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He Opened Their Minds by Pastor Youngjae Jee

posted Jun 2, 2016, 1:00 PM by Bowmansville UMC

Do you know the story of the Fox and the Stork? It is also known as “The Fox and the Crane.” It is one of Aesop’s fables. A fox invites the stork and provides soup in a bowl, which the fox can lap up easily; however, the stork cannot drink it with its beak. The stork then invites the fox to a meal, which is served in a narrow-necked vessel. It is easy for the stork to access but impossible for the fox. Imagine how they feel about each other. Do you think they opened their minds and hearts for each other?

Let me give you another story. There was a business man who invited other business man to a French Restaurant. They ordered lobster for their meal. A waiter brought out two bowls of water with lemon in them. The host drank it, but it was for washing fingertips not for drinking. The other man knew about it but he did not laugh or panic. And then he drank his water in front of him. Then they ate their lobster together and said good-bye. In the car, the driver told the man who first drank the water that it was not for drinking but for washing fingertips. He was shocked and embarrassed. He asked his driver why the other guy drank his water then. The driver said, “Maybe he does not want to embarrass you in public.” Later the man made a huge business contract with the other man. What do you think about these two men? Do you think they open their minds and hearts?

Jesus taught us to do this: “So, in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12) This is what we call “the Golden Rule.” I think this is another way of saying “love one another,” but provides a practical hint of how to open others’ minds.

Jesus himself must have done his ministry to open people’s hearts. His goal was not to make a business contract with them but to reveal the truth of the Scripture to them. The gospel of Luke describes the final moment with the risen Lord Jesus before his ascension like this: “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." ” (Luke 24:45-48) He opened the disciples’ minds so that they could fully understand what the Scriptures is about. Jesus gave himself up for us to open our hearts to the truth of the Scriptures. 

I have served the Bowmansville UMC for about 4 years. My ministry has been to open people’s minds and hearts to the truth of the Scriptures too. I wonder how many people I have helped open their minds to the truth. I think what the church does on earth is also to open people’s minds to the truth of the Scriptures. However, I found that it is not an easy task at all. Believe me on this. It is really hard. We cannot force to open them. Even when you manage to open them they will be closed again. We need some special power to do it. That’s why Jesus told his disciple to wait for the power. “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)

This power is not from our own. It is not something that we develop from our own nature, but something that we receive from on high. We call it “the Holy Spirit.” Without it you may not be doing God’s work but your own work. Only with the Holy Spirit we are able to do what Jesus did. Only with the Holy Spirit we are able to give ourselves to others to open their minds.

The city Jerusalem was the place where disciples betrayed, denied, and ran away from Jesus. Disciples’ minds was closed or locked. They didn’t realize the truth even when they heard the same thing over and over again. But when resurrected Jesus came to them, showed his hands and side, and had a breakfast with them, their minds were opened so that they came to see the truth of the scripture. They came to have a new relationship with Jesus. They became witnesses of Jesus Christ. Jerusalem came to be a place to begin this new life. Jesus Christ turned things around. He proclaims the end of fear and doubt and the beginning of new hope and new life. I found this quote from a website. “God can turn a Mess into a Message, a Test into a Testimony, a TRIal into a TRIumph, a VICTim into a VICTory.”

Were your minds open to the truth? Are you able to open others’ minds? Not to make a business contract but to show the truth of the scripture and to witness Jesus Christ? Well, in order to do that you need to have this power from on high. Seek God not yourself. Seek Jesus Christ in your mind and heart. His Spirit will turn things around for you. May your mind be opened by Jesus Christ and receive the power from on high so that you may be able to open others’ minds to the truth of the Scriptures! Amen.