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Jesus path, part 2

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

John 8: 23, 28-30
Jesus continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. ... When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be, and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him."

Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him.

In his effort to communicate clearly with the Jewish people, Jesus does not pull punches. He does not speak with humility, at least not the kind I'm used to. He claims an intimacy with God unknown to anyone since (perhaps) Moses. He made sure the people didn't see him as just a holy man, living a model life.

He says the same thing over and over in the Gospels, "I only do what the Father is doing. I always do what pleases him." Therefore God has not "left him alone."

Depending on your point of view, Jesus meek and mild is more accurately described as "mean and wild." Mark Galli's book of the same title resurrects this part of Jesus' image, his life on earth. Nothing prevents Jesus from overturning tables in the temple. He savages his critics. In the next few verses of John he calls them children of "your father, the devil." He is God's son; they most certainly are not.

And then comes verse 30: "Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him." In John 14, he states explicitly, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." He is not a teacher of the way or the truth; he is the way.

Jesus' words divide us. We either stand with him, or we turn away from him. He won't allow us any kind of middle ground. That doesn't prevent me from seeking it, of course. I'd like to follow Jesus and keep something of myself. I know a little about truth, don't I?

It's taking me my whole life to get these words of Jesus firmly in my soul. I am impatient with the process. Part of me is afraid of going too far toward Jesus. Part of me is afraid not to. John writes much later in his life, as an old man, "Perfect love drives out fear" (1 John 4:18). Fear has to do with punishment.

God is about love. God is truth. God is love. God is not about punishment. I am so thankful for that.

Lord, you encourage me to be joyful always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances. Above all, I must not "put out the Spirit's fire." Let me accept whatever that means, Lord, every day.

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