Soon people across the globe will participate in Easter egg hunts. South Africa heralds the world’s largest, hiding over 100,000 eggs and tiny treasures. Soon, people of Jewish heritage will participate in the Seder as part of their Passover celebration. Adults will hide a piece of matzah called the afikoman and kiddos will hunt it down for some splendid prize. Soon people across the world will attend resurrection services, many trying to understand the fascination with hiding.
Do you feel Jesus is hiding? Life’s gotten rough. Infertility persists. Bankruptcy hit. Addiction ravages. Abuse resumes. Unemployment continues. And it feels like Jesus is playing heavenly-hide-n-seek to test your sincerity and spiritual maturity.
I get it. Totally. I’ve wandered through seasons of confusion and misery – especially in ministry – wondering why Jesus said, “Seek” if he was just gonna hide. I’ve felt ignored, even rejected in those seasons, and decided to strive harder, serve longer, sing louder. I hunted and hunted. Shook every tree of faulty theology. Turned over every leaf of self-loathing. Until I finally realized: Jesus wasn’t hiding. In fact, through his conversation with the disciples in the Upper Room, Jesus already told me exactly where he was.
“’…Now I am going to the one who sent me…But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I am going away. For if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment— concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth” [Jn 16. 5, 7-13].
Here Jesus articulated the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the lost, his working on the conscience of an unbeliever to convict or arouse an awareness of depravity, debauchery, and, ultimately, of being in a state of judgment (Ro 1). And Jesus pronounced the Spirit’s working on the conscience of believers to convince us that an attitude or action is contradictory to who Christ is and who we are in him. Jesus continued the conversation, saying that while he would live physically in heaven, interceding on behalf of believers, he would also live spiritually within each of us by the Holy Spirit (Jn 17.20-26, 1 Jn 2.1).
See, Jesus told us exactly where to find him.He was – and is – the worst hide-n-seek player of all time! Actually, he’s not hiding. We are. Behind masks of self-sufficiency or shame. In caves of isolation or insecurity. In corner offices of worldly success. In Sunday Schools and pews. Hiding. Struggling to believe and receive his love – a love so extravagant it makes us skittish. Struggling to believe and receive his grace – active expressions of that extravagant love. Expressions on display throughout the crucifixion as the Son of God was stripped naked, whipped and beaten til his bones were exposed, then billboarded with nails to a stake…all the while thinking of and longing for me…you…us. Expressions on display throughout the resurrection as the dead body of Christ breathed again and the Father declared the Son’s sacrifice utterly sufficient. Sin vanquished. Reconciliation with the Father made possible.
Thisis the Easter message! And, it continues everyday with his extravagant love and grace on brilliant display as he is present and working in our daily lives. Come, dear one; we need no longer hide.
What are you experiencing in this season that prompts the feeling/thought of Jesus being distant?
In what ways do you hide from him? Others? Yourself?