Seek Jesus, Not Experiences

There is a scene in the Gospel of John that has me reeling this week. In John 11, Jesus raises his friend Lazarus from the dead. John tells us that many people put their faith in Jesus because of this miracle. When we move to John 12 we read this:

“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.”

John 12:1-2

Lazarus, freshly raised from the dead, is casually reclining at a dinner party! In verse 9, John tells us that when people heard Jesus was nearby, many came to see Jesus and to see Lazarus “who had been raised from the dead.” What a wild scene that had to be for those involved. Many would have known Lazarus died, attended his funeral, and saw him placed in the grave. Now, Lazarus was throwing a party for Jesus. Lazarus is not the main focus of the story. The focus of the story is on Jesus, who raised Lazarus from the dead.

We live in a bit of an ADHD world, always looking for the shiny object in life. We want to be entertained at Church. We look for the next big spectacle. Even our news cycles so quickly to try and keep our attention (or to divert our attention). In the story, the spectacle is the presence of Lazarus. People are coming from far and wide to see Lazarus. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see someone who was dead that is now alive? In the midst of everything is Jesus.

How many times do we get caught up in the details, the spectacle, and the busyness of life and miss Jesus? How often do we pursue what we think God wants for our future that we miss out on what God has for us right now?

I believe that the passage encourages Christians to be wary of chasing after experiences, methods, or causes that promise to transform, and instead, we are called to fall at the feet of Jesus and offer him our lives. There is no substitute for knowing Jesus.

We are just a few weeks from our Easter celebration. There will be beautiful flowers, inspiring music, and a message of the hope of Resurrection. In the excitement of the season, let us not miss out on the opportunity to fall and worship at the feet of Jesus. As we come to worship, let us invite others to experience God’s love and salvation through Jesus Christ.

About Steve LaMotte

Husband of Andrea and father of four amazing children. Pastor at Avenue United Methodist Church in Milford, Delaware.
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