Tuesday, August 7, 2018
17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
In math, the successive pattern of 2, 4, 8, 16, 32… is an infinite series that each time, doubles the previous number. Our passage tells us that the crowd that was with Jesus when he called Lazarus forth from the tomb continued to spread the word. Imagine two people who each told another person, making four. Those four also spoke to another, making eight. Keep it going, and soon we see there is a large crowd who heard Jesus had performed this sign, going out to meet Jesus.
Keep it going some more. 32. 64. 128. 256. 512. 1024. 2048. How quickly do we get to the kind of numbers following Jesus where the Pharisees were threatened. They were scared, feeling powerless and overwhelmed. They felt as though Jesus had taken away their influence, that the whole world has gone after Jesus. No wonder they had to persuade Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus.
To look online, the latest numbers from 2012 state that Christianity is still the most dominant world religion, with 2.4 billion believers. That is approximately 33% of our world population. Christianity is still growing, but the pace of growth is less than the overall world population growth. Our successive pattern of doubling has slowed. In some areas, it has reversed, sad to say.
I cannot influence the entire world, but I can be an influence on my family, neighbor, coworker or friend. My influence can be positive or negative; I determine that by how I live for Christ or fail to live for Christ, day by day. By what I do, will people go out to meet Jesus? I pray that it is so.
Lord, it is hard to admit that at times I may be a hindrance to your work. I confess to my sorrow I have acted in ways counter to what you ask of me. Forgive me if I have caused another to turn away from faith or a faith community, by my actions or inaction. I pray for any situations or people that come to mind. Help me today to be a positive, faith-filled influence on someone near to me. Let me serve in ways that honor you, through Christ our Lord. Amen.