Faithlife Sermons

Where Is Jesus? (3-21-2021)

Where O Lord?  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:50
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Morning message for at home worship

Text: John 7.10-13 Title: Where is Jesus? Topic: The Immanence of Christ Series: Where, O Lord?, Sermon 2 Occasion: Sun AM, March 21, 2021, Duncanville FWB Introduction: Last week we noted how frequently we encounter the word "where" in the Gospel of John, and I noted that there are three where questions that are asked multiple times throughout the Gospel. These questions occur so regularly that they form a subtheme of the book. In the previous message we examined the first of these questions: where did Jesus come from. This morning, I want us to consider the second important question. This question can be found in John 7.11 Reading of the Text: John 7.10-13 I. The Question: Where Is Jesus? During the first century AD there lots of questions regarding Jesus. One of these questions was where was Jesus? People were wondering where they could find him. I think some people are wondering that question even today. When we have a need in our life, we wonder where is Jesus? When we experience a loss or tragedy, we wonder where is Jesus? When we are seeking acceptance, forgiveness, and salvation, we wonder where is Jesus? This morning, I want us to not only consider the question but find the answer to where we can find Jesus. II. Two Reasons Why People Want to Know Where Jesus Is In the book of John we discover that there are two primary reasons why people wanted to know where Jesus is. A. Some Wanted to Know Because They Desired to Arrest Him As we read through the book of John, we discover that there is an increasing animosity and opposition to Jesus. This is reflected in the response of some of the Jews and especially their leaders toward Jesus. John tells us in John 11.56-57 that They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple area they asked one another, "What do you think? Isn't he coming to the Feast at all?" But the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone found out where Jesus was, he should report it so that they might arrest him. Jn 11.56-57 These men were looking for Jesus because they wanted to arrest Jesus. They wanted to know where he was because they did not want anything to do with him. They wanted to prevent him from disrupting their status quo. Jesus condemned their pride, self-righteousness, and self-will. Jesus convicted them of their sin and called them to repentance, and they did not like that, so they wanted to know where he is to prevent that from happening. You know there are still people today like that. They don't want anything to do with Jesus. They want to know where he is so they can avoid him. They don't want Jesus convicting them of their sin and calling them to repentance so they avoid the places where they think they might find him. B. Others Wanted to Know Because They Desired to Follow Him Of course there were other who wanted to know where Jesus was because they desired a relationship with him. There were two disciples of John the Baptist who illustrate this. We read in John 1.35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning round, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?" They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" "Come," he replied, "and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour. John 1.35-40 John tells us that one of these two disciples of John the Baptist was Andrew the brother of Simon Peter. The other one very likely may have been the Apostle John who wrote this gospel (John has a tendency not to name himself). These two men wanted to know where Jesus was because they wanted to follow him. They wanted to have fellowship with Christ and receive the salvation he was offering. They were willing to follow even though Jesus made them no guarantees of comfort. They were willing to follow even though doing so would make them participants with Christ in his suffering. They followed because they believed Jesus was the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world. Transition: So, where do we find Jesus in the Gospel of John? III. The Places You Expect to Find Jesus At the end of the classic movie Casablanca, after Rick shoots the Nazi Commandant, Captain Louis Renault instructs the French policemen under his command to "round up the usual suspects" thereby protecting Rick by pointing the finger at those who would usually be suspects of such a crime. We may not have any usual suspects in the book of John, but there are certainly some usual places in which we would expect to find Jesus. A. In his hometown -- After the two days he left for Galilee. (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there. Jn 4.43-45 It makes sense that if you were going to look for Jesus, the place to start would be in Galilee since he was from Nazareth. Even though his own people did not always honor him we would expect to find him among them. And Jesus did spend time in Galilee as well as Judah, and was welcomed by them. B. In the synagogues and temples - If you know anything at all about Jesus, you