A week ago, I was teaching teen girls at a Christian camp. I noted several reactions from the group of girls. (It was very hot and four o’clock in the afternoon.) Here are the five levels of attention I noticed:
- Sleep—One girl was just about to fall over.
- Listen—Most at least tried to listen.
- Think—Some were thinking so hard, I could almost hear their thoughts!
- React—Some either pushed back or leaned forward. I could see it.
- Accept—Some of the girls readily accepted biblical truth and new ideas.
It reminded me somewhat of the Parable of the Sower with his precious seed. In the parable, the seed is the Word of God, and the different kinds of ground represent different heart responses.
I’m reminded of different biblical people that represent those reactions:
The sleeper, Eutychus fell asleep in the window, while the Apostle Paul preached a very long sermon. He fell out of the window and died. Paul, through the healing power of Jesus Christ, raised him from the dead, and they enjoyed fellowship together until the morning (Acts 20:7-12). I always felt sorry for Eutychus—in a lighted room, at night, tired—and the next thing he knew, he had died and come back again. Can you imagine fellowshipping with the Apostle Paul until morning? What a privilege!
The listeners: people in Jerusalem—At the end of Jesus’ life, the chief priests were searching for a way to kill Jesus. The Bible says they could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him (Luke 19:48). The people really, truly wanted to hear what Jesus had to say!
The thinker, a Pharisee named Nicodemus, went to Jesus at night. He couldn’t figure out how Jesus could do the miracles unless God was with him. Jesus told Nicodemus a man needs to be born again to see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus couldn’t figure it out: How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus explained to him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. Then, Jesus explained how He would die for the sins of the world. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (Story in John 3:1-21). The next time we see Nicodemus, he is defending Jesus to other Pharisees. (John 7:50) After Jesus’ death, Nicodemus takes expensive spices to the tomb. (John 19:39) This thinker had accepted Jesus as his Savior!
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead—The Bible says that those outside the tomb had two reactions: Many . . . believed on him. Some went and told the Pharisees what they had seen. Then the chief priests and Pharisees got together and plotted to kill Jesus, Caiaphas being the leader. (Story in John 11:45-53.) Such opposite reactions! Believing and plotting to kill.
The best reaction, of course is to accept.
- And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred (Mark 4:20).
- But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12).
- About the gentile new Christians in Cornelius’ house: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? (Acts 10:47)
What have you done with the biblical truth that you know?
What have you done with Jesus?
Are you sleepy, listening, thinking, reacting, or accepting?