HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.–Mark 1:37
Lost and Found–Sinner and Savior!
Meditating on the Gospel story, one of the most enriching of all studies, one notes the great variety of places in which men and women found the Saviour. There are people of whom we say admiringly, that you always know where you will find them. At any hour of any given day, you know where they are to be met with. But I venture to say, with the perfect reverence, no one ever could say that of Christ–that was one of the wonders of His life. Appointments may be precious, but what a charm there is in unexpected meetings, when suddenly in the crowd we see a face, and then the sun shines out even in December. People were always finding Christ like that, suddenly, in very diverse places, and it is of one or two of these I wish to write.
In the Special or Striking Place
First, let us take the wise men from the East. They found Him in a manger. It was the unlikeliest place in all the world for One who had been heralded by stars.
- I thought of the wise men from the East finding Christ in that unlikely manger.
- I thought of the rowers upon the Lake of Galilee finding Him upon the stormy sea.
- I thought of the penitent thief upon the cross, finding the desire of all the nations amid the shames and agonies of Calvary.
That is one of the wonders of the Lord. He is found in the unlikeliest places, in lives where one would never think to light on Him, and in the most unpromising of circumstances. He is found in India and in Manchuria, and among the hills and glens in Livingstonia, and in the savage islands of the Pacific Ocean. How often, studying the Old Testament, is the Lord found in the unlikeliest places–not in the royal splendours of Isaiah, but in seemingly desolate and barren tracts. So the magi, dreaming of kingly furnishings, and of cradles wrought with curious art, found Him a little babe among the beasts.
In the Sacred Place
Then, passing on a little, one remembers how His parents found Him in the Temple. It is a story familiar to us all. The wisest sages of the land were there, but Mary and Joseph never heeded them. The courts were echoing with music, but I question if Mary ever heard it. Like a morning of sunshine after a night of weeping was the sight of Jesus to His mother’s eyes, and she and Joseph found Him in the church. Not in the streets where rolled the tide of traffic; not amid the chaffering of bazaars; but in the beautiful place where God was worshipped, with its altar and its mercy seat. And to this hour, wherever folk are gathered to worship God in singleness of heart, the Lord still reveals Himself as a present. Through song and prayer, or when the word is preached, or in mystical ways the mind can never fathom, how many become conscious of that presence which makes all the difference in the world? What new meaning does it give to churchgoing if we practice it in the quiet assurance that we shall meet the chiefest among ten thousand there?
In the Solitary Place
Then, again, one recalls how His disciples found Him in the solitary place. To me, that is of infinite suggestiveness. All the evening before He had been busy, healing sicknesses and working miracles. Virtue had been passing out of Him, for when He gave a cure He gave Himself. Then in the morning, long before the sunrise, He had risen and stolen quietly away–and they found Him in the solitary place. All alone, nobody besides Him, round Him the infinite solitude of nature–and to me, there is a parable in that. To many a young man there comes the day when his spirit is thrilled by Emerson or Shakespeare. But Shakespeare and Emerson do not stand alone; there are other essayists and other poets. You find them moving in a glorious company, and you look at them, and call them men of genius, but you find Christ in the solitary place. Genius is a thing of less or more. It has its chosen child in every century. Genius may be an all-subduing flame, or it may only be a tiny spark. But the one thing you can never do with Christ is to regard Him as belonging to a class; you find Him in the solitary place. In the unconditional obedience, He calls for, in His unparalleled and stupendous claims, in His immediate knowledge of the Father, in His total sinlessness, Christ stands alone, confronting every one of us. We find Him in the solitary place.
The Standard Places – Along the “Highway of Life”
Lastly, one recalls that there were those who found Him on the common highway. Who does not know the matchless story of the two who found Him on the Emmaus road? There rolled the wagon. There the chariot dashed. There marched the legions of the empire. There was the merchant travelling on business; there the prodigal returning home. It was the common highway, free to everybody, open to the beggar and to the emperor, and there the two disciples found the Lord. Sometimes that common road is very dusty. The heart faints and the feet grow weary of it. We wonder if we shall have the strength to travel it, till in the hour of the evening we win home. But what a difference it makes, what a blessed and amazing difference, when like the two going to Emmaus, we find Him on the common road! He makes so much of our worrying ridiculous. We forget it all in company with Him. He is so radiant, so full of loving hopefulness, so absolutely sure of God. In that companionship life blossoms. We have courage for the darkest mile. We recapture, even when the shadows fall, the burning of the heart.