"And all were astonished at the majesty of God. But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples," (Luke 9:43)
|Osteen's Lakewood in Houston,|
Jesus was huge! Everything was going great! The people were responding!
"and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority." (Luke 4:32)
"And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” (Luke 4:36)
"He said to them, “Where is your faith?” "and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” (Luke 8:25b)
"Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled." (Luke 11:14)
As you read the book through, it becomes clear that nothing like this had ever happened in the Land, ever. The people were clamoring for Jesus, following him to see what would happen next.
And that is the problem.
They were responding, but not believing. There is a difference.
Do not mistake crowds and accolades and the words we see repeated over and over in this and the other gospels: astonished, marveled, amazed, for conviction of sin and a readiness to submit to the Spirit to be led into a transformed, submissive life before the Lord and Savior. There is a difference between surface interest and deep conviction. The people were going out to see Jesus to see what He would do, and they left chattering and excited, astonished at the show.
It is the same thing we see when crowds leave a blockbuster film, and the people stream out of the theater, chattering about how marvelous the special effects were, and how amazing was the scene where the thing blew up, and how astonished they were that the movie was so good.
Then they go home and forget about it. Till the next movie comes out.
Jesus was a really cool special effect.
Of all the years He spent in the Land, only 120 gathered in the upper room after His crucifixion. (Acts 1:13). Only 500 Galilean believers saw Him. (1 Corinthians 15:6). That is how few believed. Thousands upon thousands responded. Only 620 believed.
"And when all the believers that are in the southern part in Judea, in Jerusalem area, came to gather to meet together in that upper room after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, you remember there were only 120. The ministry of Jesus in Galilee, the ministry of Jesus in Jerusalem, the largest crowd in Galilee is 500 that came together in His name. And the largest one that came together in His name in the south is 120. It's virtually unimaginable that the Son of God could come and say what He said and do what He did and demonstrate the kind of character that He did and have 620 people in His two-fold congregation. Staggering...staggering." (source)
In the beginning of this piece I used a verse from Luke and there was a comma at the end of verse 43, indicating that Jesus was about to say something next. What was it that Jesus said to the disciples as the people were marvelling at His power to perform miracles?
|A single Passion participant raises their hand |
in worship during Passion Conference 2013. Photo by Casey Northcutt
These same people who marveled, and were astonished and amazed, voted for Barabbas and rejected Jesus. Don't be fooled by crowds and buzz. Believe a transformed life and fruits of the Spirit.
Jesus is not a spectacle and He is not a show. Jesus is the Holy God of the Universe, and He demands repentance for sins and belief in His resurrected Son. Do not mistake crowds and buzz for belief. As soon as the show was over and the hard work was before them, the crowds left. LOL, how many people ever stay afterwards to fold up the chairs and sweep the auditorium?
"When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?...After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him." (John 6:60, 66).
Just remember, most people don't believe.
"For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:14)
"Many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able" (Luke 13:24)"
"Strive earnestly to enter in by the narrow gate; for few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13, 14)."
If you are feeling giddy that revival seems to be breaking out, just remember, most people don't believe. If you are despairing because few seem to believe, just remember, none who believe will be snatched out of God's hand (John 10:29).
"All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out." (John 6:37).