Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lent: Time of Confusion?

Have you ever watched trading on the floor of the commodities exchange?

A mob of traders yelling and screaming, flailing and waving, flashing signs and trying to communicate.

To the outsider it looks like a zoo: confusion, pandemonium, complete and utter chaos.

That was the picture that came to my mind as I was reading John chapter 7 this morning.

Everyone shouting their own thoughts, feelings, or locked in on their personal agenda.


- When Jesus' brothers suggest he go to Jerusalem to advertise himself as the Messiah, he tells him he's not going yet...but then he does go in secret after they take off (vv3-10).

- The crowd in the city is talking about Jesus. But they couldn't agree. Some were saying, "He's a good man". But others insisted "He deceives people" or "he is demon-possessed" (vv12-20).

- People are trying to kill Jesus and he knows it (v 19), and many in the crowd know it (v25), but others think Jesus is paranoid (v20).

- One group tries to seize Jesus (v25 & v 30) but they are unable to "because his time had not yet come".

- When Jesus tells the crowd he is only going to be with them for a little while longer, his words create more confusion and questions than faith and belief: Where is he going? Is he going to another country? Is he going to teach people in another place? We don't get it!

- Some of his own people did confess him to be the Christ (v41) but others completely disagreed and couldn't possibly come to that conclusion (vv27, 41-42). Others opted for the "middle ground" and considered him to be the Prophet (v40).

- Fed up with all the disruption, guards were sent to grab Jesus...but came back empty-handed. When their authorities questioned them the guards admitted that they had been mesmerized by his words. "No one ever spoke the way this man does."

- Then the authorities started arguing among themselves about what they should do with Jesus. Should they grab him and punish him? Or should they give him a hearing? (vv45-52)

As you reflect upon Lent and Jesus' purposeful movement toward the cross, consider that his journey was a time of great confusion. People couldn't decide who he was. They couldn't decide what to do with him.

And we are no different today.

As John 7:43 tells us, "...the people were divided because of Jesus."

My prayer for you is that you will investigate for yourself who Jesus is and you will discover who he wants to be to you.

Grace & peace

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