Seems like even if what we need is right in front of us, sometimes we can’t see it.

Shakespeare said, “To thine oneself, be true” long after Jesus fed the five thousand. Jesus knew the strength of the crowd (see John 6: 15). He knew the desperate need the people were trying to fill. And although he knew he was what had been promised he also knew he was not what they sought. He would not be their king. At least not in the way they wanted him to be. This happens all the time doesn’t it?

When we’re kids we’re told what we’ll get (and we’ll like it). It’s rarely ever what we want nor even what we expect. Those of us that weren’t perfect children like yours truly, act out. We stomp our feet, scream, cry, maybe even throw ourselves on the floor. Imagine what we would do if we were promised a king, had been waiting for one and then Shazam” someone appeared saying he was the fulfillment of the promise except he was anything but what we expected. The mob mentality is like a child, a very large, powerful, unruly child. For Jesus the only solution was withdrawal, to slink away, to disappear. Not really our nature when people want to put us on a pedestal, now is it?

When someone or some group wants to make us “king” we’re all in. We’ll take that and a bag of chips all day long. Shoot, we don’t even care if it’s justified, which it’s often not. Someone once notably said, “It’s good to be king” and we believe them. Some of us even aspire and scheme to make ourselves king through trumped up virtue or credit card notoriety. We create an online or onstage or ongoing persona that isn’t really us but it fits the bill for whom or what our friends “the people” want and we’re famous for a while. Andy Warhol was right; he just didn’t know the lengths we would go to get our 15 minutes of fame. Our savior wasn’t like that and it completely flummoxed the people of that day.

When the crowds caught up to Jesus and he laid it on them about who he was they grumbled, they complained. He wasn’t what they thought they were promised (see John 6: 36-37). See they had an idea of the rock star they knew would come into their midst and this guy just wasn’t it. He stood in front of them, spoke the truth, laid it all out for them and they said, “Nah, can’t be. Not what we’re looking for.” The prophets promised, the scriptures promised and the guy (Jesus) stood in front of them and promised and they wouldn’t buy it. And I don’t want to be a downer but things haven’t changed all that much over the last couple of thousand years.

The good news is still out there and we just don’t buy it. To God we must look like the most fickle consumers ever to walk around on two feet. Now, today we might be able to say “Well, if he stood in front of me and declared and showed the miracles and all that stuff, I’d believe.” Really? I hope we would but I’m not so sure. The really good news is that things haven’t changed with God just like they haven’t changed with us so much. All we have to do is come to him and we will not be driven away and that’s really good news.

We search a lot for things that we can’t see because they don’t look like we expect them to, don’t we? I sometimes wonder how much more we would find if we didn’t narrow our focus or expectation so much. Please feel free to share this if you know someone that might get something out of it.

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