The Old Testament prophets taunted the nations around Israel for having gods made of wood and stone. “If they fall over,” the prophets said, “you have to go help them stand up. What kind of god is that?”
“If your god wants to go anywhere, you have to put in the back of your wagon and haul him around. What kind of god can’t walk around?”
One of the most astonishing revelations about God in Scripture is we have a God who moves. His Spirit broods over creation. He walks in the garden with Adam. God drops in and has dinner with Abraham. He confronts Moses on the mountain and leads Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land in a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.
In the Psalms, God can be far off or He can draw near. God, it seems, was always out walking around.
We shouldn’t be surprised to discover His Son, Jesus, was the same way. Jesus wasn’t much for staying in the same place too long. In one of the earliest stories, Peter finds Jesus and tells Him the crowd is waiting for Him. Jesus tells Peter they need to go to the other villages and preach there. If you look at the maps in the back of your Bible, you’ll find one tracing the travels of Jesus during His ministry. You’ll find several squiggly lines between Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee. He might not have gone too far from home, but Jesus was always on the move.
Nothing has changed. The Spirit is just as restless. Look at those maps in the back of the Bible, follow the missionary journeys of Paul and you’ll see multi-colored, squiggly lines all over the Roman Empire. The Spirit didn’t stop there. From Rome to Europe and from Europe to the Americas and from the Americas to the Far East and back to the Middle East again – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We serve a restless Trinity.
This is a frustrating characteristic of Jesus if you’re one of His followers. Jesus won’t stay where we put Him. He won’t stay in the same place. Whenever we have a significant experience with Jesus, the place where that experience occurred becomes sacred. Sometimes it’s a room in our house. Sometimes, it’s a pew in a church or the place we sat in the woods after a long hike – wherever it is, we hold onto that place because that’s the place where Jesus was as real has He’s ever been to us. We’ll never forget that place.
But we’re human and that closeness to Jesus is hard to hold onto. Life happens. Our spiritual fire goes out and we long to recapture that moment. So, we go back to our sacred space fully expecting Jesus to be waiting on us. He’s not. He’s moved on.
Or, we put Jesus in one area of our life and tell Jesus He can stay in this one section, but He can’t walk into any of the other parts of our lives. Good luck with that. Jesus will soon be walking all over your life. No matter what you do, Jesus won’t stay where you put Him.We quickly learn if we’re looking for Jesus to always look ahead. He never stays in our past. He’s always waiting for us in the future.
This is the double-edged message of Easter. Good News! Jesus is alive! Bad News! We don’t know where He is! There is something deeply disturbing about a Savior who won’t stay where you put Him. We want to know where Jesus is all the time. If Jesus carried a cell phone, we’d want His number. OK, so maybe we don’t talk to Jesus every day, but that’s not the point. We want to know we can talk to Jesus when we want to.
But Jesus has His own agenda. He has His own plan… and like His Father, He’s always on the move.
Where is He going?
You don’t know?
He told us. He was always telling us. Jesus is on a mission. He was sent by the Father to seek and save the lost, to liberate the captives, to free the hostages, and rescue the dying. That’s what Jesus told Mary and Joseph when they asked why He was still in the Temple. That’s what He told Peter when Peter wanted to control His preaching agenda. Jesus had to be about His Father’s work and that meant He’d always be on the move.
What do you do with a Jesus who’s on the move? A Savior whose dogged pursuit of those He seeks won’t let Him give up? Whose love won’t let him rest?
On Easter morning, the angel told the women to be sure and tell Peter Jesus was looking for him. Can you imagine Peter’s face when he heard that news? The women would have been telling the disciples about finding the tomb empty and then, they would look at Peter and say, “The angel said Jesus was looking for you.”
After Peter’s denial, after his absolute failure of Jesus, Peter gets the word Jesus is looking for him. Peter’s heart must have jumped into his throat. Jesus was coming for Him.
Like the rest of us, Peter didn’t understand Jesus was waiting in Galilee to save his disciple. Yes, Jesus was after Peter, but it was to redeem him, to restore him, not to condemn him. Peter would spend the rest of his life trying to fully understand what it meant to have Jesus looking for him.
But we know. The Shepherd is looking for His sheep. He’s looking for us. This is the good news of Easter – Jesus loves us so much He refuses to stay where we put Him. Happy Easter! Jesus is on the move, and He’s looking for you.