When I think of Jesus' time here on earth, how He went about His ministry, I most often think of those times when he was out in the wilderness preaching to crowds. That's what I first envision when I think of Him preaching. He was out in the desert places, the hills and fields, where great crowds would come to Him, gather round, and listen. These places were so wild that at least twice they were too far away from a village or town to send people home for food. That's why Jesus miraculously fed those who came to hear Him preach.
That's how I see Christ – finding Him in my desolate place, feeling His presence when I'm lost and alone and deserted.
But I have this friend who recently has been talking about how He sees Christ's ministry. He speaks of how Jesus went into the streets to reach the outcast of society. He'll mention how Jesus chastised the self-righteous, and accepted the repentant ones who the “polite society” of that day would not hardly even speak to, much less eat with. How Christ approached the beggars, the adulterers, the prodigals.
Then I got to thinking – you know, Jesus is that One in the wilderness, and He's also the One reaching the outcast. He's more, too... He's also the One standing in the Temple and synagogues, preaching to the people there.
Sometimes we think God is only where we personally see Him. Our way of thinking is the only valid way. But in reality, God is in all those places.
He's in the wilderness.
He's in the alleys and edges of society.
He's in the places of worship.
He's in the places of spiritual ignorance.
I wonder if the part of the Gospels that really stands out to us individually is because that's where we personally meet Christ on a consistent basis. Like that's where we most need Him, or have found ourselves most often. I wonder if the reason all these different places are mentioned as being part of Christ's ministry is because God knew we'd all need to meet Him in different places.
Jesus is the same no matter where He is, but we're not.
He's there for each of us as individuals, if we look for Him.
Where does Jesus' presence most deeply speak to you?
Is it when you've been desolate, with no friends? Or an outcast from society? Has it been when you were feeling prideful and had to be brought low? Or when you were searching, ignorant of what you needed, but willing to listen?