The Christmas season is now upon us. An article I read recently about Christmas mentioned that the book of Matthew begins and ends with reminders that God is with us, which is the meaning of Jesus’ name – Immanuel (Matthew 1: 20-23; 28: 18-20). God had made this promise throughout history and fulfilled it physically through Jesus’ life on earth. It continues to be true even today, although the physical Jesus has ascended back to heaven (Joshua 1: 5, 9; Acts 1: 9-11).
Before he left, Jesus promised to return, but that he’d still be with us in Spirit during his physical absence (John 14: 1-3, 15-21; Acts 2: 38, 39; Galatians 3: 26-4: 7). Christians who realize this and carry around the death of Jesus to reveal his life can face whatever comes because they know they’ll never be abandoned (2 Corinthians 4: 5-12; Hebrews 13: 5, 6; Romans 8: 31-39). While the glory of God shone round about the angels and shepherds at Jesus’ birth, it’s now to shine in and from the hearts of Christians to show the world the good news that God loves them and desires to be with them for eternity as well (John 3: 16; 2 Peter 3: 9).
Jesus associated with drunkards and prostitutes to lead them out of that lifestyle hoping that they could be where he is for eternity (Matthew 11: 19; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11). We have no record that he met with them at the bars or other places where they practiced their sin, though. We do know that he promised to be with us even when only two or three of us are gathered in his name (Matthew 18: 20). That’s the key; we have to be gathered in his name, doing his will, and not expect him to be with us no matter what we do, even if it involves sin (Colossians 3: 17; Romans 3: 8).
Sometime soon, Jesus will come back to take all the Christians to the place he has prepared for us so that we can be with him forever (or he could be with us) (John 17: 24; Romans 13: 11). That’s future tense. In the context of talking about his approaching death on the cross, Jesus maintained that his servants would follow him and be where he was. That’s both present and future tense. We only have this life in which to serve him and it’s after we serve him here that God will honor us forever (John 12: 25, 26). Consequently, whatever we do or wherever we go in this life, we need to consider not only what Jesus would do, but also where Jesus would go to be sure that he’s there with us.
Do you go places you know Jesus won’t be? The new year is coming up. Resolve now to not only ask, “What would Jesus do?” but also, “Where would Jesus go?” Better yet, why wait for the new year? Start staying in Jesus’ presence now.