“Is Jesus here?” my Mother asked me when she walked into church. “I came to see Jesus.”
I didn’t know how to answer her. My heart dropped when I heard her ask the question yet again. I wanted so badly to tell her “yes,” because I knew how disappointed she would be if she didn’t see Him.
There aren’t many people who come through the church doors with my Mother’s high expectations. If you were to poll people as they come in, asking them what their reason is for attending church, you would get a wide variety of answers.
“It’s what Christians do–they go to church on Sundays.”
“My parents always brought us to church.”
“My kids need to go to Sunday School.”
“It’s my Sunday to usher.”
The list of reasons goes on and on. Few would say what my Mother said: “I’m here to see Jesus.” Although dementia has clouded my Mother’s mind, there is a constant, consuming desire that she feels to the very core of her being: she wants to see Jesus. While the cloudiness of her thinking saddens me, the singularity of her focus is inspiring and thought provoking.
I wonder what would happen if all of us came to church one Sunday with that single overpowering desire? “I want to see Jesus.” Put aside all the theology. Put aside the pretensions. Put aside the distractions. Focus on one thing and one thing only. Let’s look for Jesus.
The Bible encourages us to look for him.
“Unto them that look for him shall he appear…” (Hebrews 9:28)
“He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” (Proverbs 8:17)
“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” (Psalm 105:4)
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1)
The apostle John saw the Lord. In his letter to the seven churches (the book of Revelations) he says that he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.” He was instructed to write down everything he heard and saw. Most remarkable of everything he saw was his vision of Jesus.
We read his description in the first chapter of Revelations: “and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”
Do you want to see Jesus? I sure do.
I don’t know what that moment will be like, but I do know that it is coming. The song “I Can Only Imagine,” describes one man’s thoughts about seeing Jesus for the first time.
When John saw Jesus, he fell at his feet as though dead. Jesus raised him up and told him not to be afraid.
When I think about that moment, I feel a bit of fear and trepidation, too. I don’t feel worthy or ready to stand before One so perfect.
I’m reminded of a dream I had many years ago, where I went to heaven and couldn’t stop weeping. Heaven was so beautiful, but I couldn’t stop crying. All I could think of was how unworthy I was to be there. I had done nothing to merit God’s favor! As I was weeping, an angel spoke to me, asking me why I was crying. “I’m so unworthy,” I said. “So unworthy!”
“Of course you’re not worthy,” the angel said. “Nobody is.” Suddenly, with the angel’s words, I realized that nothing I (or any human) had ever done was enough to earn a place in heaven. It is God’s gift. It is God’s grace. It His righteousness, not our own, that gives us the right to stand before Him. Our part is simply to receive and believe. “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
I believe that moment when our faith becomes sight will be utterly incredible and beyond description. As I try to imagine standing before Him in the flesh, I feel my heart beginning to beat faster in anticipation.
Let’s seek him with all our hearts. Let’s get our eyes off of life’s distractions. Let’s look for Him, just like my Mother is doing, in her simple, childlike way. We may not see Him with our physical eyes today, but we can experience His presence and one day soon, we will have the opportunity to stand before Him.
Are you ready?