“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:18, emphasis mine)
What is there to stop the Lord from showing up at your church? I mean, if motivational speakers and authors and people of influence sell their time and services touring the world and inspiring anyone inclined to pay the price of admission, shouldn’t we want Jesus to do the same? I think He wants to make His presence known in our churches and our homes and our lives. I think He has places to go and things to do and I know that anywhere He’s respected and loved, He’ll show up. There may be a few things to work through before He’ll put your place on His docket, though.
Failure to appear
“But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7, emphasis mine)
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)
I love the verse from Samuel because I contrast it with the preconceived notions I had as a kid regarding the Old Testament. I don’t know where it came from but the idea that all therein were dusty and boring stories I’d heard a thousand times, sprinkled here and there with “endless genealogies” (1 Timothy 1:4) and ultralong depictions of sacrificial formalities. And then the above. It would seem God is referring to the poor prior choice of Saul as king (“the height of his stature”). Samuel has been sent to David’s father Jesse to find a new ruler for Israel. He goes through each of Jesse’s seven sons and asks “Are here all thy children?” (16:11) To which Jesse responds by pointing out David. I’m kind of bifurcating points here. But I suppose it all segues into the main. My first point is, kernels of hard-won and flauntable (positively, of course) truth pop up here and there. This is another reason why it’s good to “slog” through the OT. And my second point is, to quote the Lord to Samuel, “for the Lord seeth not as man seeth”. What does this mean? I would say that it means once we learn this–really learn it–we should question everything around and about what we see, with reference to God first and also in relation to the world. A tall order.
“The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.” (Matthew 8:8)
Keeping up appearances
“But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him.” (Mark 5:6)
I love this. This example to hardened eyes, of sublime love and compassion and maturity. Were the same done for me, after my life of suffering and self-inflicted torture and exile, all I’d want to do is to follow the Jesus around like a little kid. Not only does the Lord drive out the hell inside him but he gives the man a dignity no one else could. “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” (5:19) He had friends?! Apparently so. And I’d wager to say Jesus gave him a look that meant the world and more that would allow him to not need to stay with Him the rest of his days. This means the entirety of his mind and heart had been cleansed with reference to the world around him and that within. But my point is this: “he saw Jesus afar off”. Amazing. That this man “that had been possessed with the devil” (5:18) would recognize Jesus from a distance in spite of his own condition is leagues ahead of the attitude of complacency and apathy afflicting the church today. How indicting.
This is what came to me the other day. I believe we as a church–whether it be in your home, your church building, or wherever–can invite Jesus. Sure, He’s here by His Spirit and I don’t mean in any way to downplay that. But think about it. If all you and your friends want is to see the Lord and you just can’t wait until His Second Coming, let Him know. I honestly believe it’s within His purview (if I may) to give you (or me) a special visitation.
“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8b)