We are a silly people, indeed. While we are busy thinking that Jesus will be more impressed with us if we demonstrate our righteousness, our faithfulness, and our piety by continuing to push through the crowds and the noise long after we've reached the point of natural surrender, we lose track of the fact that it's not just Jesus who is watching our dramatic little display; the world is also watching.
In fact, this is one of the greatest points of contention that the world has with Christianity. The world thinks that Jesus is keeping score. The world thinks that Jesus demands too much. The world thinks that Jesus cares more about how much we are willing to suffer for Him than He did about His suffering for us.
And...that's a problem.
Let's put it another way - while we're busy trying to show Jesus how faithful and righteous we are, the world sees us desperately trying to show Jesus how faithful and righteous we are...and then, it is really hard for the world to believe that Jesus is the one who is faithful and righteous. How could He be, if He is the one keeping such diligent score on the rest of us?
It makes God seem nit-picky. It makes Him seem fickle. It makes it seem like our salvation is works-based, no matter how much we use words that say otherwise. And it makes us seem like a people who don't know God's great love for us.
For if we did, we would not be a people trying to earn it.
All this clamoring we're doing, all this effort we're putting in, all this muscle we're trying to muster, it actually draws away from our witness to Christ. It actually draws away from what we're trying to say about Him.
Imagine if our Bible contained even one story where Jesus just kept walking. Where there was a blind man calling out on the side of the road, and Jesus completely ignored the guy and just kept going. Then, maybe, He turns to His disciples and says, "Calling out for Me is not enough; the blind man should have stood, pressed through the crowds, and showed me how much he longed for me."
Or imagine if we had a story where someone pressed through the crowds and kept getting close to Jesus, but Jesus never even turned around. Imagine if we had someone who was putting everything on the line but never quite got there and Jesus never even noticed. Then Peter (because it's always Peter, isn't it?) says something like, "Lord, there is a woman pushing through the crowds to get to you, but the crowds are so thick and her body so weak, she can never quite get here." Then Jesus turns to Peter and says, "Then she should push harder. For if she really wanted my healing power, she would find a way to come all the way to Me."
It's hard for us to fathom stories like these. These are so unlike the Jesus that we know and love. And yet, these are exactly the stories that we are telling about Him with all of our striving. This is exactly the witness we are giving to the world of who our Jesus is. This is the Jesus that the world sees when we think that we can't, for whatever reason, just fall into His arms. When we think that we can't just surrender. When we live like it's up to us to come all the way to this Christ that we so easily forget has already crossed eternity for us.
This is the Jesus that the world sees, while we're busy trying to push through to Him because honestly? this is the Jesus too many Christians believe in, too.
And that...is also a problem.