Do we expect God to "appear" one way (the way we imagine in our minds)? Do we expect him to "perform" in a certain manner (the plans we have so carefully calculated)? When he doesn't "appear" or "perform" as we imagined, how do we handle it? For some of us, we get mad at God for a while - because he did not "fit" our "mold" of how he should act. The Jewish Pharisees probably had this same kind of "mental argument" with Jesus as he walked this earth - simply because he didn't "fit the mold" of how they envisioned the arrival of their Messiah! They missed out on so much of what Jesus wanted to do in and through them simply because they refused to believe Jesus could "operate" outside of their mind's conceived "box".
15-21 A lot of people followed him, and he healed them all. He also cautioned them to keep it quiet, following guidelines set down by Isaiah: Look well at my handpicked servant; I love him so much, take such delight in him. I've placed my Spirit on him; he'll decree justice to the nations. But he won't yell, won't raise his voice; there'll be no commotion in the streets. He won't walk over anyone's feelings, won't push you into a corner. Before you know it, his justice will triumph; the mere sound of his name will signal hope, even among far-off unbelievers.
(Matthew 12:15-21 The Message)
Yep, Jesus had accumulated quite a group of followers - some more curious than dedicated to his service - but all following with the hope of his touch. He never asked them to get "rowdy" or have a revolution against the leaders of the time. Instead, he went about his work, healing those who came to him, teaching those with open hearts, and spreading hope to the hopeless.
Why did Jesus caution the crowds to keep quiet? He knew the cross would come, but he knew the time was NOT NOW. He had much to do before that day - and each thing he did fulfilled scripture's recorded prophesies of him.
Look at how Jesus worked:
- He was led by the Spirit of God. Even Jesus took his lead from the Holy Spirit as he walked this earth! Is it any wonder God asks the same of us? Certainly not! There is not only guidance in taking our lead from the Holy Spirit, but their is protection and great wisdom!
- He was not boisterous or loud in his action. Jesus does more in the quietness of a single touch than we could ever hope to accomplish in the many activities of our own effort! He doesn't need to yell to get noticed - he is all around us - we simply need to look hard enough to see him!
- He respected the feelings of others. Jesus never needed to back a soul into the corner to touch his life! We may feel a little "backed into the corner" sometimes - but it usually our doing which gets us into the corner! Jesus simply waits for us to discover the limits of our own attempts at "saving ourselves", respectfully waiting for our surrender.
- He knew the power and hope in his name. He was never afraid to have his name spoken. Have you ever overheard someone speaking your name in a conversation and wondered just what they were saying about you? In a moment, you may run several scenarios through your head - considering if you said, did, or overlooked something for which you were now the topic of discussion. We call this "paranoia"! Jesus never worried about his name being spoken - simply because it was backed up with his power and his hope (grace).
The various ways we "imagine" God may not always align with the image we should have of him! He is a quiet God - yet his name carries such "weight" (power). He is a caring God - yet his "delay" may give us the fear he is not aware of our need. He is a compassionate God - respecting us enough to give us time to yield to his touch. Maybe today is your day to meet God in the stillness of this moment! He won't yell to be noticed. In fact...we may just have to get a little quieter to actually hear him speak!