Don’t Hold Jesus at Arm’s Length By Diane Qubty

Have you ever held something at a distance? Maybe there’s a person, you’d like for them to call you friend, you think of them, but you never invite them over. You go to the games but don’t join the booster club. You sit on a pew Sunday morning but don’t get involved with anything. You love Jesus but you don’t really make Him the center of your life. You like to say that God is your first priority but you never read His Word or seek His Will. I’ve been guilty.

This past Easter as I read the story and once again stood in awe of our Savior, I was struck by the stories of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. They were both good and upright men. They were on the Jewish Council. Neither of them agreed with crucifying Jesus. They both waited eagerly for the Messiah. I don’t know if or when they realized that Jesus was the Messiah they were looking for, the Bible doesn’t really say. Joseph asked Pilate for Jesus’ body and placed Him in his own newly cut tomb. Nicodemus bought 75 pounds of burial spices for Jesus’ body. They honored Jesus as a King and a good Jew. The women watched them across the way. It was a good thing they did, but I can’t help but think of how much they missed.

They didn’t know the women or the disciples because they only came to Jesus in secret. They held Jesus at arm’s length. Joseph and Nicodemus didn’t get to hang close and hear Him on the Mount of Olives or sit in His presence or discuss what was coming with Peter and John. They kept that part of them separated from the other part. They didn’t give up their old life for a new one. They wanted to hold on to their Council position, their friends, their place at the familiar table they were accustomed to and just talk to Jesus in private. And so, while resting in that comfort and probably feeling like they were keeping themselves and their families happy and safe, they missed the greatest blessing of their time. They had the Savior right in front of them. They could have spent all their time with Him and learned from Him, but they held Jesus just far enough away so that no one else could see. 

Were they much different than you and me? What activities keep us from time with Jesus? Who do we try not to offend by being too Christian? Do I only speak of Him in private? Is God my number one priority if I have to hide Him in a closet?

Don’t miss the Savior who’s right in front of you. There’s nothing more exciting or wonderful than following Jesus Christ. There is no one that loves us the way He does! There’s such peace and comfort in giving Him my time, my fears, my money, my marriage, my children, my life. He can be trusted with what is precious to us. There’s no need to put Him on a shelf while we do the rest of life and bring Him out on special occasions. He shouldn’t feel like the uncomfortable suit and tie; He should be your comfy tennis shoes! Your feet will thank you. Make Jesus your bestie. Don’t wait until you are going to your own tomb. Take that arm that has Him pushed away and pull Him near. He is pulling you near. Wherever you are going, take Jesus with you…and introduce Him to your friends! He’s a perfect guest and you’ll be glad you brought Him. Don’t miss the joy of sitting at His feet and getting to know Him. Don’t miss the camaraderie of other Christians. Don’t miss Jesus. Don’t save Him for last. Make Him the beginning and the end. He is the First and the Last. And He waits patiently for you, the one He loves.

Invite Him into your life and be blessed.

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