In my brainstorm at work, a conversation on the way Jesus uses (or rather, does not use) momentum, got me thinking.
For instance, when Jesus begins his ministry, as John is baptizing him, the Spirit descends on him like a dove and the voice of God becomes audible to everyone around him. This was probably such a spectacular and awe-inspiring moment. People were probably terrified, amazed, inspired… all at the same time. If Jesus wanted to take advantage of momentum, this would be the ideal time for him to stand up and proclaim “FOLLOW ME!” And probably many, if not all, would have followed.
But what does he do instead?
He goes away.
Into the wilderness. To be with God.
Jesus seems to do this a lot. Time and time again, we see Jesus perform miracles and healings and then flee the scene. When things get really incredible, really phenomenal, when he could use those moments to his advantage he often is seen just walking away. In fact, he often tells those he heals or helps, or those who recognize him as Messiah, to keep quiet and not let others on to the fact.
And yet, despite his efforts, his fame spreads like wildfire.
And then again, when his ministry is at its peak… what does he do?
He goes and lets himself be killed.
How about that for ruining momentum? When he could have risen up and created a political revolution, he does the opposite.
He goes and dies.
So fascinating. His glory was not dependent on how well he could strategize his ministry, or play on peoples emotions, but because he was legitimately full of power. His character alone was compelling and intriguing. He spoke the sort of truth that pierced hearts, and shed light on the very darkest places of the human soul.
Which makes me curious, and honestly, a little disappointed. One of my favorite speakers, Francis Chan, always points out that the early church was so unstoppable — whereas our church is so utterly stoppable.
Have we found ourselves so caught up in strat meetings, and programming, and planning out church meetings to the very last minute, that we’ve lost the very power of the Holy Spirit? If we are honest with ourselves, are we trying too hard to arrange the songs we play at church and our vocal inflection in service to try to cash in on momentum? Are so over programmed, so concerned on the right momentum, that we miss it all together?
Maybe we need to take a lesson from Jesus. (Well, we do, without a doubt… but that’s not the point.)
Maybe we ought to trust the Spirit to bring about convictions, and not our own power.
Could it be that Jesus, was in fact, on to something here?