21st day of Advent
December 23rd, 2017
“Surely you have not been deceived too, have you?"
We are drawing to the end of Advent - this season of seeking Jesus, the Light of God in the World.
Christmas is soon upon us. After sunset, the Church global in the dark of this Holy Night will praise God, awestruck and amazed at the awesome love of God who humbled Himself, took on human form and was born into human history.
What Child is this? Who is this Jesus?
We are not the first ones to ask these questions!
The Gospel is not shy about relating stories of real people struggling with this very question. Who is Jesus? The Gospel is not shy about challenging us, asking who we are? Where do you, Gospel reader, place yourself in this story?
The cast of characters in John 7 are from a far off time ... yet they are recognizable even today.
The uncertain and divided crowd - seeing and hearing Jesus; sensing reality and truth, their spirit is pulled toward God, yet they do "not know the law" and so stand accursed distanced from their God. These are the unprepared - unable to understand who this Jesus who stands before them is.
The Temple police - they are the ones who hear the word, but the cares of this world, the concerns for career, the desire for riches, the comfort in status quo and the pride in position choke the Word. They know enough to know truth when they hear it - yet other things enter in and deaden them. These are the unwilling - afraid of the transforming Jesus.
“The chief priests and Pharisees” - these are blinded and deaf to the facts before them. They are powerful and consumed by their lives of privilege. These are those who work away at worship, yet fail to recognize God when He stands before them. These are leaders, lost in leading; unable to read and respond to the signs of the times. These are the understanding - refusing the reality of Jesus.
Nicodemus. He knows Jesus. Yet he is paralyzed by peer pressure and ridicule. Nicodemus pretends morality, yet is unwilling to commit to truth. He seeks to be reasonable and rational and to rely on religious processes to reveal the reality of Christ, rather than risk himself. This is each of us - we who go-along-to-get-along; we who refuse to defend Christ because religion is a private personal matter; we who are unknown to our Lord.
Where do you, Gospel reader, place yourself in this story?
Let us pray that as the sun sets, and we ask what Child is this, we will truly seek something more. Let us pray that we will be known by the King as His follower.