Friday, June 18, 2021

On a hillside 28) B8 Truth 1

Jesus provokes negative reactions.  While he was a lad in Nazareth everybody liked Jesus. What a pleasant boy growing up so nicely they would say as they left the carpenter’s shop. ‘He grew up both in body and wisdom gaining favour with God and man’.( Luke 2:52) But the first time Jesus speaks in the Nazareth synagogue and tells of God’s mercy to all, these same people rise up drag him to a cliff where they would have killed him.(Luke 4:29) Why?  Because he faces them with God. It’s stunning that at as early as Mark ch 3. religious leaders ‘began to plot to kill him.’ They cannot bear that Jesus faces them with God. 

J K Galbraith coined the expression ‘conventional wisdom’ as the mass of things that the mass of people want to hear.  ‘Individuals, most notably the great television and radio commentators make a profession of knowing and saying with elegance and unction what their audience will find most acceptable’.  And writes Galbraith, ‘the only fatal blow to this sort of wisdom occurs when the march of history flings up something which it cannot explain’.

He could have been describing Jesus when he strides into history with its false comfort of conventional wisdom to make that fatal blow to upset our usual way of thinking. For he will tell us a mass of thing that the mass of people don’t want to hear. Because he doesn’t begin with us, our relationships, economic, politics…our aims in life.  He begins with God, a holy God who created us, a holy God with whom we have broken relationship. Fallen far short of what we should be.  Yet, God who is a loving Father who has sent his son to redeem us, to save the world if we respond to his grace. And the mass of people don’t want to hear.  We are wired to please ourselves and live with conventional wisdom.

People who enjoy life as it is without God demanding attention are happy with their life styles and don’t want another way, not even the WAY. People who live in half truths don’t want the truth, not even the TRUTH. People who scrabble for more and more don’t want to hear about losing themselves in God’s life not even the LIFE. 

 I once had to lead a Bible week and they asked me for the title.  I chose: The confrontational Jesus. The planning committee agreed but when I arrived one leader told me he didn’t want to think of Jesus as confrontational.  'He was always kind and gentle', he said.  Actually, everything about him confronted and convicted our world far from God. Meek yes, but gentle with the strength of steel.  He faced people with God - the head-on clash of two irreconcilable value systems.  If Jesus hadn’t come we would have continued with our half-knowing, Old Testament knowing, laws to be followed, sacrifices to be made.  But now he has made it clear that we are all lost without him and the cross.  They have no excuse. They would not have been guilty of sin if I had not come and spoken to them. As it is, they no longer have any excuse  ( John 15: 22).  He faces them with God.  Now they know.  Now we know.

No comments: