Was Jesus’s public ministry prompted solely by his desire to get all of us into heaven—or did he have something more in mind for his followers? Having studied and taught Scripture for over forty-five years, I’m convinced Jesus is as interested in our lives now as he is about where we’re going to spend eternity. In fact, he links the two.
This conviction was powerfully reinforced by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons’s book, The Invisible Gorilla (Crown Publishing Group).
Had this book been written 2,000 years ago, I think Jesus would certainly have made its first chapter required reading for all his followers. It may help readers to understand the faith and teachings of Jesus more than any book besides Scripture itself.
Technically, the opening chapter has nothing directly to do with faith. It’s simply a scientific exploration of a basic human question: What do we actually see when we’re looking at something immediately in front of us?
The two psychologist-authors discovered that we see only the object on which our eyes actually focus. By nature, we miss much of what else is directly within our field of vision. No one sees everything. Those who presume they can or do are badly mistaken. For those who doubt that statement, the authors offer many individuals who never saw what to others was obvious.
More than twelve years ago, Chabris and Simons conducted an experiment (available on YouTube) in which they asked people to count the number of passes made by a specific basketball team. As the players were throwing the ball back and forth, a young girl in a gorilla outfit appeared, threading her way among the players, in full view of anyone watching the action.
After the passes stopped, the viewers were asked: How many passes did their team make? And did you notice the gorilla walking among the players while they were making the passes?
Almost everyone gave the correct number of passes; but more than half never saw the gorilla! This book has spoken to so many people and situations that it has already been translated into fourteen languages with another four in progress.
Surprising as the authors’ findings are, they have a great deal to do with our faith.