Anyone ever use Google? Probably a bit of a silly question in this day and age, but even if you don’t on a regular basis I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve searched for something either on the internet or perhaps in the local library. And how do you feel when you find your answer, or whatever it was that you were searching for? I usually feel pretty good when I get the right answer.
But searching isn’t always about finding information or answers – sometimes it’s about finding the right way to go, amen?
For those that have grown up in the church, it’s a unique experience. People who’ve grown up in the church often find that they know “the way”, and don’t really question what is right – but often find that they don’t have all the answers, or lack a surety that others seem to have.
For those who have grown up outside the church, quite often there’s a feeling of something that is missing or a general sense of unrest or dissatisfaction with life – an emptiness in life that nothing seems to be able to fill. A lot of time is spent searching for something to fill that emptiness, and depending on your upbringing that search can lead to a lot of unsavory things.
There are even some people who fit perfectly between both categories, being raised in the church but spending enough time in the world to have those same feelings.
But now we know who we should be seeking.
In our Gospel lesson today, we see Jesus, Mary, and Joseph travelling to Jerusalem once per year, and we get some specifics about the year when Jesus was about 12 years old. Jesus disappears, Mary and Joseph begin to search for him, finally finding him at the Temple. Now, I know how I feel when Tony would disappear (still feel, honestly) and that feeling I get when I can’t find him in a public place. Then, I certainly know the feeling I get when I finally find him.
We get the impression from this passage that Jesus expects that they would have known to look for him in the Temple, given that it is “God’s House’. He expected them to know Him well enough to search for him in his father’s house.
Where then, should we be searching for Jesus? I’m not going to tell you that you should be searching for Him in every church, or any specific church, because we have some great context for today from 2nd Timothy – not every church is teaching about the real Jesus. Some churches today have, quite frankly, abandoned the truth of the Gospel for a comfortable Christianity that seeks to make people comfortable and “feel good” about their faith. We don’t need to be embarrassed to serve a God that demands more of us.
God expects that we’ll know where to look for Him, and to do that we ought to know where to look – just like Jesus expected of His earthly parents. Finding him requires that we know him – Jesus reminds us that sheep know the voice of their shepherd. The easiest way to get to know God is to spend time in His word, fellowship in His house, and spending time in prayer. When we do these things, it becomes easier to find God when we’re searching.
I don’t want to come off as overly serious or negative – God asks a lot of us as part of searching for a relationship with Him. Faith can be an odd dichotomy. Jesus tells us that his burden is light, while also telling us that living to the spirit of the law is our goal – love God, love one another. That’s a pretty steep order, amen?
One of the other things that we should be searching for is peace. In our passage from Colossians today we see things we should be seeking – compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. Bearing with one another. This is done by letting the word of Christ dwell within us. Seeking to find Jesus in everything that we do, while giving thanks to God. If we seek to be peacemakers in our lives, this is our approach.
If we seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ, we have quite the journey ahead of us – but it is a journey that leads to peace in our own lives, and certainly a wonderful and amazing eternity. It’s absolutely a wonderful thing to aspire to.
Our encouragement? God’s word also tells us that if we seek, we shall find. We should be emboldened in our search for Christ in our lives by the knowledge that if we actively seek God and His Word, and seek to live to His commandments, we will find Him and we will be richly blessed – not necessarily in earthly riches but certainly in eternal riches.
Today, we can take comfort in the notion that we are not alone in our search for Christ. From a Biblical perspective, we see the search for Jesus begin with the wise men, and scripturally we see it culminate with the disciples and the early church. Historically, that was really just the beginning of the church, and what exploded into global church growth.
We search for Christ today, together, as a family of faith. The search for Christ in our lives is one that we all take on. Over the last 2 years I’ve heard some say that they don’t feel like they know their Bible well enough, or they don’t feel qualified to serve in the church because they don’t know well enough – I want to encourage you today to seek answers to your questions. I’m always here if you have questions, but more than anything I want you to know that it’s ok to seek answers on your own. Be encouraged to search for a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, and know that if you seek, you will find him.
Just remember where to look for him – not in the political theories and feel-good theology that pop-culture is more than happy to provide that is really a shallow faux-Christianity that waters down the Gospel for the sake of personal happiness and political correctness. God is not politically correct, and He also isn’t necessarily concerned with making sure that people are “happy” in the world’s terms. Seek Christ in the truth of his word, fellowship with your fellow Christians, and in spending time in prayer. You will find Him when you search, amen?