Saturday, October 03, 2020

"Very Truly I Tell You"

As I was reading John 8:12-59, I couldn't help but imagine a certain caricature of Jesus that his disbelieving audience must have had. The words "arrogant" and "delusional" come to mind. 

"You are not yet fifty years old," they said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!"

"Very truly I tell you," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"

Even at the risk of being stoned, the truth continued to pour out from Jesus' mouth. It was almost like couldn't help himself. You would think that a more effective way to keep from being killed would be to keep one's mouth shut. He was certainly capable of being quiet when he wanted to be (Mark 15:3-5). His escape from the temple grounds indicated that he was not yet ready to die.

In fact, as I read from the beginning of Chapter 8, I found myself wondering why Jesus would bother to continue explaining himself so plainly to a crowd that was being hostile and unreceptive. 

Were there some people in that crowd who were actually listening? Perhaps Jesus meant those words for them instead. Or perhaps some things simply needed to be said for the record. I am not entirely sure; these are simply speculations.

Simultaneously, I find myself in awe of the audacity and courage with which Jesus spoke the truth. From the perspective of the unbeliever, whatever Jesus said was extremely ridiculous. I am sure he knew that. And the only reason why that would not bother him one bit is that he knew the absolute truth. Not only did he know it-- he experienced and lived it. 

What truths am I living and so closely identified with today, that it would pour forth from my mouth in spite of a murderous audience? How do I discern what is the right place and time to proclaim the truth? I find myself unable to say for certain, not because I do not know what is the right answer, but because I know I have not been put up to the ultimate test. 

Perhaps I am not ready yet to answer. but I do pray that the Lord prepares me for the day I am tested by fire. It is only at that moment that the very truth that has been resting in my heart will be revealed.