“Aha! Moments” in ChronoBible Evangelism

Categories: Theology

“Aha! moments” are uniquely delightful experiences.

These are sometimes called flashes of insight, coincidence, serendipity, 悟り(satori– or, enlightenment, to the Buddhist!), being “surprised by joy” (C. S. Lewis), and so forth; these happy moments of discovery shine all too seldom into our daily lives.

Some random examples of the “Aha! moment” experience would include the discovery

  • that the Turkish, Mongolian, and Japanese languages are all related under the umbrella of the Altaic language group;
  • that Adam Clarke, the venerable circuit preacher and scholar of the Methodist church, in his vintage commentary on the Bible actually described continental drift long before Wegener was born;[1]
  • that phosphorus was first discovered when an alchemist superheated a retort filled with urine;
  • that one of your favorite non-fiction authors (Richard Preston) is the brother of one of your favorite contemporary fiction writers (Douglas Preston);
  • and that, when the Hubble telescope is turned on it, a seemingly empty part of the universe is actually seen to be filled with hundreds of galaxies.

Biblical characters were not immune to these surprises. Take, for example, the trembling servant of Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 6. Having peeked out of the tent flap, and having made a rather hasty count of the Syrian army, he cried out to Elisha in despair. The unflappable man of faith simply prayed that the Lord would open his servant’s eyes to the truth. The Lord answered that prayer, and the outlook of the servant was instantly changed; he discovered that it was the army of the King of Syria that should have been afraid, because they were surrounded by the fiery host of the Lord!

Aha! Moments for the Disciples

Jesus provided many such moments for the disciples during His earthly ministry. Sometimes they were totally surprised with joy by the miraculous words and deeds of their Lord. At other times, they received sudden confirmation that what they had thought about their Master was indeed true . . . Aha! A good example of both is the occurrence described in each of the Synoptic Gospels, but well summarized by Mark (Mark 9:2-10). Jesus had taken Peter, James, and John to a high mountain, and there Jesus was transfigured before them. Elijah and Moses appeared and talked with Jesus. Although they doubtless appeared without name tags, it was revealed to the disciples who they were, and they were frightened, awed, and amazed. To add to their amazement, they heard the voice of the Lord God speaking of His Son. One can only imagine the wideness of their eyes and the expansion of their minds before this cascade of surprising sights and sounds. Finally, when it seemed that the surprises were coming to an end, their Lord told them not to speak about what they had seen until after His resurrection. The scene ends with the disciples descending from the mountain engrossed in a deep discussion of what Jesus meant when He said He would rise from the dead!

In the Good Soil seminar, we reflect briefly on several other “Aha! moments.” Take, for example, the proclamation of who Jesus is by John the Baptizer. Imagine the mental response of the nearby Jews, who were receiving the baptism of repentance from John, to the words "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)! How they would be jolted by the language of offerings and sacrifice for sin being used of a man! Truly, John must be saying that this is the suffering servant who would be “wounded for our transgressions, andbruised for our iniquities” (Isa 53:5)!

Another example would certainly be the claims of Jesus concerning Himself, claims that infuriated the unbelieving leaders who thought of Him as a heretic claiming to be God’s son, but that must have turned lights on in the heads of all who listened in faith. Those who question today the claims of Jesus to be Christ need to reread His profound statement: "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM."

(John 8:58-59). No wonder they took up stones to kill him! But in the hearts of those who followed him as true disciples, what a confirmation: He is a man, and yet, He is the Lord, the “I AM.” AHA!

The Ultimate Aha! Moment

But what is the ultimate “Aha! moment?” Isn’t it truly the moment when all resistance to the gospel message drops away in the profound realization that Jesus Christ is not just a historical figure my neighbor is constantly yammering about as though He were of some significance today, but that He is the Savior I must have . . . who wants to have me, warts and all! It is the moment when the love of God in Jesus Christ bursts into the sin-clogged corridors of my ungodly mind and heart and captures my soul and spirit. It is the moment when hopelessness becomes hope; when spiritual blindness gives way to spiritual sight; when God changes from a featureless religious object to my one and greatest desire; when the blinders are ripped away, and when the light of the glorious gospel in the face of Jesus Christ burns through the hand of the prince of this world and shines in my heart.

It is this “Aha! moment” that is the ultimate goal of Good Soil evangelism. When the message of the gospel is heard with understanding, embraced with joy, and retained with the grasp of one who holds the greatest treasure imaginable, and would never let it go. Thankfully it is the Lord of the Harvest, the Giver of the unutterably great Gift, who not only graciously provides salvation, but holds fast each one who receives it so that not one will be lost. The life that begins then will be filled with “Aha! moments,” as the persons and works of the Triune God are displayed all around and within the believer, but none will compare with that first “Aha! moment,” until the moment when, balanced between life and death, this world and the next, mortality and immortality, the things that eyes have not seen, and ears have not heard, will be made plain. At that moment more connections will be made, more mysteries will be solved, more delight will be experienced than we can ever imagine. And that will be only the beginning!

[1] “Alfred Wegener is considered to be the ‘father’ of the modern concept of continental drift. Wegener based his theory on available physical evidence, while Adam Clarke and others had posited the idea of splitting and drifting continents based upon the Genesis account and the evidence of the eye in looking at maps and accumulating physical evidence. In Clarke’s commentary on Genesis, he wrote the following:

Verse 25. Peleg— From palag, to divide, because in his days, which is supposed to be about one hundred years after the flood, the earth was divided among the sons of Noah. Though some are of opinion that a physical division, and not a political one, is what is intended here, viz., a separation of continents and islands from the main land; the earthy parts having been united into one great continent previously to the days of Peleg. This opinion appears to me the most likely, for what is said, Genesis 10:5, is spoken by way of anticipation.”

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