Imagine living 2,000 years ago in Palestine. You are a Jewish man or woman, with the cultural customs associated. But also imagine you have the same knowledge you possess right now about Jesus: You know he's the Son of God, the Savior, the Messiah; you know that his life and death are going to change the world; you know who he is.
Picture one day you're outside on the streets in 31 A.D. and you see him coming. He's not with thousands of followers at the moment. He's just walking your way. Then, to your surprise, he makes eye contact with you. He's gazing at you, and you know who this is. God himself is looking at you, nudging you to come to him, caring about you. You sense your struggles, your problems, your doubts. But you see him, you see him basically beckoning you to come.
Would you go to him?
Would You Not Have Gone to Him?
As Christians, it's hard to come up with any reason why we wouldn't. Of course we'd go to him! He's our loving God, right there, wanting to converse with us!
Listen then to some words from Robert Murray McCheyne:
Are you tempted in soul—put into trying circumstance, so that you know not what to do? Look up; He is able to succour you. If He had been on earth, would you not have gone to Him—would you not have kneeled and said, Lord, help me? Does it make any difference that He is at the right hand of God? He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." (Memoirs and Remains, 397).
Simple yet striking, isn't it? Of course I would go to him! "If He had been on earth, would you not have gone to Him—would you not have kneeled and said, Lord, help me?" As McCheyne asks, does it make any difference that he's at God's right hand?
Reality Isn't Always Seen
"Well," you may be thinking, "Yes, it does. It makes a big difference!" And that's partly true. We do not physically see him. We can't touch him like people did. This is a difference.
But it's helpful then to remember: We're Christians! We believe in the invisible, eternal, Triune God. We believe that the Son of God made all things "seen and unseen" (Colossians 1:16). We believe that Christ mediates right now, reigns over all, and is currently being worshiped by multitudes in the heavenly realm. (And the list could go on.)
Since when do we think that seeing makes any difference to reality!
That inclination to needed-sight is contrary to almost all Christian doctrines. We do hold that we one day "will see him as he is" (1 John 3:2), which is something to look forward to. But not seeing him right now does not take away any of his reality. As McCheyne points out, not seeing him doesn't take away from the freedom, yearning, and excitement we should have to approach him. He is still him.
He’s Still Him
We Christians, therefore, really must pray to him. That's the point. Straightforward—nothing fancy nor clever. We'd be fools to not pray, because he's listening just as he would be if he physically was in front of us.
It's good to reason with ourselves: "If he was here, wouldn't I go to him all the time? If he looked at me with his eyes, would I not be compelled to talk to him? He's still him. He wants me to come. This is just as true as every other Christian doctrine I believe. Jesus is real. Jesus listens. He does not need to be physically present in the flesh in front of me for that to happen. He's still him."
So, let's go more frequently to Jesus. As McCheyne says, "Does it make any difference he's at God's right hand? He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever."