Jesus in the midst of instant replay

I want to go ahead and put this out there from the very beginning - Lost is the greatest television show that has ever been broadcast in the history of entertainment. If you ever attempted to watch Lost, then you know that it was a thrill ride of twists and turns that often made little sense unless you were able to go back and reevaluate just exactly what it was that you had just seen - if that was even possible. I’ve watched the series all the way through several times and each time I discover some new wrinkle of information that I never noticed the first couple of times.

In the sports world, instant replay has allowed officials - and all of those armchair officials at home - to reanalyze ad nauseam every angle of a controversial play to find out exactly what did nor did not happen so that the outcome could be properly employed. Every time that an instant replay cycles over and over again on the TV while the officials hash it out, it’s then that we see all sorts of things that we never noticed when the action was being played out in real time. Sometimes I wish that instant replay would be banished since it takes away the purity of the game, but then I instantly change my mind when I realize it sometimes benefits my team.

Rarely do you or I ever fully understand everything that we encounter the first time we see or read it. That doesn’t mean that we are unintelligent or dimwitted, but rather that our minds are capable of processing only so much before they go on overload. Instant replay, whether it is re-watching a show or reading the same book or passage numerous times, helps us to grasp what we have missed.

If you have ever tried to read the Bible, then you know that this applies. I have made it my goal to read the Bible daily and more often than not I encounter something that I either never saw before or suddenly realize that I don’t truly understand its full meaning. That happened to me this morning.

Matthew 21:18-22 is a passage that, until today, I simply read without really thinking about what it meant. In the first couple of verses, we see Jesus cursing a fig tree, which in turn withers. He does so not because He's being petty and mean but rather as an object lesson about Israel - their rejection of Him as the Messiah signals their failure to flourish as God's people. That part I get. The next part is what I struggle to understand:
When the disciples saw it, they were amazed and said, "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" Jesus answered them and said, "I assure you: If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you tell this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' it will be done. And if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
 Hmmm. Does this mean that I can do cool tricks like killing trees or moving giant obstacles great distances if I only believe that I can in Jesus' name? And if so, what is the point in that? As I sat and scratched my chin at the possible meaning of this, it suddenly hit me right between my eyes. Jesus wasn't trying to tell me about all the things that I can do if I believe, but rather He was showing me - and all of us - how amazing He is if we will simply look.

The Jews of Jesus' day missed it because they were looking for someone different - a Messiah that they wanted to craft into an image that fit their own narrative. That's why they withered like the fig tree in the story. But we - if we seek Jesus in faith with all that we have - won't wither; we'll thrive! Following Jesus taps into His incredible power, greater than anything we can imagine and certainly greater than causing a tree to be unproductive. Think moving mountains and you get the idea.

Here is the point: As you move on in life and seek out what it all means, don't miss Jesus because it's all about Him! Forget what you have heard from skeptics and overzealous Scripture-twisters. Open His book, the Bible, and see for yourself who He truly is. Ask tough questions and then dig for the answers. Ask others for help along the way while allowing Scripture and His truth to be your guide.

Keep on reading and keep on seeking the truth of Jesus. Like instant replay, the more that we dive into God's word, the more we will see all sorts of amazing things that we missed on the first couple of passes. Jesus is someone you don't want to miss.

No comments:

Top ten road trip takeaways

Our family just returned from a quick weekend road trip to Williamsburg, VA., the primary purpose of our little jaunt was to spend a day at ...