Today I am thrilled to have a guest post written by Stephen Luna, the Student Ministries Pastor at Maranatha Worship Center in Kansas. We went to college together, and I remember how inclusive he was – always looking for ways to include others and involve people. He truly has a pastor’s heart. I know you will be profoundly blessed by his thoughts on recognizing how near God really is to us.
“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” is what was asked of the women who visited Jesus’ empty tomb. Two angels, according to Luke 24:5-6, delivered the jubilant news of Jesus’ immortal state. His resurrection.
Think about what their heavenly message consisted of. It wasn’t a statement of fact. It wasn’t a memo that they read aloud. They didn’t say, “Jesus is not here!” and – poof – they vanish.
NO. It was a question. A rhetorical question. But the question was posed nonetheless: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”
In other words, the angels stood there at the tomb waiting for the women to show up, just to tell them that they’re looking for the RIGHT person at the WRONG place. Jesus was the right person to seek, but neither His body nor presence was going to be found among lifeless flesh and bones.
The women came bearing spices, herbs, and other burial fixings.
They came with the RIGHT heart, intending to serve, but brought the WRONG materials.
They showed up to math class with a deli sandwich instead of a pencil.
They weren’t properly prepared.
And that’s not a slight at them; as a matter of fact, there was not one person recorded in Scripture who was entirely prepared for Jesus’ resurrection. A majority of them went back to hiding, and others, their old lifestyles. Peter eventually went back to fishing, Matthew went back to working for the IRS, and James & John went back to being the sons of lightning.
But the fact remains that the ladies brought the wrong materials.
They looked for the right person, at the wrong place.
How often do we do this to Christ?
We expect Him to be somewhere or do something, and we are caught off guard when He doesn’t show up. Or consider the inverse: we don’t expect Him to show up somewhere, but then the Sovereign does what He pleases and shows up where we least expect Him.
He shows up in a conversation while waiting for the bus.
He shows up through someone’s comforting smile while at the grocery store.
He shows up in an encouraging email sent from a loved one.
He shows up while listening to music during your morning routine.
The awesome thing about God is that He isn’t limited to time and space; He’s what Bible-nerds call omnipresent, meaning that He transcends physical limitations established in time and space.
He’s here, right now as I’m writing this. He’s there, right now as you’re reading this.
Jesus said in John 14:16 that when He would physically leave this earth, He wouldn’t spiritually/emotionally leave us, but that He would send One known as the Comforter. The Holy Spirit.
This isn’t “Jesus’ ghost”; it’s literally the third Person in the Trinity, perhaps the most misunderstood and yet the most present.
God is in Heaven.
Jesus is in Heaven.
The Holy Spirit resides here. Right now.
This Holy Spirit loves to encounter us at our worst and also at our best. He encounters us with a warning before we attempt to sin and is there to convict and comfort us after we sin.
Have you experienced that intimacy yet?
Those ladies were surprised with a sudden appearance of two angels, and we marvel at this. Yet we have the Holy Spirit constantly surrounding us. It’s not a surprise – He doesn’t really show up unannounced like an annoying neighbor – we just don’t notice that He’s been there the entire time. We need to “get on His level”… He’s always been at ours!
Have you realized how intimate this type of a relationship is?
With a God who is ever present.
He goes before you and He follows behind you.
If two angels were here, they’d ask, “Why do you live life like God isn’t around?”
If we truly internalized this truth, I can’t help but feel that holiness would be easier. Our words would become nicer. Our thoughts would become purer. And our actions would become more purposeful.
Let’s live for the audience of the One who doesn’t have to show, because He never leaves.
Let’s welcome Him. Let’s embrace Him.