What happens when something you were not looking for catches your attention?
When you are looking for somebody you don’t know, what is it that guides your search? The Children of Israel were looking for the Saviour. They had never seen Him before, how would they recognize Him when He finally appears? In John 1:44-45, the Bible tells us that when Philip who had earlier become a follower of Christ found Nathanael, he told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote”
This means that one had to be versed with the Scriptures and pay attention to what it said about the coming Messiah. But was there a confusion that was likely to arise by, for example, somebody appearing in the scene who fitted the bill of description of who the Messiah was supposed to be? When John the Baptist appeared, he seemed to have fitted some of the expectations and descriptions about the Messiah. Some people therefore thought he was the expected Saviour.
In Pisidian Antioch, on the Sabbath, Paul and his companions entered the synagogue and sat down (Acts 13:13-25). The leaders of the synagogue read from the Law and the Prophets. They then sent word to Paul and company, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”
Paul took the chance. He spoke, saying:
“Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. 25 As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie’” (Acts 13:24-25).
There are three ways by which your attention can be taken by what you were not looking for:
i) When you don’t know what you are looking for:
The problem with this is that one can settle for anything. Whoever doesn’t know what he is looking for will not know that he hasn’t found it.
ii) When what you are seeing resembles what you were looking for:
Sometimes you need ‘experts’ to help you identify the real thing. The understanding of the Scripture needs an expert called the Holy Spirit. He is the One who revealed Jesus to Simeon (Luke 2:25-30) and also to the prophetess Anna (Luke 2:36-38).
iii) When what you are seeing satisfies your expectation:
The danger here is that one can settle for less without knowing it. An intervening opportunity can be a distraction to hinder you from reaching your destination.
May you be so versed with the Scripture enough to help you identify who Jesus is even as the Holy Spirit opens your eyes.
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