At the turn of the 21st Century, scientific instruments discovered a mysterious and irritating hum reverberating throughout the earth. Though its pitch was too low for the human ear, monitoring technology heard the bedrock bedlam loud and clear. On a musical scale the seismic note comes in at 16 octaves below middle C.
Actually, we're fortunate we can't hear it. The boorish tones vary from earth's corner to earth's corner, but when blended together they harmonize like a chorus of angry whales with a bad case of laryngitis.
When the sound was first discovered, there was a mad scientific dash to identify the source of the raw acoustics. But now, the mystery has been solved. With earplugs in hand, science has uncovered these underground belches.
The hum, they say, is birthed in a simple ocean wave … multiplied by billions of other waves.
Here's the backstory: each oceanic wave contains a swirling motion. When one wave's motion is joined with other waves' similar motions, they create a rolling barrel effect on the ocean surface. Then, when these watery rolls meet-up with foul weather, their powerful locomotive action is pressed deeper into the sea's belly, pounding like a drum on the ocean's floor. All this cacophony of turbulence raises the sea's base by a fraction of an inch as the waves wash by.
So, the mystery is solved—the repetitive motion of countless watery waves creates global vibrations which produces the unmistakable and unstoppable hum throughout the entire earth.
Besides being a scientific breakthrough, it's also a parable about preaching.
Our mandate was made quite simple. Jesus gave us the what to preach: "I have manifested Your name … the words which You gave to me, I have given to them." And the Apostle Paul gave us the when: "Preach the word … in season and out of season."
A Christ-centered message, combined with the Spirit's force, accomplishes the Father's work. It's all about Him. It's never about us.
Take Paul, for instance. He had a bio-sheet to impress any audience anywhere at any time. Top that off with his great natural communication skills. Yet, Paul refused to rely on either. "I was with you in weakness and in fear. My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power."
The more Paul's message focused on Christ the more it reverberated and created a hum.
Jonathan Edwards was without peer among 18th century preachers. And, many have wondered why he chose to read his sermons rather than deliver them. The best guess is that he never wanted to be accused of using his persuasive techniques to gain a response. He wanted the message to bring the results, not the messenger.
And his audiences heard that hum.
Even Moses was a believer in this simple recipe. Every time he addressed Pharaoh, Moses began with the words, "Thus says the Lord…" He left no doubt as to Who was who.
And the hum was deafening.
It was the same with Jeremiah. Though his preaching was dramatic at times, his simple, yet direct message never confused his generation—a generation who, like ours, loved worldliness more than godliness.
It was the same with Elijah. Although he continually made the headlines, his prayer remained, "That these people will know that You, oh Lord, are God."
It was the same with John who was determined that "He must increase but I must decrease."
And, it was the same with Jesus. Though His generation lived under a bent and broken religious system, and the Pharisees were exegeteing the daylights out of the Law, Jesus simply offered Good News. The distinction was dramatic—the Pharisees produced despair, Jesus gave hope. And the hum has never stopped.
Some things are felt around the world. A Christ-centered message is one of them.