Looking for Jesus
Let’s consider this Scripture from Psalm 121 verses 1 and 2 to set our gaze in the right direction towards Jesus …I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Recently, when we were on holiday in Orkney, we visited a beach, to look for ‘Groatie Buckies’, which is a small, pretty shell. Anyone looking for them has to be very committed to the task as it requires spending much time on your knees, focused on your goal to find what you know is already there … somewhere. While we were on the beach, Artic Skua, Artic Tern, Puffins and other amazing birds were flying low overhead. So, there was a decision needed, to look down for the small shells on a very shelly beach or to look up to watch this overhead display.
Sometimes we can be right to look up, other times we are right to look down, but what really matters, is we keep looking at Jesus. Because, in the natural, we can get so focused on looking down that we see only the problem, forgetting to look up at God to ask for His help and experience peace in that situation through our faith. Other times, we miss what God has placed right in front of us, because we are looking for something bigger, better, different, or more exciting.
The direction of our gaze at Jesus matters, as we take the right perspective, at the right time, to be able to see what God is doing and what He is calling us to. We know, for example, it’s important we spend time with heads bowed down in prayer, all the while keeping our eyes on God’s bigger plan and purpose, as we look up to follow Him.
There are two good examples that talk about the direction of our gaze in the Bible, as told in Luke chapter 18. This tells of two people with different attitudes of heart. The first, a religious man who looked up full of pride, but stood on his own having no need for God, so God wasn’t with him. His pious words of prayer didn’t match the attitude of his heart. His pride deceived him into thinking his own works, and his religion, made him righteous, therefore, he had no need for God’s saving power.
The other, a tax collector, who looked down in humble remorse for his ways, he looked for God to come alongside him, knowing that in his current spiritual state he was far from God and desperately needed His saving grace.
Jesus is teaching us that religion gains a man nothing, God is only interested in relationship. It’s personal and nothing less will do.
Another tax collector, Zacchaeus, demonstrates this to us in Luke chapter 19. He made it his personal goal to look for Jesus, climbing as high as he could to see Jesus clearly. As Zacchaeus looked down, we get insight into the humility of heart that was beginning to emerge in his heart. And interestingly, at that point Jesus saw Zacchaeus and responded by looking up,and intimately said ‘come down, for today I must stay at your house’, and God’s plan for Zacchaeus’ salvation transformed his life, as Zacchaeus joyfully received Jesus.
Mainly in Scripture, when Jesus looks up, He is speaking to His Heavenly Father or giving a blessing. And, true to form in Luke 19, we find Him blessing the lost soul Zacchaeus.
When Jesus looked down from heaven seeing the lost, far from God, He came down to earth and went as low as He could go to save our lost souls. Jesus came down to earth that we could be lifted up into God’s presence in heaven, for all eternity. So, the calling of God will never lead us on a downward path: God will never put you down, keep you down, or let you down. Any time you spend looking for Jesus will be a blessing: Jesus will pick you up, hold you up and fix you up.
Spiritually speaking, perhaps we need to get out of our rut and look up to see God in a new way. Metaphorically speaking, perhaps we need to climb a tree so we can see Jesus clearly, from a new perspective with a new attitude of heart. Therefore, the need to look up or to look down depends on where we are starting from: a place of humility or pride. Are you willing to look down, humbly seeking God’s mercy, joyfully accepting his offer to start again with a life transformed in Jesus? Are you ready to look up, to see Jesus standing before you, saying, receive all I offer you today, remember how I love you, know I am in control? Don’t stand alone, but look for Jesus and see God’s plan for your salvation begin to unfold. Today, Jesus says to you, ‘I am coming to stay at your house’. For those who receive Him, this becomes, today, your life will be transformed in the light of His love and acceptance.
Heavenly Father, we look to You, asking that You help us to respond to Your word in faith. Let us look in the right direction desiring to see Jesus more clearly, making our seeking personal. We thank you for reaching down to us through Jesus Christ, and for lifting us up into new life in our Saviour, in whose name we pray, Amen.