Reverse the Search
Steven Furtick Ministries
We're looking at the seven last words of Jesus Christ, what he said before he died, how it applies to our lives, taking some things we might be very familiar with or may not have been familiar with at all and really owning them personally and incorporating them into our lives of faith on our personal journey with Jesus. And it is a journey.
Sometimes on the journey you become so familiar with things you don't notice them. They can just be right there.
I grew up 30 miles from Charleston, South Carolina. I love going to Charleston with Holly. When we want to get away for a weekend, typically we will sneak away to Charleston. By the way, if it's a vacation, that means there are no kids.
If the kids are there it's a family trip. Vacation is Holly, me, a hotel, and some shopping. Maybe some carbohydrates too. We go to Charleston a little bit.
It's only three and a half hours from Charlotte. The first time we went she said, "What was it like growing up so close to such a historic and beautiful place?"
I said, "I never thought about it." When I was a kid, it wasn't a thing. It was Charleston. We never really made it past North Charleston. That's where the mall was. I never really even made it downtown.
The place that I pay now to go and spend the night I never even drove to. It was almost too close to notice until I got away from it.
Even the other day, I was eating with the family. We go out to eat most Fridays, and we were eating at this burger joint, as the young people say.
Isn't that what the young people call it? The burger joint, over at the five-and-dime. I'm going to get to my Scripture in a minute. It's Luke 24:13-35.
Don't worry; I'm going there in a minute. You can meet me there. Lace up your shoes. Stretch your hamstrings. Do whatever you have to do, because we're going on a journey.
We went to this restaurant, and the young lady who was serving us was really nice, but she kept looking at me funny. Every time she came over she was looking at me funny.
She came up and said, "I just figured out who you are. You're the Facebook guy." I said, "Am I?" She said, "Me and my friends send the clips of your Facebook preaching to each other, my friends in California." I said, "Cool. That's great."
She brought Holly her fries and came back another time, and she said, "They just told me in the back that your church is here in Charlotte."
I said, "Well, yeah. It's two miles from here, this restaurant, where I preach from. We have churches in other places, not just in Charlotte, but it's based in Charlotte. We could probably throw a french fry at it and hit it."
She said, "I didn't even know it." She's two miles from the church. Y'all need to invite people more is what I'm saying. You are not doing your job is what that said to me. What it really reminded me…
I told her, "You can get it on Facebook, and there are little clips, but if you really want to see what makes us special you have to get in the parking lot, see the people there, get a hug from a greeter. Do you have kids? You need to drop your kids off at eKidz and watch how we teach them. You really need to get around the people. This is your lucky day, because you're going to be my special guest."
I gave her an invitation, and she still didn't come, but that's not the point of the illustration. The point of the illustration is you can be so close… Elijah, my oldest son, the other day… I went to hand him my phone.
He said, "Daddy, what's that on your wrist?" I said, "On my wrist? What's on my wrist?" He was talking about my scar. I've had this scar since I was 4. This scar, my mom tells me, is from a childhood incident. She says I was playing with a dog bowl, and it was made of glass.
I dropped the dog bowl. The dog bowl cut my wrist. She said she thought I was going to die. I don't remember any of this. It's not traumatic for me, but I've always had this little Harry Potter thing right there on my wrist. Elijah never noticed it. That's crazy.
These are the first hands that held his ungrateful butt and wiped his ungrateful…and he never even noticed. How many times have I changed his diaper with these hands? Probably not many. Single digit, probably. My point is it can be so close and remain unnoticed, so imminent and invisible…to us, but that doesn't mean it's not there.
Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there. Let's go on the road. Seven miles. Are you ready? I probably shouldn't have worn my white sneakers today. They're going to get dirty, because we're going on this Emmaus Road. Jesus only has days. He has risen from the dead. He is resurrected, just like he said he would be. He has the keys to death, hell, and the grave. He gave the Devil a big black eye when that stone rolled away.
