Scripture: John 10:31-42
Key verse: (32) “Jesus replied, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?’”
Reflection: What is your first reaction when you encounter something you don’t understand? Do you seek deeper understanding, do you take a posture of curiosity, or do you discount it, react in fear, or lash out in anger? Throughout Jesus’ ministry people reacted in all of these ways to the words and actions of his life. Miracles? Some followed in awe, others plotted Jesus’ demise. Parables” Some turned their lives around, others called Jesus crazy.
In our passage for today Jesus was confronted by an angry mob with stones raised, poised to kill Jesus. What had Jesus done to deserve this treatment? Jesus turned water into wine, healed people, and freed them from their sins. He also called out societal norms and gave a scathing rebuke of the temple system. In other words, Jesus’ actions and words were new, confusing, and didn’t fit into many people’s world view. While it’s easy to paint the Jews in this passage who want to kill Jesus in a bad light, we’ve all been there. Okay, maybe not with literal stones raised, but we’ve all raised the metaphorical stone to throw at that which threatens our understanding of the world, to that which confuses us. We’ve all been in the place where our first reaction to that which is different than us is fear and even anger.
What would it take for us to put down the stones so often raised and respond in divine curiosity or seek deeper understanding when confronted by that which we don’t understand? What would it take? Faith. This is not a shallow faith in pithy sayings, but a trust in something and someone outside of ourselves, a faith that decenters ourselves and recenters Christ in our lives. When we take the leap to set the trust in our lives on Christ, we are free to be confused, we are free to be confronted by that which is different and new to us, we are free to be wrong. When we truly have faith in Christ, our lives are not based on our being right or wrong or our way of doing things. Instead, with eyes fixed on Christ we are free to trust that we are following the perfecter of our faith, the one greater than ourselves, the one calling us to a new future. May we put down our stones and open lives to the openness and curiosity of faith.
Prayer: Loving God, open our eyes that we may see your open arms, welcoming us into your loving grace. May our faith in you show itself as trust bigger than ourselves. By your faithfulness in the world, may we be surprised by your presence in our lives. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].