Jesus has been hidden in plain sight, by those who distort His message and co-opt it for their own purposes. Christ has become obscured by Christianity. But that is the way it has always been for God’s Truth. That is why God told Isaiah he would be preaching to people who would:
“Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.” (Isaiah 6:9) His teachings, teachings coming directly from God, would “Make the heart of this people calloused; … their ears dull and close their eyes.” (Isaiah 6:10a – excerpts). People would hear what Isaiah said, but not understand it, see it but not perceive it, because they would have their minds made up! People want to make up their own ideas instead of submitting to God’s ways. People are much more comfortable with religion than they are with Truth. By “religion,” I mean a set of rules – do’s and don’ts – so they can measure how well they are doing as they try to measure up.
The ironic thing is this:
- God’s Truth sets us free, while religion ties us up with rules.
- Religion tells us to try harder; God tells us to find the place where we rest, in tune with His Truth.
Consider what Isaiah was told to convey to the priests of his time. The priests had distorted God’s truth, making it sound as though it was for little children:
“For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule, a little here, a little there…” (Isaiah 28:10) But God had said, “This is the resting place, let the weary rest” and “This is the place of repose” – but they would not listen. (Isaiah 28:12b excerpts) “So then, the word of The Lord to them will become: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule: a little here, a little there – so they fall backward, be injured and snared and captured.” (Isaiah 28:13)
People would rather live by rules than by God’s Truth. Religions made up of rules give some people authority over others. People have made up religions based on Jesus, and have hidden Jesus behind them. Jesus came to earth with “grace and truth.” (John 1:14) If people had “eyes to see and ears to hear” Jesus told them, “If you hold to my teaching (literally: if you make your home in my understanding of reality, my ‘logos’) you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31)
Here’s the urgent deal: If all you know about Jesus has come to you from a religion, get to know Him from His Word! Seek to understand His “Logos,” His understanding of what is real and true. Pray to have eyes that see and ears that hear. A great place to start would be in the Gospel of John.