Friday, March 17, 2017

Daily Devotion for Lent 2017 - Day 15, Friday

Today's Reading: John 7:25-52 (NRSV)

We can see a division of opinion about Jesus within today's reading.  It appears that the authorities were largely against Jesus (outside of Nicodemus) while many of the common people supported him.

There is a definite prejudice against the home of Jesus as we can see from verse 41 which inquires, "Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he?" and verse 52 which states, "no prophet is to arise from Galilee."  This continues yesterday's theme of locking people into our preconceived notions.  It seems we prefer a little mystery in our lives as verse 27 indicates that we shouldn't from which region the Messiah actually comes.  Of course, this is later countered with verse 42 which declares that the Messiah comes from Bethlehem.

John's Gospel doesn't actually identify Jesus with the birth narratives from Bethlehem. We only gain this knowledge from Matthew and Luke.  In fact, this is the only time that Bethlehem is mentioned in John.

Sometimes religious divisions are obvious
through the outward behaviors we adopt.  To us,
the Amish all seem the same but they have
separate denominations as well.
It seems that there has always been division concerning Jesus.  Divisions continue to arise between believers and nonbelievers. But Christians are not immune as division also comes among professors of the faith.  Denominations continue to form over what kind of standards we are to observe.  We continue to split with one another - even among local congregations - over identification of the key tenets of behavior resulting from doctrine.

Maybe we need to remember verse 37 which stands in the midst of this division when Jesus says, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me".  When we have the river of life, it could be that we are more concerned with love of neighbor rather than how that neighbor comes up short.  As Matthew blatantly reports Jesus saying, "Judge not" we see John implying it more subtly in narrative form through today's reading.

Prayer for today:

We ask you, O Lord, for the gifts of your Spirit.  Enable us to penetrate the depth of the whole truth, and grant that we may share with others the goods you have put at our disposal.  Teach us to overcome divisions.  Send us your Spirit to lead to full unity your sons and daughters in full charity, in obedience to your will; through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

       Pope John Paul II

Photo by Tony Fischer via  Used under the Creative Commons license.

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