Friday, March 11, 2016

Reflection: John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Friday of 4th Week of Lent - John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

In the Gospels of the last two weeks of Lent, there is a growing sense of impending danger for Jesus.  As this drama unfolds, the intensity continues to build.  Today Jesus is traveling and preaching in Galilee.  He had decided not to travel in Judea. He knew that the Jews there were plotting to kill him.  However, as the time drew near, many of his disciples planned to travel up to Jerusalem for Passover.  Eventually Jesus also decided that he would go to Jerusalem.  However, he must have felt some uncertainty about this decision because he decided to go in secret.

Take a moment and put yourself in Jesus’ shoes.  Imagine what it would be like knowing that people hate or fear you so intensely that they are plotting to kill you.  Jesus truly was a good man. He was a man of deep love and compassion for all people.  He never hurt or scorned anyone. He had challenged the Jewish officials on multiple occasions and now they were beginning to plot against him. Did these men truly disagree with Jesus’ teaching?  Were they simply afraid of his popularity and influence with the people?

When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, he was recognized immediately. The people began to ask one another: “Is this the man the authorities are plotting to kill?” They were surprised that given the possible danger to him that Jesus continued to preach and teach in the temple area. Naturally, not everyone believed in Jesus, especially some of the temple officials. They doubted because they knew where Jesus was from. He was from Nazareth, a very small town in Galilee. The people also had been taught that when the Christ did come, no one would know from whence he came. How could this man be the Christ if the prophecy was correct?  They continued to argue about this.

Finally Jesus had had it! He spoke loudly to the people and told them: “True, you know who I am and you know where I was born and grew up. Yet, I was sent here by another, someone you do not know. However, I know him well and he sent me to you.” Many of the people were confused by Jesus’ words. The officials were frightened by his power and his influence with the people. They wanted to convince someone to arrest Jesus. However, no one had the courage to lay a hand on Jesus!

Today might be a good day to ask ourselves: “Why do I believe Jesus became one of us?” Seriously, take a moment to explore your belief. Then ask yourself: how does my belief in Jesus shape my understanding and relationship with him?  Do I truly believe that Jesus came to this earth for me as well as every person on earth?  Is this unfolding drama too familiar to us?  Will this familiarity inhibit us from entering deeply into this mystery?

In the next two weeks, this drama will continue to unfold.  Will we allow this drama to unfold in our personal lives?  Will we walk and talk with Jesus?  Or will we stay at a safe distance from Jesus and simply be a bystander?  No one else can make this choice for us.  In the days ahead, what will we choose?

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