“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about”. So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger, When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child” – Luke 2 v 15 - 17
Monday morning, 7am. My iPhone lights up the entire bedroom and I clumsily fumble around to try and either hit the centre of the screen and hope that I manage to tap “Snooze”, or even better manage to master the incredibly complicated task of “Swipe to stop” whilst keeping my eyes shut. Direct snooze hit! Result. 5 minutes pass in what seems like half a second and that annoying blues piano riff is off again. Preceded by a massive sigh, I drag myself out of bed.
7.45am, ready to go! But I can’t find my wallet… where’s my wallet? Where did I last have it, let’s think. Check all the likely places: jacket pocket… nope. Bedside table… nope. Kitchen worktop… nope. Right, starting to panic! Check ridiculous (yet plausible) locations: Bathroom…nope. Fridge…nope. Dishwasher… Thankfully nope.
I’m sure we’ve all been in that situation; trying to find something and you just can’t quite remember where you put it. It’s so familiar and you can’t be without it, yet you’ve carelessly left it somewhere and your brain can’t seem to make the right connections to reunite you with it. When I was thinking about the title of this blog, “Finding Jesus”, many things came into my mind but I wanted to keep the thoughts I share simple.
Let’s look at the few verses quoted at the beginning of the blog first. Notice that after the angels had left them and gone into Heaven, the shepherds discussed with confidence what to do:
“Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about”.
They didn’t say “Do you think we should go? Is this what we should be doing?” They knew that this was a message from God and that they should go and find Him. They didn’t waste any time in taking action either; they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the Lord Jesus who was lying in the manger. Imagine how the Shepherds would have felt that day, knowing that they were about to see the Son of God! The one who created the Heavens and the Earth had come to this Earth manifest in flesh, with such incredible purpose. I can certainly imagine the feelings of anticipation and wonder the shepherds would have experienced.
To the eyes of anyone passing by at that time, the scene would have been nothing special. But what the angel had told the shepherds beforehand confirmed to them that they were in the right place… the child they saw lying in the manger before them was Christ the Lord.
“This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” Luke 2 v 12
I wanted to share a simple thought with you to consider: If we want to find something, we have to make an effort to find it. We don’t just stumble on things by sitting about and waiting for whatever we’re looking for to find us.
Let me illustrate with something relevant to all of us, particularly at this time of year: giving gifts. When I try to find a gift for someone, I don’t go to the first shop I come across and pick a random object hoping the intended recipient will like it. I think about the person and consider what they would enjoy and/or need. When God sent his Son to this Earth, there was a reason for His coming. He knew that our sins had to be dealt with and this need of having our sins forgiven was met in the Lord Jesus. He gave His life voluntarily for us on the cross at Calvary.
“He was delivered over to death for our sins and then was raised to life to put us right with God” – Romans 4 v 25
When we “find” something, it either already belongs to us and we’ve recovered it, or we’ve found something new. Like the shepherds in the passage, we want to spread the message concerning The Lord Jesus that God has shown us through His Word. Our prayer this Christmas and throughout the year is that, if you don’t know the Lord Jesus yet, you would find Him. God has promised in His word that if you seek Him, you will find Him. When you find Him, you not only enter into a new relationship with Him; you’ll find new life.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” – Jeremiah 29 v 13