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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Affected, but not always accepted

37-39On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says." (He said this in regard to the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive. The Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.)   40-44Those in the crowd who heard these words were saying, "This has to be the Prophet." Others said, "He is the Messiah!" But others were saying, "The Messiah doesn't come from Galilee, does he? Don't the Scriptures tell us that the Messiah comes from David's line and from Bethlehem, David's village?" So there was a split in the crowd over him.
(John 7:37-44)

The crowds were growing as Jesus walked the streets with his disciples, healing the sick, setting bound free, and opening blind eyes.  More and more gathered around each day, just hoping for a glimpse of some miracle, maybe a word for themselves.  Yet, the biggest struggle in the crowd this day was not who would get the next miracle, the next touch from Jesus.  It was "who is this Jesus"?  There was a mixture of beliefs in the streets - he's a prophet, a teacher, a carpenter from Galilee.  No one really could agree about who this "Jesus" was.

The truth is that Jesus seldom fits the "mold" we try to put him in.  We often "see" him one way - trying hard to make him "fit" the perception we have of him.  Our perceptions are often not correct because they have been "warped" by our past experience, the present sensations we are experiencing, or the future hopes we have formulated in our imaginations.  Just as there was a lot of speculation in the streets as to the Messiah's "roots", there is often a lot of speculation in our own perceptions of how Jesus will move in our midst.

I am of the belief that this is why we have so doggone many denominations and world religions today.  No one can make Jesus fit a mold!  Yet we keep trying to pigeon-hole him into some belief system that is not always correct!  We cannot agree with ourselves, much less each other!  So, we split over the silliest of things and another church is formed, another denomination, or even another "world religion" that gets into some form of worship outside of the worship of Christ!

The crowds were divided that day as Jesus was walking amongst them.  They had all kinds of "opinions" about who he was.  These "opinions" would ultimately be the force that kept them from unifying in their beliefs.  Here's the truth:  Jesus is a crowd breaker!  He will never be accepted by all, but he definitely affects all!  

Isn't it about time that we stop "splitting hairs" over little matters of disagreement in the church and begin to unite behind the one who really is the center of the church - Jesus Christ?  No one possesses all knowledge.  No church has the ONLY revelation.  The truth is that if Jesus is preached as the Son of God, the Word of God is the foundation for living without adding to it or taking away from it, and lives are being drawn out of darkness into light...the church is actively doing what God calls them to do.  

Jesus is a crowd breaker - even those who won't accept him will ultimately be affected by him!