He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” – Matthew 28:6
On that first Easter Sunday while Jesus’ disciples hid in fear and confusion, a group of ladies went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body with perfumes and spices. They didn’t get a chance to participate in the preparation of His body three days prior when He was crucified. However, when they arrived they were met with a bewildering scene — the stone had been rolled away and the tomb was empty. As they stood there puzzled and perplexed about where the body of Jesus was, contemplating who would have taken Him, an angel appeared and said, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” (Luke 24:5-6). They were looking for Jesus in a place where He wasn’t because they hadn’t fully understood God’s plan.
On the first Christmas when Jesus was born, wise men from the east came to worship Him and present gifts. They went where it was natural to go to look for one born king of the Jews — they went to Jerusalem. However, Jesus was not in Jerusalem, rather He was in the little town of Bethlehem. They were looking for Jesus in a place where He wasn’t because they didn’t understand God’s plan.
Years later when Jesus was 12, His parents unintentionally left Him behind in the large city of Jerusalem. They turned back to Jerusalem and sought for Him for three days. Finally, they found Him — not where they expected a 12-year-old boy to be. They found Him in the temple talking with the teachers. Mary and Joseph first looked for Jesus where He wasn’t because they didn’t fully understand God’s plan.
Throughout history people have looked for Jesus where He wasn’t. They thought He must be in a certain place, but He wasn’t there. You never really know who Jesus is until you know where He is not. Many look for Jesus to be a life coach — someone who has some good sayings and helpful tips to make their life happy. Others look for Jesus as a spiritual good luck charm — someone to get them out of trouble or to help them through the hard times of life. Those who look for Jesus as only someone to improve their life, to make them happier don’t often find Him, because they don’t fully understand God’s plan.
Jesus did not come to improve your life, He came to deliver you from your sins. Those who realize they stand guilty and condemned before God because of their sin and look to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and the salvation of their eternal soul find Him because, that is God’s plan.
Tom Kline is the pastor of Castlegar Baptist Church