March 8, 2019

What are people looking for?

A funny thing happened this week. In the statistical report section of my account, a recent day showed a higher number of hits than usual, many of them coming from a link on a particular page. I went to that page only to find that whoever created the link (human or web crawler) mistook my title as a euphemism for body parts, something I didn’t intend at all! I immediately closed their page but started laughing as I imagined the reaction of surfers who hit that link, not at all expecting a post about faith in Jesus Christ.

Now I am imagining what people are looking for. Some want wealth, health, beauty, excitement. These hits show that a few are looking for naughty pictures, certainly nothing related to spiritual information or insight.

While others are searching for whatever, I’m reminded again that the Word of God says our natural state is blindness to the things of God. Sin does that to us. So do strong desires. I’ve noted how often my own strong I-wants can obscure my sense of reality and make me blind to the harm that I might cause and oblivious to any other options.

How often are we affected by not being able to see what others claim is obvious? It happens in every realm including personal life, business, politics and often in even the least significant differences of opinion. We all know that both sides of a strong opinion think the other side is wrong and unable to see what is plain before them.

I’m also imagining how the Spirit of God can use anything to draw attention to Jesus. When He walked this earth, the main attention-getting was by miracles that He did. These drew a crowd, and when the people gathered, Jesus taught them. His teaching was startling, often upsetting to spiritual leaders who were full of strong I-wants.

For example, in John 5, Jesus healed an infirm man beside the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. Following that miracle, the religious leaders challenged His right to do such a thing on the Sabbath Day. This called forth teaching that began with His claims of equality with God:

And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (John 5:16–18)

Jesus was not silenced by their reaction to His claims. He continued to show that He worked under the Father’s direction, power and authority:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise . . . For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him . . . For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man . . . .” (John 5:19–29)

To substantiate what He said, Jesus called upon certain witnesses including John the Baptist, His own works, the Father, the Scriptures, and Moses:

“If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true . . . You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved . . . But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me . . . You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life . . . I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me . . . Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (John 5:31–47)

What more could Jesus do to prove His identity and His motivations? When I read these verses, the blindness of a human heart staggers me. I had no clue of His identity until God opened my eyes. Neither does anyone unless the Spirit of God grants them His amazing enlightenment.

Jesus, my hope is that those who inadvertently stumble across anything that glorifies God will be shocked away from their I-wants and enlightened to think about the wonder of God coming to live in the hearts of those who believe. Even a mistake about the title of a link can be His way to open someone’s eyes about salvation and the importance of their eternal destiny.

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