WEEK ONE, DAY ONE, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
THEME: READ THE BIBLE
DAY ONE TITLE: THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO
SCRIPTURE: JOHN 5:36-47
SCRIPTURE SNIPPET: …(Jesus is speaking) “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, because Moses wrote about me. If you don’t believe the writings of Moses, how will you believe my words?”
MY THOUGHTS: I feel that Jesus’ heart is breaking here…Jesus is trying to reason with those who are with him physically in this moment about who he is and why he is. They are looking for something and that something is standing right in front of them, yet they do not see. Jesus’ point is clear – don’t believe the one speaking right in front of you – but look to the scriptures and see what they imply, then weigh that against all that Jesus is about. God has given Jesus works to do, and he is doing them “in plain sight”, but people are refusing to see. We can be the same way. Like them, so often we have someone else’s idea of who and/or what is God’s activity and we look for God based on those ideas only. We measure what happens in our lives based on those ideas and if it doesn’t measure up, we discard it. We fail to open our own minds to decide for ourselves based on our relationship with God and pondering all scripture. We get locked in traditional beliefs rather than faith. We see our problems and we see our answers and we believe more in fate than in the God of all intervening in our lives. The people Jesus is speaking to here search the scripture so that they will recognize the Messiah when he comes. But their searching is shortsided based on traditional belief of a political power to set them all free. These people trust in laws and rules rather than in faith and God. They seek to please God in their “works” rather than understand God and release themselves to be God’s vessels. Jesus points them all the way back to their original “savior”, Moses. Moses’ own life and leadership point to Jesus, but they simply do not have eyes to see or hearts willing to accept. It is all about what Moses “did” rather than “why” Moses acted. They are blinded by false expectations. It happens to me when I look to religion rather than listen to Scripture. Christians often have a very narrow understanding of themselves and their relationship to God. We see a set of expectations – say a prayer, go to church, tithe, read a devotional – and then live the rest of our lives doing anything we want. We feel checking off all these boxes of “expectation of a Christian” makes us Christian. When we are “working” things correctly – nothing really has changed us from the “religious” people of Jesus’ day. Jesus desired for his followers to watch and learn a new way – the way of the servant. The type of vessel that sees each person they encounter as another soul searching for the same things. Servants who don’t mind giving up something of theirs as it benefits the need of another. Servants who don’t look at the problem, but look at the person consumed with the problem and joining with that person in empathy and understanding to learn to stand straight again. The “Religious” Jews of Jesus’ day didn’t get any of this, and most often, neither do we. In God’s Kingdom, there are no “we’s” and “they’s” – there is only “us”. When one of “us” is hurting or in need – it is up to the others of “us” to comfort and provide…Just like Jesus did. Jesus never met anyone he could not sit down with and eat with and have conversation with. He always offered hope and understanding and joy. But Jesus doesn’t force, it is always up to the one in need to receive and it is still true today. Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, continues with us. As we open our hearts and minds to be more like Jesus, we must lay down judgments and traditions that seperate us from one another – allowing God to do his work in us and through us to benefit all of us. Let it be so, Dear Lord, and begin in me. Amen.