One question people often ask is, “Where Is Jesus?”
It’s a good question that deserves attention but I need to expand on the idea a bit.
To do that I’ll ask a few more questions:
- How is it that people make a connection with Jesus? What are they thinking and feeling?
- What exactly is happening to make the connection? Is something special being said or done?
- Where are these connections usually made? Is geography a part of the formula?
- When are these connections likely to occur? Young, old, before, after – what?
These are even better questions but the most common answers don’t agree with the facts.
Let me clarify.
The Connection Doesn’t Always Occur Through Customary Prayers, Procedures Or Postures
In fact, in some cases the connection happens internally without audible words, physical actions or even clearly articulated thoughts.
A personal meeting with God is a momentous thing. You don’t always have words to describe that. Each person responds differently.
You can’t ceremonialize it! You can’t predict how it’s going to go. You can’t force it or fake it and sometimes you can’t avoid it.
When two people meet, you can’t always dictate how and where it will happen or even how the interchange will unfold.
Imposing a formula on how one connects with Jesus is like trying to put God and everyone else in a box.
Some people, when asked how they met Jesus, respond with an completely unintelligible answer.
There’s no question they met Jesus. They show clear indications a connection was made, so neither they nor anyone else can deny it but the description of how it transpired is not always easy to understand.
Sometimes their excitability overshadows the sensibility.
What we know for sure is Jesus is present. He is available. He is close. What we can’t dictate is how each person makes the connection or will respond to it when it happens.
Some people are effusive. Some people are unaffected. Both responses are OK.
We want these connections to be made. We may suggest it and/or do things to encourage it, but we can’t ritualize it.
The Connection Isn’t Geographically Bound – It Doesn’t Always Happen In Church
In fact, it often doesn’t happen in church.
- My Experience
I connected with Jesus in the backyard at my childhood home. It wasn’t a church and there was no service. It didn’t happen on Sunday.
No one expected it. It surprised everyone.
- People In The New Testament
Most of the people in the New Testament connected with Jesus in non-religious settings. It happened along roadsides and in the country side.
It sometimes happened in forbidden territory like Samaria, Tyre or Sidon and with unacceptable types, like Zacchaeus.
Zacchaeus connected with Jesus from the limb of a tree thus proving that you can’t dictate where and when these connections take place.
- Mottel Baleston
Mottel Baleston, a man who grew up as an orthodox Jew, found Jesus in the presence of disdain for Jesus. He was told the New Testament was a book that explained how to kill Jews.
He shares his testimony here.
- Bob Dylan (Robert Allen Zimmerman)
Bob Dylan became a Christian in the late 1970’s and then wrote three distinctly Christians albums: Slow Train Coming, Saved and Infidels.
The feature song on Slow Train Coming, “Gotta Serve Somebody,” won a Grammy.
In response to this song John Lennon wrote “Serve Yourself,” which I don’t think was ever marketed.
Bob Dylan was probably the one person who popularized Christian Rock. The only Christian artists contemporary with him were few in number and quite insipid by rock standards.
- Ken Blanchard
Ken Blanchard connected with Jesus in the normal course of business. He consulted with a local church and recognized common ground between his business principles and what Jesus taught.
In response, he has developed a series of teachings titled “Lead Like Jesus.”
- Jane Fonda
The interesting thing about Jane Fonda is most Christians in her earlier years hated her. She was defined by her political activism and her views were always leftward leaning, meaning Christians weren’t lining up to humbly share the Gospel and many still don’t like her.
Fortunately, God doesn’t act like Christians. According to Jane, God was a presence in her life and eventually filled what she referred to as her disembodied and imperfect soul.
- Denzel Washington
Denzel grew up in a Christian home and became a Christian at an early age. He didn’t, however rely on that to gain cinematic success.
He didn’t refuse the work that came his way claiming it offended his moral taste. Instead he worked reliably and effectively, and eventually earned the right to bring Jesus into the entertainment industry.
And Jesus went with him.
Jesus Doesn’t Live In A Box
Anyone can connect with Him anywhere, anytime.
- You find Jesus at the end of yourself.
- You find Jesus at the start of your journey.
- You find Jesus anywhere between those two points.
- You find Jesus in other people.
- You find Jesus in usual and unusual circumstances.
- You find Jesus in ideas.
As Jesus said:
He that hears my word and believes on him that sent me has everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation but is passed from death unto life. John 5:24
Just to be clear this means:
Any person: male, female, adult, child, able, disabled, capitalist, communist, law abiding or criminal.
Anyplace: in church or out, in any church, in any country, in any circumstance.
Anytime: day, night, early, late, old, young, now, later and any time in between.
Belief: no rituals, ceremonies, procedures, postures or actions of any kind necessary. Just belief.
All of that signifying the generosity of Jesus.