Self-absorbed distractions

Self-absorbed distractions

You are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary – Luke 10:41-42

Luke 21:34-36

 34 “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by . . . by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware,

 35 like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth.

 36 Keep alert at all times.

In 1904, Sigismund Goetze put on display his painting, “He was Despised and Rejected of Men,” at the exhibition of the Royal Academy in London. At the time, it created somewhat of a fuss.

Depictions of the suffering of Christ are not rare, but rather abundant. However, this painting is somewhat remarkable. In the center, the Lord Jesus Christ is pictured tied by ropes to a pedestal. In the background, an angel stands high above, head bowed holding a cup. Is this intended to depict the cup which the Lord Jesus Christ chose to drink indicative of His death by crucifixion for the sins of the world?

The Lord Jesus Christ is in the midst of a crowd of people taking little notice of Him. For all but one, it is business as usual. They pass by without even taking a glance in His direction. They are all caught up in their daily activities. In fact only one person, who can be identified as a nurse by her “uniform,” has turned her eyes toward Him. What is unique is that all of the people are all dressed in contemporary Victorian-style clothing. Goetze has superimposed the suffering Christ on late-Victorian society.

The scene is very similar to what we might expect in the 21st century. Perhaps only the clothes would have to be updated to contemporary fashions. And of course, most everyone would be preoccupied with their cell phones, totally self-absorbed as they meander about.

Upon closer inspection, the Lord Jesus Christ it is actually bound to an altar. In faint letters it reads, “the Unknown God.” Such an altar is referenced by the apostle Paul in Athens (Acts 17:23).

Acts 17:22-23

 22 “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way,

 23 for as I was walking along, I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.

Of course that is the point of Goetze’s painting. For the vast majority of people, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His sacrifice for the sins of the world remains unknown or simply ignored.

Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

REFLECT & PRAY

Caught up in the rush of daily activities, it is far too easy to become oblivious or insensitive to the Lord Jesus Christ. We just forget.

Father as you well know, life in the 21st century is rushed and packed with busyness. Enable me to make steady progress in giving You first priority in my life.

INSIGHT

Who is the Lord Jesus Christ? Why is it important?

The Lord Jesus Christ performed many signs to demonstrate His true identity.

John 20:30-31 

 30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;

 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

Yet, when Christ was alive on earth, people were very confused about His identity.

Matthew 16:13-17

 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

The Lord Jesus Christ was well aware of what was going on and who would believe and who would not. He clearly stated that this was so and why.

John 6:64-66

 64 “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.

 65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

 66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.

Faith is a choice. Yet the Father actively works to encourage those who are to adopted into His Forever Family to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

Peter understood the full significance of believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. The forgiveness of our sins and our eternal redemption are the result of our faith in Him. There is no other way to come to the Father.

John 6:68-69

 68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.

 69 “We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”

After we accept Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we have continual decisions to make, regarding our ongoing relationship with Him. We can elect to be self-absorbed by the distractions of daily life. Or we can decide to focus on and make our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ primary. It is up to each one of us to choose. Making the Lord Jesus Christ our number one priority is a process. It is a skill each and every child of the Father can develop.

It takes time and effort. Not every day will be the same. There are seasons of great growth and closeness. There are likewise periods of drought. It is perfectly normal. “Growth is not a uniform thing in the tree or in the Christian. In some single months there is more growth than in all the year besides. During the rest of the year, however, there is solidification, without which the green timber would be useless. The period of rapid growth, when woody fiber is actually deposited between the bark and the trunk, occupies but four to six weeks in May, June and July” (A. H. Strong).

Each of us has to learn to un-string our bow now and then and relieve the tension. Do not be discouraged, but press on to the high calling each of us has been given (Philippians 3:14).

People, whether they are children of the King or not, are far too easily distracted from the things that matter the most.

Luke 10:41-42 You are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary.

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