John 7:1-30: Our Unbelief
Friday, March 11, 2016
Today’s Gospel reminds us that if we have the idea that our road to Easter will be a smooth one, we will want to think again. In this portion of John’s story, he describes an interchange between Jesus and those closest to him.
Jesus’ brothers said, “Why don’t you leave here and go up to the Feast so your disciples can get a good look at the works you do? If you’re serious about what you are doing, come out in the open and show the world.” His brothers were pushing him like this because they didn’t believe in him either.
We ask ourselves, “How does Jesus respond?”
Jesus came back at them, “Don’t crowd me. This isn’t my time. It’s your time—it’s always your time; you have nothing to lose. You go ahead, go up to the Feast. Don’t wait for me. It’s not the right time for me.”
We wonder, “And then what happened?”
He said this and stayed on in Galilee. But later, after his family had gone up to the Feast, he also went. But he kept out of the way, careful not to draw attention to himself. The Jews were already out looking for him, asking around, “Where is that man?”
And what if this exchange takes place between us and Jesus?” we ask.
With the Feast already half over, Jesus showed up in the Temple, teaching. The Jews were impressed, but puzzled: “How does he know so much without being schooled?”
“We surely believe Jesus,” we say to one another, “especially when we see him in the Temple”.
Jesus said, “I didn’t make this up. What I teach comes from the One who sent me. Anyone who wants to do his will can test this teaching and know whether it’s from God or whether I’m making it up. A person making things up tries to make himself look good. But someone trying to honor the one who sent him sticks to the facts and doesn’t tamper with reality. It was Moses, wasn’t it, who gave you God’s Law? But none of you are living it. So why are you trying to kill me?”
This stings a bit, and as the crowd surges toward Jesus, we must make a decision to join, defend, or walk away.
The crowd says, “You’re crazy! Who’s trying to kill you? You’re demon-possessed.”
We listen to continued exchanges between Jesus and the differing factions in the crowd and we realize that some of these doubters have a genuine curiosity about Jesus while others are jealous and angry.
They were looking for a way to arrest him, but not a hand was laid on him because it wasn’t yet God’s time. Many from the crowd committed themselves in faith to him, saying, “Will the Messiah, when he comes, provide better or more convincing evidence than this?”
Today we remind ourselves . . . we must make a decision to join, defend, or walk away as we continue our Lenten journey to our Easter home.
To read this entire story using different translations, use the scripture link above.
We examine our belief, our unbelief, and the dangers and gifts it holds, we continue our Lenten practice. Rather than thinking: “God’s generosity is sometimes not fair,” let us think instead, “When we put away the past and follow God’s example of enormous generosity, we are better able to welcome the lost back home into the kingdom . . . and to give thanks for our own part in God’s great rejoicing”.