Friday, January 18, 2008

On the Spot

With presidential election talk thick in the air it seems that so much of people’s conversation these days has to do with what they think of someone else… This week I’ve caught myself more than once asking that question, “What do you think of that candidate?” Every time this political process cranks up again, I am so thankful that I am a little-known dude in a little bitty town. I would croak if everyone in the country had an opinion about me! One thing that I find really interesting about the whole thing is just how freely people express their dislike of different candidates… of course this is made much easier by the fact that they will probably never have to say those things to any of their faces. It’s easy to crack on your math teacher when she’s up at the front of the room writing on the board, but could you say it to her face?

If you don’t think very highly of someone or the things they do, you probably only express it when they aren’t around to hear you, and if they straight up asked you, most people would probably lie and give a glowing report. And we get away with it, right? I mean, people can’t read our minds, so if we have to we say, “Sure… you look great with shaved eyebrows!” or “Oh man, that pickled zucchini and radish casserole was to die for!” or “No… I didn’t want anything for my birthday!” we play it off as truth and no one is the wiser. But what if people could ask you, “What do you really think of me?” and you had to tell the truth… like you were hooked up to a lie detector, or your nose would grow if you lied… wouldn’t that be the most awkward situation ever?!

There is a place in Matthew 16 where Jesus is with His disciples and He asks them who the people think He is. They told Him, “Some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say one of the prophets…” And then Jesus turns to the guys and asks them straight up, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” Whoa… I mean, it’s one thing when one of your friends sings for you and then asks, “Do you think I’ve got what it takes to be the next American Idol?” But what do you do when Jesus looks you in the eye and you look back into His and He says, “What do you think about me?” You see, they had watched Jesus read the minds of some Pharisees back in chapter 9 when He healed the paralytic… They watched Him read the minds of some more dudes in Chapter 12 who thought He was employing demons… He wasn’t just putting them on the spot, but He knew what was in their hearts! They knew that Jesus would be answered not only by their lips but also by their actions… by their lives.

You probably know how Peter answered that question, but that’s not really what I want to focus on… Here’s my question: What if Jesus had popped in on you at 4:15 PM yesterday and put you on the spot? How would you have answered? How would your heart answer? How would your life answer? Who do you say He is? He’s asking and whether you know it or not, you’re answering. If He’s not very important to you, He knows; but if you love Him (even if it’s way down there somewhere) He knows that too…

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