Thursday, March 16, 2017

Daily Devotion for Lent 2017 - Day 14, Thursday

Today's Reading: John 7:1-24 (NRSV)

Systems look for balance and when that balance is upset, the system will seek to right the balance, even going to extreme measures.

Jesus has come and upset the balance.  The authorities are looking to kill him to restore order.  John unfortunately uses the term "the Jews" where the synoptic gospels more often break the term into categories such as Pharisees, Herodians, Sadducees, scribes, etc.  For instance, when it states in verse 13 that "no one would speak openly about him for fear of the Jews" it is a little misleading to us today.  We have to stop and remember, "But they were all Jews!"  Jesus, his brothers, his disciples, the crowds and those opposed to him were all Jews.

Sometimes we are not always comfortable
with the self-expression of others.
Another interesting point in today's reading is the disbelief of the brothers of Jesus.  This is hinted at in Mark 3:20-21 when his family comes to take him away.  In looking at a variety of translations of this passage, it seems as if his family rather than the crowds were stating, "He has gone out of his mind."  This would certainly indicate disbelief. What is fascinating about this is that Jesus's brother James becomes the head of the church in Jerusalem following the resurrection.

It may be difficult to ascribe greatness to those we know best.  After all, we see them more closely than others.  Sometimes it is difficult to break out of a mold because those we know may implicitly seek to keep us in the mold with which they are more comfortable.  This is not necessarily done out of malice or spite, but is almost done unconsciously.

As we continue in Lent, are there people that you know that you may be holding back in some way?  After all, if the family of Jesus took their time to see Jesus for who he really was, we can cut ourselves a little slack.  But it may be that we need to pray about those we love in a different way.  Let us value their calling more than the balance we've achieved.

Prayer for the day:

Good and Mighty God, we give thanks for the gift of family and friends.  We recognize that abundant life is more abundant because of the loving relationships we share.  We may see your presence in the kindness we give and take with them.  Help us to share the kind of love with them that will unleash your calling upon their lives.  Give us eyes to see what this might be.  Give us words of encouragement that will help bring it to fruition. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ who calls us all.  Amen.

Photo by Flavio Silva via  Used under the Creative Commons license.

No comments:

Post a Comment