I have to start today with this fact: Jesus might be a huge disappointment to you. He might not be who you want Him to be. It’s what got Jesus killed and it’s why many people today don’t follow Him. Why was Jesus executed? Because the people He came to love, missed Him. And if we aren’t careful, we can miss Him too. Scripture says, 10 Although the world was made through Him [Jesus], the world didn’t recognize Him when He came. 11 Even in His own land and among His own people, He was not accepted. NLT John 1:10-12
How was this even possible? How could they miss Jesus as the Messiah? He fulfilled every prophecy. He loved and healed people. He had complete control over food, wine, demons, the weather and they still missed Him.
To answer this, we have to know what the culture was like in the days of Jesus. The Jewish people during this time were very divided and very frustrated. They were divided because they couldn’t agree on religion. Between all the different political and religious groups, all they did was argue. It was so bad that even the Romans got tired of it. They were frustrated because they lived under Roman rule. At one time, they were the most powerful nation in the world. Now, they lived under the rules and taxes of Caesar. It was infuriating. Think about this for a second. They were divided and frustrated. Doesn’t it make sense that out of their struggle, they thought that a Messiah would come and fix everything. The Messiah, a man sent by God with power, a military, a King on a throne, would overthrow the Romans and put them back in control. Even his disciples thought this. James and John met privately with Jesus to score a high level spot for power and privilege.
How in the world did they miss who Jesus was? It’s because Jesus wasn’t who they wanted. They wanted a warrior King, someone who would defeat the Romans. They wanted a Messiah to change their circumstances.
30 The Pharisees and their religion scholars came to his [Jesus] disciples greatly offended. “What is he doing eating and drinking with crooks and ‘sinners’?” 31 Jesus heard about it and spoke up, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? 32 I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders – an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.” MSG Luke 5:30-32
Jesus didn’t come like a warrior king to defeat the Romans, Jesus came to heal people’s hearts. He didn’t come to change their circumstances, He came to change their lives from the inside out. How did the Pharisees and religious people respond? They rejected Jesus. They become angry with Jesus and finally had Him killed.
Today, we can miss Jesus too. How? When we expect Jesus to change our circumstances and fail to understand that He came to heal our hearts. We discover that He isn’t who we thought He was. He’s isn’t what we want. Think about this for a second. What expectations do you have of God? A new car? Get a spouse, maybe a new spouse? A new job? Heal you? Get out of debt? Lose weight? You name it, change my circumstances!
Follow up question: What is your response when you don’t get what you want from God? Most people I know get very angry with God or at least they are very disappointed with God. Why? He didn’t meet their expectations. They don’t care about a changed heart, what they care about is a Messiah who will change their circumstances. If we don’t get that, God is a mean God and we become indifferent to God because we didn’t get what we wanted. We reject God and we end up blowing God off and thinking, “I will change my circumstances.”
I want to tell you, chances are, like the Pharisees, you have missed Jesus. You may know information about Jesus but you may not be experiencing His love and grace to share with others. I want you to consider that step one in the process to experience God is allowing Him to heal your heart?
19 I am the one who corrects and disciplines everyone I love. Be diligent and turn from your indifference. 20 “Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.” NLT Revelations 3:19-21
Jesus comes and knocks on the door of your heart. He wants to hang out with you. He wants you to walk into the process of having a changed life.
I am married and have three daughters. No one knows me better than my wife and three girls. Why? We hang out a lot. We vacation together. We eat together. We have family nights together. We have date nights together. We have inside jokes and nicknames for each other.
Because they know me, they know that when we walk into a store together, be careful walking next to dad. Why? Because if I can, I will reverse kick you in the back end. Because they know me, they know that you don’t use the restroom while eating. Chances are, if I like it, might be gone when you come back to the table. They also, know that I will be the first to love them and protect them. Why? We spend time together, we are family.
You don’t know me as well as my family does. You aren’t concerned about walking into a store with me. You aren’t concerned with protecting your food around me. However, chances are, if we have spent time with me, I am myself and I don’t play the religious game. We are friends.
Later today, if I go to Giant to buy food and you introduce me to someone as your Pastor, what do they think about me? I am a priest, I wear a robe, they can’t swear around me. They tell me that their uncle was a missionary and they read The Daily Bread discipleship every day. In other words, they get weird. How do they treat me? As family? No. As a friend? No. Someone who they have to be careful around so they don’t go to hell.
Let me ask you. How do you treat Jesus? Family? A friend? Or, someone you have to be careful around so you don’t go to hell? The closer you are to Jesus, the more relaxed you are. You think about His love and grace. The further you are from Jesus, you weirder you act. You focus on the rules and how you need to behave to avoid hell.
Jesus comes and knocks on the door of your heart. He wants to hang out with you. He wants you to walk into the process of having a changed life. To open the door to Jesus begins when you decide, I want to be close to Jesus regardless of my circumstances. It means you want to have a family like relationship with Jesus regardless of your circumstances. That’s the point of family; to walk through life together.
The reason most people don’t open the door to Jesus, they aren’t interested in life change, they want a God to change the circumstances.
How do you open the door to Jesus? Jesus taught, 5 “And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? 6 “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” MSG Matthew 6:5-6
To be close to Jesus means that we have a prayer life that results in us sensing God’s grace.
Paul taught, 2 For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. NLT Hebrews 4:12-13
To be close to Jesus we are reading the bible because it is loaded with power to shape and mold our thoughts and emotions.
7 You are Christ’s body – that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything. MSG 1 Corinthians 12:27-28
The last part of being close to God, is doing something. It’s in the context of community where you discover who you really are and who you are not.
Let me ask you, has Jesus disappointed you? Chances are, you wanted Him to change your circumstances and you didn’t want Him to change your heart. Jesus knocks on the door of your heart. You can open that door and hang out with Him. Pray. Read. Serve. It’s available to everyone.