When Moses and Aaron spoke to Pharaoh, every sign and wonder they showed him from the Lord was countered by a magician from Pharaoh’s court. Pharaoh’s heart became hard, just as God predicted. And we see that the world offers us counterfeit miracles…
10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12 Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.
16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.
Isn’t Christianity in 2015 just like that? We are offered transformation of life and heart and eternity in heaven through Jesus. Yet the world offers us transformation of life through fitness or healthy eating or career success or romantic relationships. There are counter-offers of the world which keep us from following Jesus.
There are several reasons for this, yet let’s look at two today. First, we become satisfied with what the world offers and we stop inquiring about spiritual things. Life today is busy enough, and the markets of the world are so evolved that any and every desire and want is available for purchase today. We have everything we want and need available to us. And if we can convince ourselves (with the help of great marketing) that these things are enough, God doesn’t have a chance…
By the way, for those of us who already follow Jesus, don’t think this goes away. This battle rages on every day for us. There are always worldly offers to satisfy us apart from God, which look sometimes a lot like God, and which are not the real thing… beware.
The second reason we don’t follow Jesus in light of the offers of the world is that Jesus loses credibility in our minds in light of the world’s magicians. Moses didn’t prove anything to Pharaoah because a trickster replicated Moses’ miracles.
Jesus as saviour and life-transformer often doesn’t stand out compared to motivational authors and speakers of today. Plain and simple.
And this is where I would like to point out a nuance of the person of Jesus. There is a video circulating of a woman speaking (a la Ted-talk) about modesty and the history of the bikini. If you respect women (the e-chain-letter says), you’ll repost her video. We eat it up. Whether we think bikinis are liberation or exploitation, we eat it up. And we miss the subtle fact that she is selling hipster swimsuits which cover the belly button. They are actually quite sexy. I was attracted to the models wearing the suits. This entrepreneur is selling swimsuits.
Jesus brought the teaching of the Father. Jesus shunned any effort or suggestion for him to become King. They thought he would become the powerful political leader who would free them from Rome – that was not his mission or his ambition. I think we ought to consider and re-consider that Jesus came to bring truth from God for the people, and he died on the cross for the sins of the people.
His swimsuit line never took off. His book deal made others money, yet he didn’t get to enjoy the royalties. Jesus came for the sake of our transformation in life and our eternity with him in death. And that’s what makes him fundamentally different from the marketers and entrepreneurs of today.
Consider the Lord.