Knowing God (the talk)
Saturday, April 5, 2003
40) On hearing Jesus’ words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”
41) Others said, “He is the Christ.”
Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee?
42) Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?”
43) Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.
44) Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.
45) Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
46) “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards declared.
A couple years ago we saw an Easter play at Meadowbrook Community Church. The time, 2000 years ago. The place, Israel. The two main characters and their wives, friends from long ago, disagreed about Jesus. This conflict cut through friendship and family, breeding division between one whose life was changed and redeemed by Jesus’ touch and his words, and one who fiercely defended continuity and the traditional interpretation of Scripture. To him Jesus abused his own relationship with God; he was heretic, liar, and blasphemer.
Jesus’ follower begged his friend to spend some time with Jesus, just listening to him. Then he would understand and rejoice. Did he? I don’t know. What I do know is that righteousness and truth do not always turn the tide on this planet, not then, not now. Jesus walked the country and split people apart from each other with his words, his miracles, his prayers. If their minds were closed, they rarely opened them to Jesus, regardless of his righteousness and truth.
I cherish my imagination of knowing Jesus, of hearing his words and being suddenly new, saying with wonder, “No one ever spoke like this man.” Surely I would have responded with awe to his words and deeds. I would not have closed my mind, would I?
Would you? I don’t know. Would I? I don’t know. I hope not. I am glad to open it now, to the prophet and the Christ, the free thinker, the radical politician, the fiery preacher, the miracle worker, the savior.
Lord when I do close my mind to you, open it again, Lord. I want to know you and love you and grow in you.