Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Speaking to John the Baptist’s disciples, confused by his arrest and wondering what to do next, Jesus said: “Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
Kevin Leman draws a triangle and splits it into several horizontal sections. This is his “people-pleasing pyramid.” Those of us at the top aren’t concerned with the opinions of others. At the bottom are the co-dependents, whose very vitality depends on whether they are liked or not.
Jesus must have learned social etiquette from his parents, but he learned something deeper from his father God. He pleased his mother by changing water into wine. He responded with energy and acceptance to the men and women who asked him for healing. But he stood like a wide rock against hypocrisy and self-satisfaction.
Jesus invited sinners to his parties: tax collectors, prostitutes, the very very poor and blind and lame and socially inept. Many were offended by his choice of disciples and of friends. Some were offended by his theology, and almost everyone was offended when he told them God expected them to eat his body and drink his blood. He said his authority for this strange command, as always, was God himself.
Anyone who thought they knew God were surprised by Jesus’ new, entitled way of speaking of his “Father.” Many were not just surprised but offended, angry, and bitter. How could they reconcile the healing and joy and gentle love Jesus carried with him everywhere, with what they thought were his self-centered blasphemies?
Most were silent. Most took the path toward a river in Egypt, de Nial. But I think Jesus might have found this lukewarm, superficial forgetfulness the most offensive way of all.
Lord, give me wisdom and courage to fight through every resistance, to get to the rock where you have always stood - knowing that our Father “is the Lord, and there is no other; He forms the light and creates the darkness; He makes well-being and creates woe … and He designed the world to be lived in” (Isaiah 45:12-18).