Where Would We Find Jesus Today?

The answer is that he would not be where we would expect.

In Luke19:1-10 we read that Jesus passed by a rich tax collector, who had been seeking Jesus, and then asks to eat with him at his house. That might not sound like a big deal to us, but lets put this in our context.

Remember the financial crisis of 2008 that was caused by the shady business practices of big bankers in the US? Many people lost savings, homes, and experienced terrible suffering because of what those bankers did. Many of these bankers made huge fortunes as the financial sector collapsed in the US and then around the world. Now imagine one of those bankers, who was responsible for some much loss and suffering, hears that Jesus is in town and he goes looking for him.

The story in Luke is very much like this situation. Tax collectors were disliked by the Jews of Jesus’ time because they were seen as extortionists and traitors because they were collecting taxes for the Romans. There is an important point to this story though. It says the tax collector was “seeking” Jesus, meaning he knew he had done wrong and wanted to know how he could make it right. If that 2008 banker went looking for Jesus, I think it was because he knew he had done something terribly wrong and wanted to know how he could make it right.

So what does it mean if Jesus is willing to talk to and even eat with someone who had caused so much suffering but was repentant and seeking to make things right? It means that Jesus can extend mercy to those who most of us could not, even to world-class crooks. Jesus spends time with people who are in need of mercy.

But how about “where” Jesus would be. There is another story in John 4:1-15 that shows that Jesus goes where nobody would expect him to go. The text says that Jesus was traveling to Judea and decided to walk through an area called Samaria. This place was within Israel, but the people that lived there had grievances with the rest of the Jews that went back many centuries.

The Jews and the Samaritans lived together, but they remained strained in their relations. Most Jews would go around this place if they were travelling, but Jesus went straight through it and stopped to speak with a woman along the way. He explained to her that the differences that had kept them at odds were now ended because of the new way God was speaking to all people — though Jesus.

I think we would find Jesus in similar places in Canada, talking with anyone that wanted to speak with him. The point of the text in the gospel of John is that Jesus was removing barriers to God that had been put up by religious leaders. I think we would find Jesus doing the same thing today. His message has not changed. His message is that God has shown his love to all people by trading their sorrows for his joy. And this comes by faith in Jesus.

If Jesus walked among us today, he would be forgiving people who did not expect to be forgiven and walking and talking with people who did not expect to see him.