Slightly Obsessed #261: Looking for God in All the Wrong Places
And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.”
-Matthew 28: 2-6
He arrived on the earth an enigma, the presumed illegitimate son of a carpenter.
The baby slipped into the world in stable, lauded by a heavenly choir and a group of shepherds. Everyone else in Bethlehem and beyond missed the royal birth.
His presence came to Herod’s attention via astronomers who had been alerted by the appearance of a bright star in the sky and were searching for Him. Worried his title “King of the Jews” might be usurped by a Hebrew upstart, the king sent soldiers throughout Judea to slaughter all Jewish boys under the age of two.
Jesus and His family were already gone, having been warned by God to flee to Egypt.
The child grew up in a town beyond the shadow of the temple meant to represent God’s dwelling place. No one thought to look for God at a carpenter’s workbench. An obedient son, a builder like the man who raised him, He must have appeared quiet, common, resigned to a life working with wood.
The year He turned twelve, His family went up to Jerusalem with a group of relatives and friends to celebrate the Feast of Passover. On their way back, they assumed He was with someone else in the group. At the end of the first day’s journey, they couldn’t find Him. They returned to Jerusalem and searched for Him. After a desperate search, they found Him in the temple, listening to the teachers and asking them questions.
When Joseph and Mary saw Him, they were bewildered; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You!” And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”
During His time on Earth, Jesus the Christ called Himself the “son of man.”
The Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke use this term sixty-nine times. Setting aside the rights and privileges He possessed as Creator, Life-giver, and Word of God, He poured Himself into a jar fashioned from the dust of the earth. From this vessel He emptied Himself into the work of redemption.
The Son of Man confounded the educated, healed the broken, upturned the tables of those who profaned His house, and raised the dead. He sat with sinners and shunned the throne of a king. He healed the wound of a soldier who came to arrest Him. He refused the angelic backup waiting to rescue Him from death and took the place of a common criminal.
He was never where He was expected to be but always at the right place. He spent His final hours on an executioner’s cross. His body lay three days in a tomb meant for another man.
On the third day, the women came to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus, expecting to find Him lying on the cold stone in grave clothes. The Roman guards had ensured no one breached the sealed stone over the opening. Then the place was shattered by an earthquake and the stone was rolled away by a fearsome angel who quieted their fears with these words, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.”
Once again, they looked for God in all the wrong places. The angel didn’t roll the stone away from the tomb of Jesus to let Him out, but to let humanity in on the most momentous event in history.
…concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord….
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