Google+ 03/07/13 Where Will You Be?

Matthew 4:24-25

 

News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick.

And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed,

He healed them all.

Large crowds followed him wherever he went; 

People from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordan River. 

 

Even with communication being primitive by our modern day standards, news about Jesus spread like wildfire.  This was an amazing feat, particularly because no prophet had arisen in Israel for over 400 years!  The Jews believed that God had deserted them.  Jesus preached the gospel of the Kingdom to all the Jews and everyone else that would listen.  While His miracles were what everyone noticed, there was much more to see.  The disciples must have been completely overwhelmed.  Most of these chosen apostles really had no idea who Jesus was.  They were experiencing the same "awe" as the crowds were.  On numerous occasions, Jesus stopped to tell the disciples that they simply did not understand Him or God's plan.  Obviously, the most famous of these "misunderstandings," was the betrayal of Jesus by Judas.  Like many of us, Judas wanted Jesus to be something that He was not.  Judas wanted Jesus to be the "quick fix" for the current problems of the day.  We need to be careful that we do not fall into the same trap.  God, through Jesus, has a plan for our lives.  Most often, we don't see all the details the way God does.  We often, like the large Jewish crowds, get caught up in the "miracles" that we see.  We often treat Jesus like a "rock star," instead of our Savior.  First and foremost, Jesus died for each of our sins.  That was not an accident or a "spur-of-the-moment" choice.  That was God's plan from the day He sent His Son to earth.  Think about it.  All the rest of the "stuff" was wonderful to watch and very moving at times.  The problem was that "the crowds" were mesmerized by the "special effects" and ignored the substance of who Jesus was.  If Jesus was alive today, in the flesh and walked with us, I am afraid we would treat Him like our favorite celebrity or sports figure, constantly communicating with each other by saying, "Did you see that? Wow!!!"  When Jesus died on the cross, where were the large crowds?  Even a majority of the disciples were nowhere to be found.  The "bandwagon folks" from Palm Sunday were all gone, on the most important day of Christ's earthly life.  In the space of five days, "the crowds" that we read about in our Scripture today, went from treating Jesus like our favorite "American Idol" singer, to screaming at the top of their lungs to Pilate to crucify this "miracle worker."  Before you try to figure out what went wrong, think about the Son of God in our modern-day New Testament Church.  We all show up for those "miracle days" like Christmas and Easter.  How about the Sunday after Easter?  In most of the churches I have served, the Sunday after Easter is the least-attended worship service for the entire year.  What happened?  Is the miracle of Jesus, dying on the cross for our sins and rising from the dead that we might have eternal life, any less important than the Sunday after Easter?  Well, of course not.  We suffer from the same "affliction" that the crowds experienced and exhibited.  For us, the "special effects" are more noticed and celebrated than the substance of Christ's daily sacrifice for us.  Think about this.  I am fairly sure that I know where we will all be on Easter.  We will be standing in front of the empty tomb, celebrating and boasting that Jesus is Risen!!!  We all should be.  We should "Rejoice, give thanks, and sing!"  In closing this devotion,  I will leave you with this important question.  Will we also be at the foot of the cross on Good Friday, standing with our crucified Savior and telling everyone that we belong to Him as He dies for us?  God will always perform miracles, seen and unseen by us.  Let's not be taken in by the "special effects."  The "true miracle" is that we believe in the "Risen Lord" all the time, even when there are no fireworks or crowds!!!