When the Internet Explodes
"The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, 'What is this? A new teaching--and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey Him.' News about Jesus spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee."- Mark 1:27-28
Over recent years we have created a phrase that is a staple in the modern vernacular of our high-speed, high-tech, smart-phone culture. We have a fresh term that people use when speaking of the breaking news story trending in our world. The phrase used when a story or video clip stops you in your tracks, leaves you gasping, rubbing your eyes, shaking your head, and texting others to check it out has become known as someone or something making, "The Internet Explode."
Just last week we saw the "internet explode" with news that one of Hollywood's royal couples, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, were divorcing. The amount of clicks and views exponentially increase when it has to do with an announcement of a high profile public figure; a long awaited release of a song/album by a chart-topping pop star; a video of a child doing something adorable; a thrill-seeker accomplishing an amazing, death-defying feat; or a news story with implications far beyond a local scope (i.e.- Hurricane Matthew hitting land this past weekend).
When it comes to the "Internet Exploding" perhaps the leader out of the gate, the top vote-getter, and the elephant in the room for 2016 has to be the Presidential candidates and election. Everyone is talking about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and what will happen on November 8th. The recent Presidential Debates had the internet flooding with sound bites from each candidate, analysis from multiple networks, polls to determine a winner, and the always amusing (or disconcerting) comments and opinions of people who look to critique, dissect, expose, and sling mud at the candidate they loathe. This upcoming election definitely has the nation weighing in, on edge, and ready to "click away".
I want to return to the above passage in Mark as it shows the undeniable and incalculable impact that Jesus made on all who heard His words, received His touch, and opened to His love and forgiveness. As Jesus moved through Galilee with a message that the "Kingdom of God is near" and with a miracle flow that healed bodies and released the bound and broken, the news about Him spread everywhere and people swarmed to Him from every direction. If computers and smart-phones would have been around at that time, Jesus would have been the first to have the "Internet explode" and would have had the greatest number of clicks, views, comments, subscribers, and likes in the history of the world. It is important to remember not just what Christ did when He walked the earth, but the very condition of people prior to His coming in the flesh. There were people who were faithfully waiting for the arrival of God's Messiah to deliver His people and establish His rule; there were people who were under the shackles of torment, infirmity, and bondage; there were people whose hurts, needs, and circumstances overshadowed any hope for light and love to breakthrough. In fact, Isaiah 9, which includes the most well-known Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah, begins in verse 2 by speaking of the hopeless condition of man being met and marvelously changed by the radiant answer of God, "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in a land of deep darkness a light has dawned."
As messengers and ministers of Christ we should be delivering the absolute truth and ultimate change agent to a topsy-turvy world. That message of Christ, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the presence of God's people, as children of light, should release such visible and unparalleled results that it has the masses talking, it has hearts changing, and it has people moving towards God. II Corinthians 3:17 tells us, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
Imagine the possibilities of effecting true change in the places we live by simply following Jesus, operating in the power of the Spirit, prayerfully moving through your day, seeking opportunities to be a blessing, and extending love towards others? How wonderful it would be to have:
A neighbor telling his family at the dinner table how moved they were when you offered to pray for their health.
An entire office being influenced by the positive and humble attitude you bring to your job each day.
An individual in the church not giving up on their faith because you were obedient to share that Scripture and/or "word" with them last Sunday.
A stranger come to church and give their life to Christ because you took time to help them.
A family member overcomes a deep fear or holding unforgiveness towards someone else because you took time to encourage them and walk with them through their valley.
I cannot tell you what sweeping changes the election results will bring and I cannot estimate the impact that a Clinton or Trump will have as our next president, but what I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that we have a Savior and a King who still reigns, who still loves, who still moves powerfully, and who still changes lives! Our families, neighborhoods, cities, and nation desperately need a heavenly, kingdom, and eternal explosion! May these last weeks of 2016 bring unprecedented and far-reaching results much like what was spoken of about Jesus by those who witnessed His amazing works in John 12:19, "Look how the whole world has gone after Him!" I am ready for those types of "clicks" and that kind of CHANGE!