“Quaeramus inventium” … let us search after Him who has been found. – St. Augustine, Tractate 63, commentary on John 13:33
The rhetorically gifted country pastor told a hilarious joke about a Saturday night drunk who, Sunday morning, was trying to find his way home and instead stumbled into the middle of a rural creek-side baptism ceremony. The hapless sot nearly drowned as he was repeatedly dunked and asked, each time, “Have you found Jesus?”
Finally, the drenched, bewildered tippler spit and wheezed, “I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him!”
The dynamic pastor’s presentation was probably funnier than the joke itself. But let’s consider this poor lush as an apt metaphor for the sin, fallenness, problems, pride, inconsistencies, strivings, shortfalls and even physical ailments that any one of us … actually, probably, every one of us … has encountered somewhere along the line. Whether a life-long Christian, late-to-the-party believer (that’s me) or the possessor of a faith experience somewhere in-between, undoubtedly, the fact that we’re supposed to be looking for Jesus is on our radar.
But do we understand the much larger truth that we are supposed to keep looking for Jesus? And the one truth larger than that: That Jesus is looking for us?
Psalm 69:32 coaches us, “… seek ye God, and your soul shall live.” In Christ, God has come among us. The infinite, eternal mystery has stepped into humanity and brought us a glimpse of the totality of God’s truth. But we don’t see the totality of Christ, the Truth or God’s glory all at once; we won’t see them completely in this life no matter how long we keep searching. That’s because it is in the seeking, not the knowledge, that divine relationship is built.
We may be granted a momentary vision of the Christ, a revelatory experience that invites us to go forward in faith. Yet if we fix our eyes and hearts on that fleeting vision, it limits Christ’s reign in our lives.
The Bible repeatedly describes Jesus not giving straight answers as to his identity. Nathaniel, who famously asked if “anything good could come out of Nazareth,” met Jesus who said He had already seen him under a fig tree. Nathaniel was dazzled. Jesus had seen him, sought him, first. But Jesus said to Nathaniel, “greater things than this thou shalt see.” (John 1:50)
The joy of the one-time vision must stimulate, not interrupt, the vision, truth, love, faith, hope and relationship growing in our lives.
Have you found Jesus? Great. Keep looking.
Walters (email@example.com) is reading “Jesus: A Dialogue with the Savior,” which quotes Augustine. Brilliant book. Btw, Bob used that baptism joke before but can’t remember when.