Now all of hell is trembling, because the temple they thought they had destroyed has rebuilt himself just like he said he would. He is risen! The women went to the tomb, and it's Sunday morning. They brought some spices, but they would not need them, because the angel said to the women, "Why do you look for the living amongst the dead?"
I want to talk in this first installment of Seven-Mile Miracle on the subject Reverse the Search. Maybe we are missing the presence and the power of God, the resurrection power of God, the redemptive power of God, the restoration power of God, the redeeming power of God, because we're searching in the wrong places. They were looking for the living among the dead.
"He is not here; he has risen." Why are you looking for a living God in a dead place, a dead relationship, a dead text thread, a dead Facebook page? Why are you looking for the living God in dead religion, dormant religion? Why are you looking for the living…?
Reverse the search. He is alive and he is real. The presence of God is not meant to be an add-on or an accessory but the operating system of the life of anyone who will choose to believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. God has raised him from the dead, and he has risen from the dead, and he has to go get the message out, get on the road, because he only has days. He's about to be taken up to heaven and seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. He has to go and show the world that he's living so they'll believe the proof of the power of his resurrection.
He has to go. What shall he do first if he wants to reveal himself to the world and let them know that the proof is that he is the Son of God and the fact that death could not hold him and the grave could not keep him and the tomb was borrowed because it wasn't needed for very long?
Where does he go? What does he do? Perhaps we should host a resurrection reenactment event. Maybe he can get Barclays. Maybe he can call Jay. Maybe he can do it in a cultural center. Maybe he ought to call Zuck. Maybe he ought to put this on social. Maybe he ought to get it out. Maybe it can go viral. Maybe he ought to make a meme.
What does Jesus do on the day he defeats death? You might be surprised. What he does next is take a walk. Come on, let's walk. Will you walk with me? I don't even care if you know where Luke is in the Bible. I just want you to walk with me to this passage of Scripture where we join two travelers who as of yet remain nameless. Jesus on the day of his resurrection, with only days to spare to tell the world that he is God and convince them with many signs and proofs, appears to two travelers whose names we have never seen.
I mean, at least go get Bartholomew. I've heard of him. But these two travelers were, just like you and me, walking along, and they were headed toward a village called Emmaus. I've been there. Five years ago, we did an Easter presentation for our church by the name Seven-Mile Miracle, and we decided it would be cool if we shot it there, but when we got there…
How many of you would love to go to Israel one day, if you could, and see where Jesus walked? How many of you are fine just to watch it on National Geographic and you don't need all that in your life? Thank you for your honesty. If you go, they'll tell you when you get there… They'll say, "Hey, this is Emmaus." Then if you have a really honest guide they'll say, "It's maybe Emmaus."
We don't know exactly where Emmaus was. It was such an insignificant place in its day that there is no archaeological evidence that this was definitely the place. Why would Jesus go to a place that wasn't even significant enough in its day to be known in modernity or pinpointed on a map? We look for God in places that everyone recognizes.
We think Jesus needs a shout-out from Kim or Kanye. We act like Jesus needs an Oscar for "Best Resurrection." Instead, he goes on this dirty road. It's a little road, a really tiny road, the one they say he might have walked. I walked it. He meets up with two people, and it's not Zuck, and it's not Trump. They're walking toward Emmaus.
Jesus died in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the place where the Passover feast had just been celebrated. Jerusalem was the place where the promised Holy Spirit was to come. Jesus leaves the place where the Spirit is coming to follow two people, and we don't even know who they are.
What kind of God is this who would speak to you in a crowd of thousands and would bring you to this place at this moment? These men are walking along on the same day that Jesus got up from the grave. Picture it now. Two things are happening at once.
The eternal Word of God, who was in the beginning with God, the fullness of his glory, full of grace and truth, has trampled death, sin, hell, and the grave, made a mockery of Satan, and those who handed him over are soon to bow down and worship him, and every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father, and God has exalted Jesus to the highest place and given him the name that is above every name.