This week’s installment of my finderpainting in the MAV…John 8:12-30…entitled, well, you just read the title, didn’t you…
And so once again, amid the endless speculation and controversy, bathed in the light of the huge lamp stand menorahs in the temple courtyard as the Tentmaker celebration finished winding down, Jesus spoke up:
“I am the light of the world! The one who tracks with me through thick and thin will never, ever find himself stumbling around in the dark – no, they’ll be beaming with the light of life on their faces! (Move over, veiled Moses from the mount!)”
The Pharisees were quick with their comeback: “A lot of loud talk from your own big mouth proves nothing! Your self-testimonial is all hot air and no substance!”
Jesus was ready with his own comeback:
“Even if it is just my big mouth giving my own testimonial, it’s still bona-fide, solid truth – because I know full well where I’ve come from and I know exactly where I’m going.
But you, you don’t have a clue about either.
got a light?
You are constantly trafficking in superficial judgments on everyone and everything; and I’m happy to leave it to you – I’m staying out of the judging business altogether. But, you know, if I do pass judgment on anything, it’s right on the mark because it’s not just me lowering the gavel – the gavel is in my Abba’s hand, and he’s the one who sent me here in the first place.
And doesn’t it say somewhere in that law of yours, you experts, that when it’s two people standing up to testify, now you have a solid, credible case? Well let’s count. I’m saying what’s what about myself, and my Abba who sent me adds his voice to mine. Sounds like two witnesses to me!”
Leaning in, the experts goaded him, “Where is this ‘Abba’ of yours?”
Jesus leaned in as well, “You have no clue who I am, and so it’s no wonder you’re in the dark about my Abba.
If you had the capacity to really get me, you’d wouldn’t be lost as to who my Abba is – you’d see him in my face.”
And he said this right there, on their turf, in the courtyard by the treasury of all places! making himself right at home teaching in the temple. And not one of them laid a finger on him – because that would be worked out on his own timetable.
But just a little.
Still in the temple, now over towards Solomon’s Portico.
Jesus picks up the dangling thread and finishes this verbal testimony tapestry:
“I’m leaving and you’ll look for me, but your search will lead you nowhere but to the dead end cul de sac of your
sitting down is progress
own stubborn rebellion, and there you’ll die. The end. Fin. You simply can’t go where I’m heading.”
The local religious trolls snarked to each other, “What? Is he going to kill himself and wake up in hell? Is that what he means by ‘You can’t go where I’m heading’?”
Jesus then spoke clearly through their snickering guffaws, “If anyone here is from the nether regions, it’s you. I’m from above. You’re right at home here in this world of yours, but not me. This world of yours is not my home. Which is why I told you, ‘you’re headed to the dead end cul de sac of your own stubborn rebellion and there you will die.’ Yes, if you can’t see and trust who I AM, you will shrivel and die, right there in the sins of your stubborn defiance.”
They shot back, “Why don’t you just tell us right now in plain Aramaic WHO ARE YOU???”
He shot right back, “What from the start I have been saying! Oy! So much I could say about you, so many judgments I could pass on you if that were my game! But what does it matter? The One who sent me is true through and through, and what passes from his mouth to my ear is what I will speak to you and to this world of yours.”
And yes, they were clueless. No idea what or who he was talking about – his Abba.
So Jesus, again, picking up the thread, wove a new picture for them:
“Whenever you lift up the Son of Man – the ultimate Human Being – then you’ll finally get who I AM, and realize that I’m not the one calling the shots, carrying out my own game plan, but that I’m only carrying out and speaking out what my Abba gives me to say and do. And the One who sent me is with me, and he’s with me to stay, because what I do always meets with his big ‘thumbs up.’ Way up. Always.”
And while many were snarkily shaking their heads as he said all this, many began to experience a turn in themselves.
A turn towards faith.
A turn towards trust.