Ocean Mist

6 Jul 2009

Back To The Past

Posted by Phil

back-to-the-futureFirst impressions matter because every impression matters. It can be discouraging when impressions we made on others are taken negatively and stick seemingly forever.  This phenomena is nothing new, with the pasts of many in the New Testament hindering their ability to teach.

Paul (Saul) is a prime example.  With Saul zealously persecuting the early church, it was no wonder many would be suspicious of his sudden change in heart.  Saul runs into roadblocks as he preaches to the public in Acts 9:21, and even when he goes to visit the apostles in Acts 9:26.  How did Paul react?  He had some help with Barnabas advancing his cause.  But, more importantly, Paul continued speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord.  He never ceased preaching the truth.  And, eventually, with that persistence and refusal of his past to get in the way, the apostles and many others were won over that Paul’s new belief in Jesus was authentic.

Jesus also faced this problem, though in a different manner.  In Matthew 13:54-58 Jesus revisits his hometown of Nazareth.  Because many people in this town saw Jesus grow up, remember him playing childhood games, learning to be a carpenter, and so on, they found it difficult to accept Him as the Christ.  They wondered where He received His wisdom and miraculous powers. Jesus the carpenter got in the way of his hometown citizens being able to see Jesus the Messiah.  How did Jesus react?  He left.  He only performed a few miracles, and then shook the dust off His feat leaving the opportunity to preach in Nazareth to others.

When our past gets in the way because we made mistakes and others are unable to move past them, even though we have authentically changed, we need to follow Paul’s example and not stop doing what we are doing. Eventually, our actions will prove our words.  However, when the past is getting in the way for some other reason out of our control like with Jesus, then we need to do what we can and move on realizing our efforts may produce better results elsewhere.

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