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Friday, January 30, 2015

John: Killing the Christ

this is the third reading from Sunday MP, John 7:14-31. All three are read together on that day, so the interaction of the texts in the Hearer's mind and heart produce their own unique message. Like ingredients in a recipe, the interaction of lections can open new insights when read together...
Jesus has gone to the Festival of Booths (Fall harvest celebration as well as--from Leviticus--remembrance of the time in the desert) in Jerusalem. Romans would consider Him a problem. Jewish leaders saw such men as a threat to their tenuous status quo.  The honor codes and violence of the time could explode at any moment. This complex situation is conveyed by the repeated words "you/they seek to kill Me." Jesus had a tendency to avoid crowds and withdraw.

A key message Jesus gives us is about right desire. If you want to hear His words and discern, then you must seek God's will not your own. The Greek word for conversion, metanoia, literaly means a mind above. We, like Jesus' adversaries, cannot hear Him when we seek our own interests rather than our God's. Even believers are not exempt! We end up judging by appearances and failing to see the deeper meaning. In common parlance, our personal "agenda" gets in the way.

The "Jews" (be careful how you generalize this) thought that they knew where Jesus was from (Nazareth: according to appearances) yet He knows different. He is from God, something not easily discerned by those who fail to judge by right judgment.

The narrative concludes with a discussion. Some Jews think Jesus is a bad guy, others question if He is the Messiah. In a sense, their debate continues today. We are also confronted with the same choice. Will I believe He is the Christ/Messiah/Anointed/King?

Killing Jesus continues today, figuratively. When we make Him into something He isn't, we 'kill' Him and replace Him with a counterfeit. Our politics, our culture, our personal wants and agendas all contribute to it. Yet, if we keep holy silence and submit our will to Him, if we seek God's ways and not our own, then the light will dawn. The words of Jesus will be clearly the words of God. We will have to repent to get there, however, repent of being party to the plot to kill Him, whether actively or passively.  

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