By: Josh Ellis, Associate Director, UBA Houston
April 8, 2018
In April 2002, Starbucks launched an advertising campaign to promote their new “TazoCitrus” drinks, a new line of frozen smoothie-type drinks. Under the tagline of “Collapse Into Cool” were the two large cups, resting in a bed of grass with butterflies all around and a dragonfly looking as if it was about to land on one of the large cups. You can Google the posters, and in 2018 they look innocent enough. However, in 2002, people started to notice that the cups looked a little too much like towers, the dragonfly a little too much like an airplane, and the blades of grass to much like smaller buildings below the towers. In other words, once they saw an image that conjured up recollections of 9/11, just a few months before, they couldn’t see anything else.
When Jesus appears on the scene and words like “Messiah” and “Savior" are ascribed to him, some people had a hard time seeing the Messiah as being anything other than the nationalistic hero they had longed for. The religious leaders of the day were largely consumed with thoughts that Jesus would rob them of their prominence and authority. Once assigned to a box, many had trouble seeing Jesus as anything outside that box. And what’s worse, many people missed what God was truly doing in their midst because they just couldn’t see past their own preconceptions.
Once a person publicly declares their faith in Christ, they become an imperfect reflection of a perfect God. No one can measure up to a sinless existence like our Savior did, and yet there is an overwhelming temptation for those outside of the faith to discern the nature and character of God by looking at all of us fallible believers. For believers, there is an opportunity there to explain grace, mercy, forgiveness, and what it looks like to seek His kingdom everyday. Undergirding that effort is a belief, which is key for revival: We must see Jesus.
John 12:20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”
Packed in the middle of John 12 is the unassuming request of some Greeks who were in Jerusalem for Passover. They could’ve pulled the disciples aside and inquired of them, but they came seeking Jesus because they knew he was the best person to learn from.
My hope is that in these days of seeking revival, that we as the body of Christ would collectively point to Jesus and help others see and experience Jesus. Believers are to represent Christ as well as they can at all times. However, there is real power when believers say to a watching world, “Don’t look to me. Look to my savior. Look at what he has done for me, not because of me.” And then we as believers graciously and lovingly lead them to the cross, because that is where we all belong.
Lord, open our eyes to see you and your work in our city. Deliver us from our temptation to draw attention to ourselves instead of you. Help us to point others to your word, your life, your cross, and your empty tomb. Lord, give us the humility to seek forgiveness when we have wronged others or become a distraction from people having an authentic encounter with you. Lord, may our legacy be that we brought people to you.