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March 16, 2015, 9:29 AM

Recognizing Jesus


There have always been conversations or questions about what Jesus would look like if he were to show up right here, right now.  Would we recognize him?  Would he be in our church?  If no, where would we find him?  Who would Jesus be drawn to in today's culture and society?  I'd really, really, really, really, really like to say that Jesus would make an appointment to meet me in my office and gently discuss the things that are important to him and how they mesh with the things that are important to me.  Then we'd hug and he would say "keep up the good work!"

I think thats everyone's hope when it comes to imagining what a visit from Jesus would feel/look like.  We would want a pat on the back, an understanding nod, and perhaps a "grant me whatever I desire" moment like James and John tried in Mark 10:35.  

Here's the problem with that.  I have to come to grips that I would most likely have to go searching for Jesus, and might not recognize him when and if I found him.  When Jesus was walking through Jericho on his way back to Jerusalem and the most intense week of his life, he stopped in for the night with an outcast and lowest of the low: Zacchaeus.  When Jesus was in Judea he could be found in lodging and dining with unmarried women without prestige or power in Mary and Martha, not to mention Lazarus was always hanging around, seemingly without a family himself.  We're not going to spend time talking about his time in Samaria, or Leper colonies, or with Roman officials.  

Then we find Jesus in Mark 5.  In the unlikeliest place, meeting the unlikeliest person...  He's walking near some burial caves (a cemetery, in the ancient sense) and is approached by a man who for all intents and purposes wasn't just outcast, he was exiled because of the demons he had.  And this is where we find Jesus, and this is where we find beings that not only recognize him but bow to him.  I'm assuming bowing to Jesus was against their will......because they're demons.  We don't have to create a back story for them, they're the bad guys.  They recognize him, honor him, and bow before him. 

When he walked through Jericho, everyone was there to honor him.  But many were not only surprised by his choice to dine with Zacchaeus, they were offended, angry, and scathing about that choice.  They did not recognize the mission of the Messiah, nor did his mission match their expectations.  

Does my mission match the mission of Jesus?  Do the goals, plans, and foundation of our church match the mission of Jesus?  Are we finding ourselves in the places where Jesus would be recognized immediately?  Or are we left wondering why he hasn't made an appearance in our perfectly sculpted and tended houses/offices/buildings?  I'm afraid that we wouldn't recognize him, because I'm afraid we would not be looking in the right places.  


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