they are doing the right thing by doing so. (I believe Judas started off thinking he was doing the right thing.) They will invoke the name of Christ any time they can see political advantage. They miss Christ because they see Him more as a ladder leaning on the building of their lives rather than the building itself. You can miss Jesus if you try to use Him in your politics.

You can miss Jesus because you are just too busy. Martha complained to Jesus about her sister, Mary, because she was doing all the work while Mary was just sitting at Jesus' feet listening. Many people identify with Martha. How would we ever eat if all the people in the world were Marys? Jesus said that Mary had chosen the best thing.

Busy people are great but they often are found in the church kitchen preparing for the meal to be held after the service. They completely miss the service. They think they have chosen the better path when Jesus would side with the Marys in the service. Would it be so bad if we had to wait for our lunch after the service? The Marthas think it would and miss Jesus.

Peter missed Jesus because he had an expectation of his role of service that Jesus did not accept. He thought that he would defend Jesus when the time came. When Jesus was arrested he took out his sword and started to fight until Jesus told him to stop. Jesus healed the man whose ear was severed. Peter didn't know what to do and ran off. He would later deny he knew Jesus. He missed Jesus though not permanently.

Sometimes people cannot see themselves in service to Jesus in the way He is calling them. They cannot see themselves as Sunday School teachers or deacons or called into the ministry. They do not realize that they are denying Christ when they do not fulfill His calling. They simply miss Jesus because they either can't see themselves in this role or they don't how to follow it.

Don't miss Jesus today. He is right in front of you. Just look and you will see Him.

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