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Where’s Jesus?

In 1987, the popular book of animated, detailed, and colorful pages called Where’s Waldo? was published. Your purpose was to find Waldo on a large two page spread which could take up to 8 weeks for the artist, Martin Hanford, to fully illustrate. Different books served as hunting grounds for Waldo in various settings like the beach, Hollywood, and travel. Finding Waldo was a fun source of entertainment whether alone or with friends and could even become a source of irritation because of how obscure he was and even deceptively integrated to make him difficult to locate.

This is how I feel about Jesus. Finding Him, especially in settings where He should be unquestionably found, almost becomes a game and is certainly a source of irritation. Where is He in our churches, homes, schools, and work? In some places, it could take days or even weeks to find Him. In some places, He simply is not there.

Oh, but you might say, “Of course, Jesus is in our churches. We love Jesus!” I think a lot of “church” people like the thought of Jesus, and they like to think He is in their churches. Sadly, however, He is NOT there. John 1:1, 14, tells us Jesus is the Word of God and He became flesh to dwell among us. If Jesus is God’s Word and we say He is in our churches, then His Word needs to clearly taught when we are in His house—as we see modeled throughout the Bible.

Try to teach Jesus’ Words to “country club church,” “hipster church,” or “brewery church,” and you’ll get crucified. When they say, “Oh, we love Jesus,” what they really mean is He can sit in the corner with His mouth duct-taped shut, because they might want the name but they don’t want to hear what He has to say. This is pitiful. My church, on the other hand, is hungry for Jesus AND His Words. I praise the Lord for that! When you or I go to church, we should expect to hear God’s Word clearly taught in Bible study and clearly proclaimed verse by verse from the pulpit. We should have our Bibles in hand, or on our phone, ready to open up and read. We should ask our children what did they learn and what does it mean to them?

What should it look like? If I go to church and the Bible is never referenced, there is a problem. We were recently at a Christian based fund-raiser for an organization whose purpose was to meet people’s needs and share the gospel. Jesus’ name was never mentioned and neither was the gospel. This same travesty happens in church. We have pastors, teachers, deacons, and ministry staff who lead in preaching, teaching, and meetings without ever opening God’s Word and letting His Word pierce to the darkest places of our hearts. We should expect to be faced with our sin. Every time we gather together we should be earnestly hungry for the Bread of Life to be taught. It should be taught, and you should expect someone to teach it. We don’t toss the Word of God around in groups and evaluate what it says like we see news handled in talk shows. God’s Word is not something left to our own interpretation, it has specific meaning that needs to be taught specifically.

Where is Jesus in our schools? Man, that’s a sad topic. In public schools, we need Him on display in our teachers and students who follow Jesus. In Christian schools, we need that also, along with Jesus and a biblical worldview clearly on display in the core curriculum, our literature, and our music concerts—not an afterthought. As believers, this shouldn’t even be a question.

Is Jesus in our workplace? How can He be? The disciples showed us the bold example of “we cannot but speak of the things that we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). While I believe you should honor your employer and shouldn’t stop productivity to share the gospel, casual conversation always involves your marriage, your kids, your hobbies, and it can also sweetly involve Jesus and who He is to you. He should also be on display in our work ethic, in how we honor others and our bosses, and in our lack of gossip.

In our homes, Jesus and the truths of God’s Word should be on our lips whether we are hanging out, eating dinner, or driving kids around town. He should be on display in how we handle conflict, how we treat each other, how we show hospitality to others, and how we are no longer slaves to sin. That won’t happen if you and I aren’t daily on our knees in prayer and in God’s Word to hear from Him ourselves. God’s Word is no small thing. Deuteronomy 32:47 tells us, “For it is no empty word for you, but your very life.” As we enter this Christmas season, make sure Jesus is preeminent in your life, and ask yourself is Jesus clearly seen in your church, your home, and your workplace?

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