Jesus is nearer than you think
Sometimes Jesus is all around us and we don’t even notice. He is working things out and providing answers or simply providing for us but we don’t even see it.
“Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” – Mark 6:34
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” – John 10:27
One of the characteristics of sheep is that that they don’t have very good eyesight when it comes to seeing things right in front of them. Their eyesight is a little fuzzy when looking straight at something. It’s not a surprise then that Jesus calls us sheep because we as humans beings share some common characteristics with them.
Can’t see God’s help right in front of me
Let me share something about this and my daughter Liz. As many of you know my daughter Liz is suffering from a degenerative disease that ends the life of many people prematurely. In other words, she may die in a few years around her 26th birthday. This has not been easy for my wife and I amy family to accept.
So one day I was really crying out to the Lord to her for healing. Then I remembered how beautifully God has provided for my family and for Liz for her to stay in a private nursing home for young people with severe disabilities.
All her needs are being met. She is clean, safe, loved, cared for and I can lay my head down on my pillow at night and sleep knowing Liz is taken care of. Isn’t that just alike a sheep? I couldn’t see the blessings God was providing for us even though they right there in front of my face.
Sometimes we need proof it really is Jesus in front of us
Here is a true story of what happened to a woman named Mary (not Jesus’s mother) after Jesus rose from the dead.
“Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.
“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
“Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).
“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” – John 20:11-18
Here was Mary talking with Jesus and looking right at Him but because she thought Jesus was dead it never occurred to her that He was the one she was talking to. And we are sometimes like that: we are looking at Jesus working in our lives right before our eyes but we don’t see Him because we are not expecting Him to be there.
Sometimes we are looking right at Jesus but we don’t believe what He can do
Getting back to sheep: we are very much like them in that we can’t see clearly what is right before our very eyes.
Here is a true story about how people reacted to Jesus when He showed up after a man had been dead for 4 days.
“Lazarus is dead…When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days…Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”
“Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.”
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”…
“Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.
But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”
Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” – John chapter 11 excerpts
The people around Jesus had no idea that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. Not even one. And aren’t we just a little like that, weak in our faith? Talking a big talk but when it comes to believing that Jesus is going to do something good in our lives we simply lose faith and don’t see Jesus for who He is really is and what He is doing and going to do in our lives.
Opening the eyes of the blind
Oh if only our eyes would be opened to see how much Jesus loves us and how much He is around us – that Jesus is always right before our very eyes.
The Bible says “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6
Jesus is always with us. He is with us in every situation and wherever our eyes turn. He is with us in every problem and circumstance we find ourselves in. Hallelujah! Let’s enjoy God’s presence and care for us: let’s be happy and praise Him all day long for all the wonderful things He has done in our lives. God is great.
How close is God to us?
It says in Romans chapter 10:
“Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says,
“The message is very close at hand;
it is on your lips and in your heart.”
And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Let’s enjoy God and His peace
Let us look to God with our eyes of faith. Let us believe His word that He is always with us and by so believing we will see Him. Even when we don’t believe we sometimes see Him – but if we believe He is always with us we will see Him more.