By Joel A. Hess –
Jesus wants to be found by those who look for Him. But to look for Him we have to get up and go out. @pontifex
The leader of a good portion of Christendom tweeted the above tweet just a couple of days ago. Yes, I follow him because his twitter tag is so cool, “pontifex!” Sounds like a Pagan priest. Oh, wait, what? Sadly, there seem to be many high church Lutherans who balk at being associated with or looking like evangelicals, yet have no problem being confused with this guy’s minions. Why is wearing a collar and being confused for a priest more acceptable to some than wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt and being confused with an evangelical? Seriously, many high church Lutherans and fine friends of mine have told me they feel closer to Rome than Wheaton. Yes, they are still my friends because we are men enough to be able handle jabs at one another.
Of course, in the end, theologically, what’s the difference between our protestant and gigantically big C catholic brothers? They both like their Jesus to play hide and seek. “Come and find me” “Peek a boo. Where’s Jesus?”
The above quote could have appeared on a sundry number of Christian twitter feeds. Because in the end, there are really only two Christian church bodies. Well, actually, there are only two religions: Those that teach God is waiting to be found and those who teach that God does the finding. More than that, His Son came down in person to find us who are so lost in sin we not only can’t find God, we can’t find ourselves!
Jesus isn’t playing hide n’ seek! Jesus came because we would never come to Him! He laid down His life and picked up again without anyone asking Him to! He joyfully accomplished our salvation and began the restoration of all things, whether or not we were looking for it and wanting it. And we weren’t! We may pretend to want to find God, but what we really mean is that we want to find a God that looks and does what we want.
It seems like a lot of churches stop there, doesn’t it? But God’s work and Jesus work of salvation did not stop at the resurrection or even the ascension. With altar calls and pleas to have Jesus come into our hearts, or even Lutherans preaching, “All you have to do is believe.” Really? That’s all you have to do? That’s actually impossible for sinners, as Paul and the Psalmist reminds us,
There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.” Romans 3:11
If Jesus died and rose only, nothing would have changed. We would still be in our sins. Of course God knows this. So Jesus instructs His Church to go out and make disciples! Not find Jesus. Jesus through the Church will find the lost, the broken, the haters and murderers, wanderers, sexually immoral, etc. He will MAKE them into disciples through Baptism and teaching. One would have thought that they guy who suffers an illusion as being Christ’s representative would know this quite well.
God is not so mean to play hide and go seek with us. Though we certainly play that with Him. Instead, our Lord says time and time again that He is the one who finds the lost, even leaving the 99 found just to find one! Good Lord, the story of salvation begins in Genesis in the garden as God says to his hiding children, “Where are you?”
I praise God every day that He found me! And continues to find me!