Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No Longer Looking

Today's passage:  John 15:12-27
     "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin:  but now they have no cloke for their sin.  He that hateth me hateth my Father also."
     Ever forget to look for Jesus' coming?  Do you get up each morning thinking, "This might be the day?"  If you are like me, I think about it, but not every day.  It is certainly not the first thought in my mind.  How tired would the Jews have been of looking for the Messiah?
     One of the things that set Judaism apart from every other faith system at the time, is that it is monotheistic.  They worshipped only one God.  For Jesus to come to earth and then tell them that they are still monotheistic but their God is not one, but three in one, was probably a very confusing leap for the religious Jews to make.  They knew Messiah would come, sent from God, but they had always supposed He would be from among the people.  As early as Genesis, when Cain is born, Eve makes the statement, "I have gotten a man from the LORD."  She is already looking for the One that was promised.  This is why in the Jewish culture, a son was so important.  He might be the Messiah, the One who would deliver the people, their Moses.  Perhaps the people at first thought that Moses was that Messiah.  He had the pedigree, born among them but elevated to princely status.  He leads them out of Egypt, but then they spent numerous years in the wilderness.   This was deliverance?  What kind of Messiah would leave them in the desert?
     Maybe it would be Joshua.  He had been Moses' right-hand man.  He was a commanding general.  So maybe they hadn't completely rid the land of all their enemies, he gave it a good college try.  He dies and they are at least in the land, but they are still having to keep their enemies at bay.  Doesn't seem too Messianic.
     Saul?  He proves to be a disappointment.  David?  He is a shepherd boy who God raises up to be king.  He is a very popular king, at first.  He has to fight the enemies within his own family almost as much as the enemies in the land, but he mostly prevails. He also dies and leaves his kingdom in the hands of his wise son.  Solomon is able to keep the peace for as long as he reigns, but I don't think the Messiah would compromise his faith to do this.  I don't think the Messiah would allow other religions to worship in his palace so they would stay friends.  (Hmmm, I wish our government would learn from Solomon's mistakes.)
     What about the prophets?  Elijah?  He was taken up in a fiery chariot.  Now the Messiah would have taken the people up with him, but they were left behind.  Isaiah?  Jeremiah?  They had been carried away to Babylon as well, they didn't seem to be taking an active role in freeing the people.  The list could go on and on.  Every impressive person never seemed to fit the Messiah's profile.  This is because Isaiah 53 says, "he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him."  The Messiah would not be some charismatic leader.  He would not have a procession announcing His presence.  He would not have an entourage fulfilling a rider before each performance.  He came humbly.  He came without fanfare.  He came without all the trappings of success.  And because He came in this way, the Jews could not wrap their mind around it.  They grew tired of looking for the Messiah, until they no longer looked at all.  Maybe once in a while a child was born, and they wondered.  Maybe once in a while a leader would present himself, and they paused.  But mostly, they went about their day-to-day never giving it a thought.  When Jesus comes onto the scene, they had stopped looking for a while.  Too many false prophets had come.  Too many zealots had tried to wrest control from the Romans.  Why keep looking when you would continue to be disappointed?  By this time, they had their checklist of who or what Messiah would be.  Jesus did not fit that checklist.  That's because it wasn't God's checklist.
     I think the Jews would be rather surprised to hear that they hated God.  I think they would be offended by this statement.  I know they would.  They hated Jesus because He exposed their sin, but they also hated Him because He was another in a long list who had not fulfilled their Messianic ideal.  They were tired of looking. 
     I may not seem like I'm tired of watching for Christ's coming, but when it is not the first thought each morning, and the last thought each night, and many thoughts in between, I must be.  When I am not grabbing each person that passes by and telling them about Christ, my actions show that I am not watching.  When I am not keeping things in order, confessing my sin each day, it is evident that I have become indifferent about His return.  Do I keep a checklist of when I think Christ will return?  Sure, the Bible gives some hints, but it could be any day.  It might be today.  Am I looking?  Or have I grown too tired?

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