21 January 2013

Encountering Jesus - Just following the crowd

Are you one of those folks that follows the crowd?

Or do you tend to march your own beat?

Most of us would probably LIKE to say we aren't crowd followers and hanger-on-ers. I'd like to believe that about myself. In fact, I've always told others (and myself) that one of the key reasons I kept myself on the high road that I'd set for myself was because I didn't tend to do what all others did: I marched to the beat of a different drummer, as the cliché goes and it worked for me because it kept me out of trouble.

Except that maybe Jesus was really the only man who didn't let the crowd somehow weigh in on and determine His actions... and, in our best moments, we follow Him and the crowd that seeks to follow Him.

 Those were the thoughts that first came to mind when I read through these few verses.
Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.(John 2: 23-25) 
Many people saw... many people believed. 

Have you ever been at a church or a camp where they do those altar calls and people flow to the front, and when God is moving in your heart, it seems easier to listen to Him because you won't be the only one... you don't stand out from the crowd. Or you are the only one who makes your way to the front, conscious of the fact that you are the only one and that  that fact makes you stand apart. Either way, I have a tendency to evaluate my response based on what I see everyone else around me doing... and somehow, regardless of what the rest are doing, I determine and pronounce in my heart that what I've done is good (read "better") in comparison.

Pretty arrogant, eh?

I don't know if that makes sense to anyone reading, but my thoughts have always run along those lines each time I read that phrase: But Jesus would not entrust himself to them... I find it curious that the exact same word in the Greek is rendered in two different ways in the above verses. First, the text reads "many... believed" and then it says "Jesus would not entrust..." and yes, it is the same exact Greek word. Thus, I can also read it: many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not believe in them, for he knew all men OR many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and entrusted themselves to him. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.


That's what the word looks like in the Greek.

And so these three verses always leave me unsettled, even a bit rattled. I don't like looking at my reflection as I read them. But today, I see a couple of points quite clearly:
  1. When I say I believe Jesus is the one and only Messiah and I say I believe in Him, I'm entrusting myself to Him. In other words, I've assigned to Him the responsibility of somehow doing the impossible: making me fit to someday enter the presence of God. I've recognized that It is something I can't, no matter how hard I try, do or accomplish by relying on me, my understanding, my abilities....
  2. Understanding that is my position scares me. I prefer to look around, to compare and evaluate how I'm doing by looking at what everyone else is doing. Somehow, though, in my nonobjective arrogance, I always inflate my grade as I self-evaluate my performance in comparison to what I see others doing. 
  3. I say I've assigned to Him the responsibility for fitting me for the presence of the Almighty, yet I still strive to look good in my own eyes by comparing myself to others, rather than trusting Him and His declaration that I am fit because of Him, not because of me.
The crowd encountered Jesus and they entrusted themselves to Him. Jesus encountered the crowd, but He knew He could never entrust Himself to them. He knew their fickle, wavering hearts. He knows my fickle, wavering, wandering, inconsistent and arrogant heart. 

He knows and He still chose to go to the cross.

this week's gratitude list:

(#'s 3519 - 3542)

more news of another wedding coming up in the family!

confrontation from God's Word


feeling as though the rug has been pulled out from underneath and seeing once again that I'm standing on the solid Rock

Jon rapidly recuperated from strep throat

he's got an amazingly high pain tolerance... and is an excellent, uncomplaining patient, most of the time

dr friend came by to listen to M&Ms lungs and prescribe the appropriate meds...

...and so she's sleeping much better the past few nights as compared to the last week

movie nights with brochettes, ice cream and lots of friends

friends visiting over the weekend

mind numbing games of free-cell to stop the  mind from racing out of control

my grandparents

the hope that I'll get to spend time with both of them this summer

renewing driver's license from afar

reserving those camper-vans for out trip to Scotland

fun, albeit surprising, news from back home

imagining visiting the Rockies again this summer

meeting one of my blogging friends in real life for the very first time, and finding her even more delightful and charming in person

watching my new friend interact with my girlies - we can't wait for the next time she travels back through Niamey

coffee flavored ice cream and a huge brownie

planning to make candy corns for a soon-to-be fourteen year old

surviving the first week back to school... how many weeks left until graduation?

watching 7th graders work on challenging ratio problems... it is fun to see those who are willing stretch their minds and abilities do so... and it is a delight when I see them actually "get it!"

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