What Determines Where

Most of us have can remember times when we have lost things and had to go looking for them. When you are looking for something, the thing you are looking for determines where you look.

If you are looking for sunshine and warm weather, you look south. If you are seeking snow and cold Minnesota has that covered. If you are working on a project and need a tool you go to the garage or the workroom or wherever the tools are kept. If you are looking for your phone, well that could be anywhere. And, of course, when you find something it’s always in the last place you look! What you are looking for determines where you look.

The Bible tells us that the first Easter morning a group of women were looking for the dead body of Jesus, so that determined where they were looking. They were looking in a tomb in the city of Jerusalem. They were carrying spices so that they could cover up the stench of Jesus’ decaying body. But they soon discovered Jesus was not there.

The angel that they encountered at the tomb asks the women, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” In other words, Jesus is alive, why are you looking for him in a place where dead people are kept?

If they were really serious about finding Jesus on that first Easter Sunday, they should have been looking not in Jerusalem but in Galilee. Before he died, Jesus had told his followers that he would die and rise again and meet them in Galilee: 

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.’” (Matthew 26:31-32)

Galilee would make sense as a place to meet for several reasons. Jesus had conducted much of his ministry there. It would be far from Jerusalem where he was killed and where his enemies were determined to erase any memory of him from peoples’ minds. In Galilee Jesus could teach his disciples the meaning of his resurrection without any distractions.

Sometimes when you are looking for something you retrace the steps you took and the places you have been back to the time and place you knew you had it. What a difference it would have made if the women had retraced the steps they took with Jesus when he told them all about what was going to happen. If they had remembered what Jesus said, as soon as he was buried, they would have headed to Galilee because that is where he said he would meet them.

When we have strayed from God it’s a good idea to retrace our steps. Then we can see where we got sidetracked and try to avoid that happening again.

Jesus has made it clear where we can find him today. It’s not in Jerusalem or in Galilee, the places that Jesus appeared to his disciples to prove that he was alive. It is in his word, the Bible. God’s Word reveals to us what Jesus’ disciples were blessed to see with their own eyes; the Good News that we are saved through faith in our crucified and risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

When we stray away from God he knows exactly where to find us. The moment we stray from God we immediately turn to sin. So that’s all God has to do, go find where the sinners hang out and there, he will find us. And because he sent his beloved Son to die for us, we know that he never stops looking.

Many people do not realize that, through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, God has provided us with eternal life. Consequently, they are not even looking for eternal life. Instead, they are focused only on the things of this world. The Apostle Paul writes in First Corinthians, chapter fifteen: “If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” Every Easter is an opportunity to tell the world the good news that, in Christ, God has given us eternal life.

When you are looking for something, what you are looking for determines where you look. When we stray from God, we always turn to sin, so God always knows where to find us. And because Jesus died for us and rose from the dead we know that he will never stop looking.

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