Here is a little science that makes for an interesting, quick Bible illustration: Listen to the following video, and tell me what you hear.
I hear “Laurel” every time, but some folks, particularly younger people, hear “Yanny” instead. This dispute triggered an Internet craze that raises a really good question: Why do some people hear one thing and other people hear something completely different?
According to the video above, a study of acoustics and neurology provides the answer. Certain frequencies in the recording allow some listeners to hear “Yanny,” while others only hear “Laurel.” Younger people are generally more sensitive to hearing higher pitched frequencies, so they hear “Yanny,” whereas an older person (like me) can not detect the higher frequencies, and so I hear “Laurel.” If you change the pitch of the recording, you can actually hear the difference.
The “Yanny-vs-Laurel” dispute provides an analogy for how we go about conducting spiritual conversations with our neighbors. When Jesus went about his preaching, many were healed. But the demons recoiled in horror, at the name of Jesus (Luke 4:31-41).
In an analogous way, different people respond differently today upon hearing the name of “Jesus.” This is why it is important not too assume your audience knows what you are talking about, when you talk about your faith.
For example, when I hear the name of “Jesus,” I think of the joy of knowing Christ as my Lord and Savior. However, when I am with nonbelievers, or with those whom I simply do not know well, I am sensitive to what they think when they hear about “Jesus.” For some, talk about “Jesus” is simply a cloak for what they think is religious narrow-mindedness. They may hear the word “Jesus,” but they may think they are being drawn into a conversation about politics.
You just never know what people are hearing. But, every now and then, prompted by the work of the Holy Spirit, they might hear something like, “I am far away from God, and I know it. Perhaps I should think more about who Jesus really is, so that I can experience the type of love and acceptance that Christians are talking about.” Asking for feedback and listening goes a long way, when it comes talking about Jesus.
So, what do you hear when you hear the name of “Jesus?”