Did Jesus Have A Samuel L. Jackson Moment? (John 9:1-41)
Attorneys often have to defend the indefensible…Christians are often called to do the same.
Why did Jesus say what he said? (John 9:3) and, unfortunately, it’s not an isolated incident. See Exodus 4:11. If I could blot something out of the Bible it would be verses like these.
The problem is that God will never conform to our images of Him.
Have you ever heard the one about the mystic, the evangelical pastor and the fundamentalist preacher who go to heaven? They all three stand in line to have a sit down with Jesus. The Mystic walks into Jesus’ royal tent and walks out fifteen minutes later with a smile on his face saying, “Wow! I thought I had it all wrong.” The evangelical pastor walks in with his NIV Study Bible and copy of The Purpose Driven Life and walks out in about an hour muttering, “How could I have gotten so much of it wrong.” Then the fundamentalist preacher walks in with his well-worn copy of the King James Bible. Fifteen minutes go by. An hour goes by. Three hours go by. A day goes by…then two and then three…finally, Jesus walks out of the tent and says, “Wow! How could I have gotten it so wrong!”
Ever meet Christians who have it all figured out?
Idolatry is the word the Bible uses to talk about the worship of a false God. Sometimes the false god is the false conception of the real God.
Consider the Exodus story…what is the golden calf? Some have argued that it is nothing but a tame, easily comprehensible version of God Himself. See Exodus 32:5.
We like the idea of a sweet, tame god.
Today, the golden calf takes many forms like “the Sky Fairy God”, who will make all of our dreams come true.
In his new book, Donald Miller writes “I like Jesus, and I still follow him, but the idea that Jesus will make everything better is a lie. It’s basically biblical theology translated into the language of infomercials.”
Some go the other extreme and become “religious.” People often use religion to hide from God or to try to “magically” manipulate “god.”. For, unlike the divine, religion, especially in rule form, can be mastered!
The problem with that is, as Peter Rollins puts it, “ethical systems allow us to follow rules whether we love or not.”
The Christian faith is not about rules, it’s about a relationship between us and God…and relationships are dangerous because there is always an element of mystery and risk!
Mystery, and even doubt, are inseparable from faith, for if you know everything with absolute certainty then that’s not faith, that’s agreement. Even worse, a person who looks to the horror of the cross without doubt that they will receive an eternal reward is not approaching God with love but with nothing but the greedy anticipation of a transaction.
God is God and we will never be able to encapsulate the divine with witty arguments and neat systems.
So, how are we to witness to our faith? Peter Rollins, again, puts it this way, “Our approach must be a powerless one which employs words as a way of saying that we have been left utterly breathless by a beauty that surpasses all words.”
*Pastor Matt’s PSA: I am not saying that we can’t know true things about God, only that we cannot wholly fathom God or capture Him in a neat, tidy system. Even in divine revelation, God conceals as much as He reveals and this demands a good bit of awe and humility.