July 24, 2015

Finding Jesus

Passage: Matthew 11:28

Bible Text: Matthew 11:28 | Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living |

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28, KJV

Any visitor to Copenhagen would be short-changed apart from a visit to both the Cathedral and to the museum featuring the work of the great Bertel Thorvaldsen, the Danish sculptor, whose works are so life-like that it seems you should be able to command them to speak.

In the museum you have the prototypes of Christ and the twelve apostles. The image of Jesus is particularly striking as He stands with arms outstretched, reaching gently for the hand of the person who is in need. Thorvaldsen patterned his work after the image projected by Matthew’s text where Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, KJV).

After the work by Thorvaldsen was placed in the cathedral, a European art critic came to see what Thorvaldsen had done. The man entered the nave and stood in the rear gazing with skepticism at the image of Christ. Disappointed, he turned and started to leave when a boy—probably one of the choir boys—saw the man and said, “No, mister. This is not the way to see Jesus.” Then tugging at his coat sleeve, he said, “Follow me and I’ll show you how to see Jesus.” To humor the lad, the critic followed. Reaching Thorvaldsen’s Christ, the lad knelt in front of him. “Come on. Kneel down,” he said. Reluctantly, he knelt and then looked up into the image of Christ. What a difference! Now he saw it and realized that Thorvaldsen had purposely designed the work to be seen best from a kneeling position.

Could this explain why a group describing themselves as The Jesus Seminar want to distance themselves from most of what Jesus said? It is only when we kneel at His feet in submission and surrender that we come to a full understanding of who He is and what He did and said.

People often say, “I found Jesus,” and tell about a conversion experience, but the reality is the opposite. It is He who finds us, who searches for us as a shepherd does lost sheep, who lifts us out of the gutter, who redeems us when we are at the point of quitting. Jesus said simply, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus had a habit of revealing Himself to people when they least expected it: to the women at the tomb, to the disciples behind closed doors, to the Galilean fishermen when they couldn’t catch anything, and to Saul as he was on his way to Damascus to take believers into custody—to mention but a few of these instances.

Can you pick up the New Testament and read the record with confidence? Absolutely! Can I find out who Jesus was and is by listening to authorities? That all depends on whether they are blind men, looking for a light switch, in a room where the light bulb has burned out, or they have seen the light and can tell you how to find it yourself. I recommend, however, that you go straight to the source documents themselves—the four biographies of Jesus Christ which are called the Gospels.

If you have never had an encounter with the living Christ who rose from the dead, I would like to suggest that you begin reading the Gospel of John. Read it straight through. Read it through again, and then read it through the third time using a different version. Can Jesus be found today? Simply put, He’s not lost. We’re the ones who need to be found. But if you search for Him, He’ll meet you with open arms, inviting you to come and to behold Him in his beauty and purity. In the shadow of your dark night, you can reach out for His hand. He still says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest” (Matthew 11:28, The Message).

The real Jesus—the one Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote about—is worth meeting. He will change your life and your future.

Resource reading: Acts 9