would probably agree that he was a religious man and therefore we should expect to find him also in the house of God. At his trial before Sanhedrin, Jesus responded to the questions of the former high priest Annas by saying: "I have spoken openly to the world,... I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said." Jn 18.20-21 Basically Jesus was saying, I didn't hide either myself or my teachings from you. You knew where to find me and what I was teaching. I taught openly in the synagogues and temple, and several of you were there and saw me and heard me. If you want to find Jesus it makes sense to look for him in the house of the Lord. C. Attending the Jewish Feasts - In John chapter 7 we read an interesting story about Jesus and his brothers. His brothers had not yet believed that Jesus was the Messiah, so they challenged him, if you really want to be the Messiah you should go with us to Judea where you can do you miracles in public. Jesus did not go with his brothers but after they left John tells us. However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. Now at the Feast the Jews were watching for him and asking, "Where is that man?" Jn 7.10-11. We should not be surprised that Jesus would have attended the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. This was a major Jewish celebration of God leading them through the wilderness during the Exodus. Where we find people worshipping God, we would expect to find Jesus among them. D. Out in the Wilderness - Another place where we would probably expect to find Jesus was out in the wilderness of the Judean countryside. You might remember that at the beginning of his ministry Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness. You might also remember that probably his most famous sermon was given on a mountainside in the wilderness, the Sermon on the Mount. I think John gives us a glimpse into why Jesus may be expected to be found out in the wilderness.... Hint: It wasn't primarily because he was a naturalist or a conservationist. After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. Jn 3.22-23 You see Jesus was out in the wilderness because that's where John the Baptist was, but more importantly because that's where people were getting saved and baptized. We will always find our Savior where people are being saved! Transition: Among his people, in the house of the Lord, in the midst of worship, and where people are being saved...These are places where we naturally expect to find Jesus, but what is remarkable about the Gospel of John is that we so often find Jesus exactly where we would not expect to find him. IV. The Unexpected Places We Find Jesus A. In the Midst of Our Celebrations In John chapter two, John tells us about Jesus' first public miracle, the one in which he turned water into wine. That's pretty amazing, isn't it? But you know what I find just as amazing and unexpected is where this miracle occurred. It occurred at a wedding celebration. Think about that! Where do we find Jesus? In the midst of our celebrations! Think about that! Jesus wants to share our joys and triumphs with us. Don't be surprised to find him rejoicing in your joys - marriages, the birth of children, graduations, promotions at work, new homes, etc., etc. You just as we are likely to find Jesus in the joys of life, so we are to find him in the dark places of our lives as well. B. In the Dark of the Night In John chapter 3 we read about Nicodemas coming to Jesus. And where did he find Jesus? He found him in the night. Think about that for a second! You know we had some crazy storms this past week didn't we. We even had to dismiss service last Wednesday because the strong winds had knocked out power up and down Wheatland Rd including here at the church. As Glenn and I were talking about those storms, I told him you've never experienced a thunderstorm until you've experienced one in the Leadbelt. Where I'm from, it is not uncommon for the lightning and thunder to be so powerful that it wakes you from your sleep. I've experienced thunderstorms back home where the thunder and lightning have not only wakened me but knocked me out of the bed and even jarred open cabinet doors. I've been wakened by thunder storms where the thunder was so loud and the flask of lightning so bright that I thought we must have been nuked. I've sat straight up in the bed after being wakened by the thunder and lightning back home thinking that's it - that's Gabriel's trumpet and the coming of the Lord! Being wakened like that at night can be pretty terrifying, but you know folks, I discovered that even in the deep, dark night Jesus is there. C. Among the Outcasts If we look for Jesus in John chapter 4 we find him in a really, really unexpected place! We find him in Samaria sitting by a well in the middle of the day. Now why is that unexpected? Because Jews didn't have anything to do with Samaritans. They considered Samaritan's outcasts. They would go out of their way to avoid traveling through Samaria. But not only is Jesus among the outcast Samaritans, but he is sitting by the well where he encounters a Samaritan woman who was drawing water in the middle of the day. This