Monday, October 18, 2010

"Making Less of Our Leaders" John 7: 25-44

People are trying to decide who Jesus is...this man who has power to heal, speaks with unusual authority, and keeps his word. He attends the Festival of the Passover after telling his brothers not to expect him. He is not the socialite who throws out a casual "see you at the Passover," but never really intends to find you there. This year will be a different Passover for those who do meet up with him there. It is to be a stage for his teachings. His words are not imprisoned in a synagogue, kept out of the outside world. The world is, after all, to be the context for his words, accessible to anyone. We are not told the content of his teachings there, only that they are from God and they have caused some to plot against his life.

Jesus will confront those who are obsessed with the application of individual Mosaic Laws but who are blind to the presence of God's Spirit. Though the leaders hate him for this he remains out in the open, untouched, unafraid.

The Pharisees want to discredit Jesus by questioning his origins. He is from Galilee, they say, reason enough to ignore or resist him. Galilee was not messianic territory. Jews were big on genealogy. Where and who you came were prime credentials. Galilee was of no repute, was far from Jerusalem, and known for its zealous rebels.

These arguments are recapitulated in modern American politics as public figures posturing for elections, want to discredit the President by questioning his origins....his race, his birthplace, his religion. "He is not from here," they cry across the media. These claims are only made more insistent when the truth is spoken for there are those for whom the truth is inconsequential to their cause. If this happened to Jesus, we should not be surprised if the same counterfeit claims confuse the people in this age.

The Pharisees were right as far as they went....Jesus was living in Galilee, a haven for the insurgents of his day. That was enough to discredit Jesus in the eyes of many. But they needed to dig more deeply for the real truth of who Jesus was. His birthplace was Bethlehem, cited as the Messianic home in Isaiah the prophets words. And Jesus' family tree, if they had troubled to trace it, would have led to Jesse, the grandfather of the great King David. The final covenanting promise of a great king that would bring peace, a land, and a future would have rested now with Jesus. (2 Samuel 7:11).

What would looking more deeply into the origins of our leaders reveal? All power comes from God. The Pharisaical attempts today to label opponents with damning false evidence may get temporary traction. Probing at the surface for foible and folly may confuse the people for the moment. But such is not of God who knows the heart and who promises are true and eternal.

In the reign of God there shall be no need to bring others low in order to raise ourselves high, for we will discover the real truth that all are heirs, "sons and daughters" of the King. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, Dad ...

    But what do you do with the fact that while Jesus has a messianic lineage, he does not fulfill Jewish messianic expectations? If the Pharisees had "checked his lineage," would they have been satisfied?

    Then again, I suppose I can answer my own question by referring to contemporary events; the "birthers" would not stop opposing Obama even if they were presented with unequivocal proof of his citizenship.

    Oh wait, they have been presented with that proof ... :)