It’s time to confess: I went to school for a long time, and sometimes I was bored. Now days, when Jacob asks me how long he will have to go to school, I smile to myself. While it might be a quick answer to say, “Until you are an adult”, God has taught me in my years of living to not minimalize any of it. Jacob doesn’t want to grasp how long school can truly last, what Kindergartener does. The reality is that every season of our life is met with some things that are hard, some things that are great, and other things that are somewhere in between.
This week our reading is about the moments in our life when we are caught off guard. Life is moving along (like we talked about last week) when all of the sudden we hear something, see something, or feel something we never expected. When we are caught off guard like this, we often stop and wonder if that really just happened and then think about how it changes things. This brings to mind a saying I love, “This is going to change your life!” As much as I want to help people be ready for and grasp these life changes, most of the time these moments are not pre-empted by someone telling us “This is going to change your life!”
Back to my confession, I had a lot of speakers share their passion with me, or lack of it. I had teachers, preachers, and my least favorite – adjunct professors. Adjuncts are people who do whatever grading scale they want and then just drop a grade on you. Most of this story is inspired by my philosophy of religion teacher in college. Honestly, I can’t even tell you his name because I slept through his class most days. I have no clue what I learned in that class, except perhaps that he was one of the worst teachers/speakers I have ever heard. This was confirmed when my buddy, who was an A student, was upset at him too. This guy had no clue.
People in Biblical times went to the Synagogue to learn. Who knows what madness they usually heard taught there. The arrogant Pharisees (I like to call them adjuncts) talked a great game, but failed to communicate the message that God wanted them to tell the people. These are the stories that sicken me the most, preachers that truly capture their audience, but somehow the devil slips into their heart to cause great pain to their listeners through their words.
However, think about how you feel when you hear a great speaker – inspired, motivated, excited, energized and the list can go on. Depending on the situation, you might even think, “That’s the Holy Spirit speaking through him/her!” Every time I hear an amazing speaker who is gifted to speak by the Holy Spirit, I am astonished. Last year that was Donald Miller and Jon Acuff, and so many others at the conference I attended. Their words impacted my life with new thoughts and renewal of energy to grow in my preaching. This happens for me when I read a great article too.
In Mark 1:21-28, the people at the Synagogue that day heard something/someone different than the adjunct Pharisees. They heard Jesus and they were astonished at His preaching! He taught with one who had authority! The people listening were caught off guard. They were hearing something they never expected. Jesus taught a message that would change their lives. A definite Holy Spirit moment!
I can’t imagine what it would have been like to hear Jesus that day – or any day. The people had to be hanging on His every word. Unfortunately for us, we will never fully understand that experience this side of Heaven, but just thinking about it can give us a glimpse into how astonishing this moment was for those that were there.