I recently went clothes shopping with my father to a nearby department store. It was time for a new set of flannel pajamas for him, and this one store has just about everything. So, we went in and looked for one set of flannel pajamas, size medium.
After a little searching, we came to a small shelf filled with packages of men’s pajamas. It must have been about 6 feet long, and the variety was nothing to write home about. None were flannel. None were his size. It looked like we were off to another store.
As we turned to leave, I paused and thought, I wonder if there’s something underneath. I turned back and bent down to look under the shelf. Surprise – a whole new shelf stacked with men’s pajamas. One of them stood out. I took hold of it and slid it out. It was a nice set of flannel pajamas. Exactly my father’s size.
Wow. I was amazed.
On the surface, there was nothing there – zippo. We had to go deeper than just the surface. We had to look underneath to find the prize. And what a prize it was – exactly what we were looking for, with a happy surprise to boot.
When John the Baptist was baptizing in the Jordan River, everyone was looking for the Messiah. In fact, they wondered if he might be the one. He had on a strange outfit, ate odd food, and spoke a radical message of conversion and baptism. But the Messiah was hidden in the midst of everyone. On the surface there was nothing that set Him apart as the Messiah – zippo.
He was so ordinary on the surface that even after John the Baptist points Him out as the Son of God, nobody does anything. No following, no adoring, no awe. Nothing.
But two people decided to look beyond the surface, to go deeper: “Rabbi, … where do you dwell? He says to them: Come and see. They came and saw where he abode.” (Jn 1:38-39)
And they found exactly what they were looking for, with a happy surprise to boot : “We have found the Messiah.” (Jn 1:41)
If we seek the Lord, we won’t find Him on the display shelf. He is hidden. We have to look under the surface. But if you do, get ready to find exactly what you are looking for – with a happy surprise to boot.