You’ve seen them before. A celebrity is photoshopped into a strange picture and it fools no one. Why? Usually context. They just don’t fit. You cannot imagine them actually doing what is in the picture. But sometimes the truth is stranger than these fictions.
Healing cripples. Feeding the poor. Giving sight to the blind. These are all things we can easily picture Jesus doing; that is, none of them challenge our preconceptions about Him. Now try this one on for size:
“Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent.”
Can you picture Jesus threatening people? Entire towns? I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t come naturally to me. Somehow I don’t remember this scene on flannelgraph from when I was a kid. And what is the cause of this unseemly conduct? A lack of repentance.
And in the midst of a multitude of miracles. Often in times when our faith grows weak, we imagine something miraculous would shore up our floundering faith. But miracles confirm faith, they don’t create it. These towns, Choarzin, Bethsaida and Capernaum did not believe (i.e. repent) when Jesus came preaching. He continues preaching anyway, and performing miracles. And they still do not believe.
The game changer is when God gets personal with you. If you will not respond in repentance at that moment, it is unlikely what we consider ‘miracles’ will stir you either. Just look at Pharaoh during the Exodus.
And a personal encounter with God is what we are all about at Christmas. If nothing else, God descending to earth in human form was about a personal experience of God in human flesh. He wanted so badly to make that happen that He wore diapers.
So this Christamas, get close to God and repent.