When Danny and I went on a trip to the San Juan Islands a couple of years ago, there were puzzles laid out on some of the tables of the ferry that we took to get from the main land to the islands. After walking around the deck and spotting a few whales, we both settled into a booth inside with a puzzle to entertain us for the rest of the journey. I got my game face on and began scouring for missing pieces. After studying and studying, picking up, examining them closer, trying a couple out for size…I had yet to fit one piece onto the rest of the puzzle. Danny, on the other hand, had his half nearly complete and was putting his jacket back on to go whale watching again.
Have you ever had this experience? Something is right in front of your face and you still can’t see it. The person next to you is dumbing things down as much as possible without completely insulting your intelligence as they try to point it out to you. But you just can’t see it.
The same thing happened to the people in Jesus’ day.
His ministry is about to begin. The world has been waiting for Jesus ever since the day that sin separated creation from the Creator. Some people could sense the longing, could even articulate it, yet most of the created waited without understanding of who they were waiting for. And when they did finally lay eyes on the Savior their spirits yearned for, they didn’t recognize Him.
He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’” John 1:10-15
John, Jesus’ cousin, was sent as a messenger. His role was to pave the way for the people to receive the long-awaited Savior. Yes, he was a little strange. He had long given up on the rest of society and chose to live in the desert where he wore camel’s hair for clothing and consumed locust and honey as a regular diet. But if you could get past that part, John was the only son of a much revered priest and upstanding couple in the religious community. The story of the late-in-life pregnancy that occurred after an angel revealed himself to his father and caused him to be mute until John was born was well-known and a cause for much speculation and awe.
Jesus, on the other hand, was the son of a poor carpenter’s family. Rumors followed Him that his mother became pregnant before she was married and his father came close to calling off the marriage because of it. The family had traveled around but mostly resided in Nazareth, a place that no one respectable would claim as their hometown If John was extraordinary and fascinating, Jesus must have seemed common in comparison.
The people of Jesus’ day were looking right at the Savior but unable to see Him. Instead of recognizing the Savior of the world, they looked to His cousin and messenger to fill the role. John had to continually point the people away from him and towards the One they were actually looking for.
Sin had strapped humanity onto a conveyor belt moving quickly towards destruction. Only Jesus, God in the flesh, could break the bonds of sin and death, providing us with a new beginning. But most people looked right past Him, letting their assumptions and prejudices rule Him out as the One they were looking for…the One who could free them from sin and reunite them with their Creator.
It is easy to move throughout our day without recognizing our need for the God who created us in His own image. We reach for a million different things to satisfy the void only He can fill. And too many times, our eyes look right past Him, searching for something more extravagant than the suffering servant who came to take our place. We are constantly missing Jesus.
As Pastor Danny said this last Sunday, any day can become a new beginning when we encounter the God of New Beginnings. Join us for the continuation of the series All Things New this Sunday at 10am at CenterPlace Event Center as we discover who Jesus really is and the beginning He offers us. Let’s stop missing Him.