Saturday, January 11, 2014

People Don't Want To Listen About Jesus

Have you noticed it is harder for people to accept Jesus Christ these days? You can present them with the truth of their condition, share your testimony and even share parts of the gospel to them, but they persist in their disbelief. You are doing all you can but nothing seems to be happening. Well, glory to Yahweh, you are at least planting a seed that the Holy Spirit will continue to work on. But why is it getting harder to share the good news of Jesus?

I believe I found a hint during my recent read-through of Exodus. Moses had already presented himself to Pharaoh and listed the demands of the LORD. In turn Pharaoh rejected the demands and ordered that hard labour of the Hebrew slaves to be increased by removing the provision of the straw for the making of bricks. Pharaoh knew what he was doing. By making them suffer because of Moses the people would turn on Moses.

Moses spoke to the people with the great news from the LORD, that he was rescuing them from their oppressors, taking them to a new land "flowing with milk and honey", and was claiming them as his children. This should have been absolutely fantastic news to them. In fact, they had never known the name of their God and here he revealed it as Yahweh, translated in our Bibles as "the LORD". This was an indication of the intimacy into which he wanted to bring them. But the people didn't want to listen. Life was hard enough. They could not lift their eyes beyond what they knew:

So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage. (Exodus 6:9)

Circumstances are a bit different today but it comes down to the same thing. People are lost in their "anguish of spirit" and their "cruel bondage". We know that bondage today to be the bondage of sin and how it keeps their spirit from the one who created them. I find it interesting that Jesus came with the same good news that Yahweh gave to Moses:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)

Jesus read these words of Isaiah as he proclaimed the beginning of his mission. He brought to us the good news. He came to proclaim freedom for the prisoner, sight for the blind, freedom from oppression and to announce the LORD's favor. We, like Moses, take these words to a people who are in "anguish of spirit" and lost in "cruel bondage", only they don't even realize it, just as the people around Jesus did not know.

How did Yahweh get through to the people? With a demonstration of his mighty power. He gave them signs and wonders to encourage them in their belief. How did Jesus wake the people up? With signs and wonders, a demonstration of his might, both to heal the body and the soul. How did Paul present the message of Jesus? By a demonstration of power:

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)

What the captives of our age need are messengers who are not afraid to allow the LORD to work through us however he sees fit. Sometimes our testimony is enough to open a person's heart to the freedom of Jesus but other times that heart is so hard it takes a "demonstration of the Spirit's power". Don't be afraid to offer yourself fully to Jesus, to be used by him however he needs you, even if it is to work miracles. This generation is desperate for the Good News because they can't see beyond what they know.

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