is unusual. Women usually drew water in the morning or the evening. But this woman came in the middle of the day probably so she could avoid the other women, because you see she was an outcast. Where do we find Jesus among the outcast of the outcasts, and offering her living water! D. Among the Needy If we look for Jesus in John chapter 5 we find him at the pool of Bethesda. This was a place where the hopelessly sick gathered in hope that somehow, someway they might miraculously be healed of their afflictions. Yet this is where we find Jesus, among the needy. E. Feeding the Hungry If we look for Jesus in the opening verses of John 6, we will find him with the hungry multitude. Jesus could have turned these people away as his disciples suggested, but instead he chose to feed them with just five small barley loaves and two small fish. F. In the Midst of the Storm If we continue looking for Jesus in John chapter 6, we will also find him coming to his disciples in the midst of the storm. Jesus' disciples, most of whom were experienced fisherman mind you, were crossing over the sea of Galilee when a storm arose. But in the midst of that storm Jesus came. This storm in the middle of the sea was such an unexpected place to find Jesus that when they first saw him the disciple thought Jesus was a ghost. They thought he must have died. They simply could not fathom how Jesus could be in the midst of their storm. Yet he came to them walking on the water. G. Among the Accused If you look for Jesus in John chapter 8 you will find him among the accused. The Jews brought to him a woman who had been caught in adultery hoping Jesus would condemn here and allow them to stone her to death. Jesus simply replied, "Whoever among you is without sin cast the first stone" then he stooped down and began writing on the ground. After a while he looked up to see only the woman standing before him. "Woman where are your accusers?" he asked her. They have all gone, she replied. Then Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you, Go now and leave your life of sin." What an unexpected statement from Jesus who is unexpectedly found among the accused! H. Among the Grieving In John chapter 11, we find Jesus at the tomb of his friend Lazarus. Lazarus has died and his sister Mary and Martha, along with many people from their village are at the tomb mourning Lazarus' death. Jesus shares their grief and sorrow. In the shortest verse in our English Bibles, John tells us bluntly, Jesus wept! You may not expect to find Jesus with you in your grief, but he is there with you. Even more unexpectedly, he has the power to make a difference. He reminded Mary and Martha that he was the Resurrection and the Life, and then he call to Lazarus, "Come forth" restoring him to life. I. Among the Secluded At the end of John chapter 11, John tells us that the opposition to Jesus had increased to such a point that Jesus and his disciples had to lay low for a while. John tells us: Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the Jews. Instead he withdrew to a region near the desert, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples. Jn 11.54 This past year, we all had to be secluded for a time, and some are still in seclusion due to covid. That was difficult for many people. But many unexpectedly found their faith not only tried but strengthened during that time, by realizing that Jesus was with them even while they were in seclusion. J. In the Place of a Servant Probably the most unexpected place where we find Jesus is seen in John chapter 13. It was certainly unexpected for Peter and the other disciples. In John chapter 13, we unexpectedly see Jesus in the place of a servant as he sets aside his outer garments, takes a basin of water and a towel, and begins to wash his disciples feet. The disciples did not expect their master and Lord to do the lowly job of a servant. But Jesus was teaching them an important lesson, that the life of Christian is a life of love, humility, and service. He expected them to follow his example. You know in this Gospel we truly do find Jesus in some remarkable and unexpected places! But you know I think if we are going to be Christ's followers folks should find us in those places as well - rejoicing with those who rejoice, but mourning with those who mourn as well. They should find us like Jesus in the dark places among the outcasts, the needy, the hungry, the accused. They should find us serving as he served. Jesus said: Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be. Jn 12.24 Conclusion I may not know where you are in your life or what you may be going through. But folks one thing I am certain of, no matter where you are Jesus is never far away. There are places you can certainly go to find him, like this house of worship, if you are looking for him. But if you look for him in your life, I am convinced you will find him even in the most unexpected of places. If you came looking for Jesus today, we are here to help you find him. If you need help finding Jesus in your life, after we pray would come forward so that we can pray and counsel with you. 1
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