Where do you look to find Jesus today? Where is he? No, that’s not a trick question. It’s a simple question with an easy answer. But, before we answer that question, we’re going to take a few minutes to see where different people have looked for Jesus in the past.
Let’s begin with the shepherds in Luke 2:8-16 – “8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”
Of all the births that have ever taken place, Christ’s birth is without a doubt the most significant. It surpasses all others. Christ’s birth was a fulfillment of thousands of years of prophecy. Isaiah wrote, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6.
This was nothing less than God coming to earth to live in a physical body. Notice from John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In verse fourteen of that same chapter we find the following – “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
I’m thankful Christ was born. If Christ had never been born you and I would have no other option but to hopelessly live in our sin. But if I could go back to that same manger today, I wouldn’t find Jesus. He’s not there.
Next, consider the wise men as they search for Jesus. Pay close attention as we read Matthew 2:1-11. You may find that things didn’t take place quite like you thought. Or at least, not quite like you’ve always heard they did.
“1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:1-11.
Did you notice where they wise men found Jesus? Not at the manger, as is so often portrayed on Christmas cards. Not at the manger, as is so often depicted in the displays in people’s yards at Christmas time. Notice verse 11 – “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary.” This was some time after Christ was born. Some say it may have been about six weeks. It’s very likely may have been close to two years after His birth.
Yeah, but you may be thinking, “I thought the wise men came to the manger, bringing gold, frankincense and myrhh.” I can see how you thought that too. After all, it’s what you’ve always heard. If you hear something often enough and long enough, you may start to believe it. But when you study the Bible yourself, you may find a lot of things you hear are not in the Bible.
Now let’s consider Joseph of Arimathea and where he looked to find Jesus. Let’s read from Luke 23:44-56 – “44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. 46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. 47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man. 48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned. 49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things. 50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: 51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. 53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. 54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. 55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. 56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”
Verse 53 says Joseph took him down, meaning he took Christ down from the cross. I’m thankful for the cross. I believe if we are going to get closer to God, we need to get closer to the cross. Meaning we need to always meditate on the things that took place at the cross. To never let the events at the cross slip from our mind.
But, while I worship the one who was on the cross, I don’t worship the cross. While we may sing the words of the old hymn, “So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,” we understand that we don’t cherish the cross itself. We cherish the one who willingly went to the cross. And I certainly can’t go back to the cross and find Jesus.
Next, let’s read Luke 24:1-2 and see where Mary Magdalene and others went to find Jesus. “1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered his words, 9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. 12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.”
Can you imagine how these women felt when they found the tomb empty? When they found the stone had been rolled away? When they saw Jesus body was gone and then saw two men in shing garments (undoubtedly angels) they were afraid. They knew Jesus died. These women knew Jesus had been placed in the tomb. But now, he wasn’t there!
Notice verse five as the angels ask, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” A tomb is where you expect to find dead people. But Jesus was alive! Notice verse six, “He is not here. He is risen.” I’m thankful Jesus is risen! When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he said if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not raised and we would not be raised either. But Paul went on to say that Christ was raised and His resurrection makes our resurrection possible. Jesus taught that one day all who are in the grave would be resurrected. “28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28-29. ALL are going to be raised, the righteous unto eternal life and the unrighteous unto damnation.
Some want to celebrate the empty tomb at certain times of the year. And yes, I’m thankful the tomb was found empty. I can’t go back to the tomb and find Jesus. He’s not there!
Where is Jesus now? Where should I look to find him? Let’s read Acts 1:9-11 – “9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” He’s in heaven of course!
Peter wrote that Christ has gone on to heaven and is now at the right hand of God. I Peter 3:22. Because Christ has all authority, angels, authorities and powers are subject unto him.
I Timothy 6:15 teaches us that Christ is now serving as Lord of lords and King of kings.
Christ’s birth, His resurrection, His empty tomb, and His ascension to heaven is of no benefit to me unless I willingly submit to His authority as King of kings. All these things are of no benefit to me unless I allow Him to be Lord of my life – unless I willingly conform my life to His will, allowing Him to make me what He wants me to be!
Where do you look to find Jesus? He’s in heaven at the right hand of God, now serving as Lord of lords and King of kings!