LOST IN A CROWD
T. PIERCE BROWN
While reading John 5:1-13 concerning the man at the pool ofBethesdawho was healed, verse 13 and 14 struck me with particular force. Here was a man who was cured, and did not know who had done it! He lost Jesus in the crowd, perhaps because he was more interested in his cure than he was in the Physician who did it!
That started me on a train of thought that might prove worthwhile to others. How many of us, having been cured, have lost sight of the one who did it? Are there similar situations where we may lose Jesus in a crowd of other things?
As I meditated on that, my mind went to a song leader who was so interested in getting the audience to keep the right time and pitch that he stamped his feet and became angry while he was trying to get them to sing properly some song like: “Let Jesus Come Into Your Heart.” On another occasion, when I was earnestly preaching Sunday morning that “Now is the accepted time,” the song leader announced for the invitation song one of his old favorites (and mine), “Oh Why not Tonight?” Is it possible that some of us may lose Jesus in a crowd of mechanical or technical details?
Preachers are not immune to this danger. Have some of us lost Jesus in the crowd of activities or secondary things? The old classic story of the young man who memorized one of Hardeman’s Tabernacle sermons and then in a brush harbor meeting appealed to those in the balcony is a case in point. It is possible to get so concerned with hermeneutics, homiletics, apologetics, grammar, articulation, gesticulation, pronunciation, that one may actually practice obfuscation.
Many years ago I preached at theCentralChurchin a certain town. I noticed that one man listened with what seemed to be rapt attention. When I finished, he warmly shook my hand, and said, “That was a wonderful sermon! You did not make a single grammatical error!” He or I, or both, had lost Jesus in the crowd of secondary things. I am glad if I did not have a grammatical error. It bothers me when men who have advanced college degrees say such things as “The Lord loves you and I.” When I hear a president of a Christian College say at least six times in a sermon such things as “God wants you and I to be personal evangelists” or other glaring errors, I am bothered. But to lose the message because the messenger is flawed may be to lose Jesus in a crowd of secondary things.
The key to why the man could so easily lose Jesus may be found in the fact that he did not even know who had cured him! Do you really know Jesus? “This is life eternal” (John 17:3). He was so interested in what had happened to him that he lost sight of WHO had done it! Is it possible that you have become so involved with the “what” that you have neglected the WHO?