“Which lake were you at last week?” Ed, my neighbor next door, asked.
“Emma Lake,” I answered.
“Why would you go so far north with so many good lakes nearby?” demanded Ed.
“It is fairly close to Prince Albert. We hadn’t been to Prince Albert for several years and it has one of the best music stores in Saskatchewan with a good variety of fiddle music books,” I replied.
“Just great,” Ed griped. “All the dogs and coyotes will be howling if you start practicing your violin again!”
“Just look at me. You can see my days are numbered, so just enjoy the scratching and squeaking on my violin while it lasts. Tell yourself that you’ll miss me when I’m gone,” I responded.
“Yeah, it will be like missing hail damage and gout,” Ed grunted.
Sometimes you cannot win. I think Ed has a good neighbor in me, but he just barely tolerates me. Perhaps he’d like me better if I stocked old cars in the back yard for parts. Or, if I had a guard dog named “Killer” barking in the yard day and night. Surely he’d be impressed if I changed the front yard to dirt with four bikes parked there – but not the kind you peddle. How about if I began hosting all night parties with the continual coming and going of people in cars that sound like jet planes? Ed complains of a squeaking violin next door. Does Ed know some neighbors do play music so loud that you learn lyrics in your own house that scare you and leave you wanting to wash your mouth out with soap! Ed will probably never be impressed with me as a good neighbor. Many weren’t impressed with Jesus either.
God opens some minds and leaves others closed. While Jesus was on earth, many would only follow Jesus if they were impressed with him. Once, Jesus fed five thousand people with a few fish and a small amount of bread. The next day, many of those people hunted until they found Jesus. They were impressed by his miraculous feeding the day before. When Jesus invited them to believe in him as the living bread come down from heaven, they refused unless Jesus would awe them with another miracle. They were no longer satisfied with the miracle of feeding five thousand the day before. Sadly, people only see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear. Thankfully, God knows how blind and deaf we are and can give us faith and new sight towards Him and others. God alone can “change the leper’s spots and melt the heart of stone.”
At his trial, the high priest asked Jesus, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”
“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” So they then all condemned Jesus to death. This resulted in some spitting at him and striking him with their fists and the guards taking him and beating him.
Only God can help us to see and understand and be impressed by the stain of sin and its disaster on us. Only God can help us to treasure our cleansing from sin through His Son Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. Only God can change unbelief to belief.