Monday, March 18, 2013

Are you looking for Jesus in dead places?

We only gather at graveyards to mourn and remember those who have died. We don't go to cemeteries looking for life.

The angels asked the women gathered at Jesus' tomb, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?" Even in first century Israel, people who were alive did not hang around places for the dead.

They were looking for Jesus in a place He would not be found.
"Why do you seek the living among the dead?"
That is still a relevant question for us today. Are we looking for Jesus among dead things?

There are two places in which we, like the women, can wrongly attempt to find Christ.

You don't go to the cemetery to find life. Photo from by Miguel Saavedra
Obviously, we all know the spiritual death that sin brings with it, so I don't want to focus on it. If we have sin in our life, we have to deal with that first and foremost. You will never find Jesus by looking at sin.

Outside of clear sin, however, there are two other areas in which we could be vainly searching for Jesus. Like the women, sometimes we need a reminder about where to seek Christ.

Good intentions

The women thought they were doing the right thing. They wanted to honor Jesus in finishing the preparations for his dead body. To them, this was a way to show respect and love to their friend and teacher who had been wrongly crucified.

How often do we believe Jesus will be pleased simply because "our heart is in the right place"? You can have sincere beliefs, but they could be sincerely wrong. While having good motives is definitely part of seeking Christ, it is not the entirety.

Difficult tasks

Imagine how hard it must have been for them emotionally to gather those burial spices and leave early on that first Easter Sunday believing they would be giving the final burial preparations for someone they loved and even believed to be the Messiah.

Sometimes, we feel as if our doing something that is hard for us means we are automatically pleasing God. He may call us to difficult jobs, but the difficulty does not lead us to Jesus by itself. Difficulty is no full proof measure of obedience or righteousness.

What the women missed

They had good intentions and what they were doing was surely difficult for them, but they were missing one important thing – right theology. 

If they had understood what Jesus had been telling them about why He came, to die for our sins and rise again to give us life, they would not have come to the grave ready to grieve. They would have been there to anticipating a celebration.

As a follower of Christ, we have to not only be concerned about our motives, our actions, but also with our theology. All the right intentions and tasks will not please God, if we they originate from false beliefs about Him.

If our theology is right, however, and it does not drive us to do the right things with the right heart, then our theology is worthless. All three are interdependent on each other and should all flow from the life of a Christian.

The women were looking for Jesus in a dead place because their theology had not given life to their motives and actions. Right theology should be life-giving and should show us where we can find Jesus.

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