Seeing Jesus as Jesus? Wow!
One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They noticed that some of the disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. — Mark 7:1-2
Nine times out of ten, when I read about the Pharisees, I know scripture is aptly—and accurately—talking about those religious leaders as well as the ancient verses are talking about (and to) us. Like those arriving to see Jesus in this passage, we can sometimes see Jesus as we want to see Jesus, rather than seeing Jesus as being Jesus, wholly and holy “other.”
The Pharisees had their minds made up about this rebel, this life-changer. Our text does not say, “One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus and there, in His presence, they experienced what they had not anticipated. They met the Son of God.”
The Pharisees and the teachers of religious law saw what they wanted to see. When it comes to Jesus life-changing us, too often we see only what we want to see.
In these verses, get honest with yourself when you come to see Jesus. Are you expecting the Jesus you know, or are you expecting the Jesus you may not know, at least in full?
Let me ask the same question differently. Are you coming to meet Jesus with preconceived ideas, or are you coming to Jesus completely available and assessible?
The Pharisees and the teachers of religious law had their minds made up about Jesus. He was totally messing up their plans, and, in turn, their lives. This Son of God is literally do the same to all of us today. He is messing us up, turning us around, challenging us where we don’t want to be challenged, and peacefully and patiently aligning us where we, who are not always peaceful or patient, do not want to be aligned.
It is easier to be mad at our neighbor, for example, then to forgive them. It is easier to see someone different from us as just that—different—than to see ourselves in them, or to see God in them, or at work in them. At times, Jesus’ radical, ground-shaking message about forgiveness, love, and unity can be beyond our understanding, especially when we, like the Pharisees and teachers of religious law, aren’t open to seeing—and then meeting—Jesus as Jesus.
Arrive openly. See Jesus as Jesus. If, for example, you have the solution to a problem (or a person who is a problem) in your life before you come to Jesus, do this: give Jesus the space and place to be present to you.
Let me close this way. If you’ve arrived at a worship service ready to be bored, then nine times out of ten, you’ll be bored. If you arrive at a worship service ready to see Jesus as Jesus, oh wow, you know what happens. Joy abounds. Hope dances. Peace can’t stay still. The chains that held you down become dust at your feet. What was broken is whole. The roadblock is now a new path.
THAT’S Jesus, Savior and Lord.
PRAYER: Jesus, I am here to meet You. Help me see You as You are, not as I expect. Amen.