Mike’s Authorized Version…or Amplified Version. Translation finger-painting. I do it every week in whatever text the church is studying, just a way of processing text I’ve been living with for over three decades in English and Greek or Hebrew. It’s scattered through each daily reflection on my devotional blog.
Funny, I often come to the end of the week, look at this wordhavering blog and think, “Gosh, I need to write something for this” when in reality I’m pouring my writer’s soul into the MAV and the reflections springing from it week after week. And sometimes I really like the result.
So perhaps I’ll start a weekly post here, bringing those scattered weekly readings together in one place.
Just because I can…
This is what ran this past week. John 7:25-53. I would call this one “Everybody’s talkin’ at me and I just want to buy them a drink”
Drink up me hearties…
Some of the local crowd now sat up and took notice.
“Hold on a minute! Isn’t this the guy they’re after, the one with the death warrant? And here he is openly speaking his mind in public with no one saying or doing anything about it. The authorities haven’t pegged him as the Messiah after all, have they? But how can that be? We know where this guy is from – no mystery there; but the Messiah – no one will see him coming…”
Hearing all this speculation, in the midst of his teaching session in the temple Jesus hollered,
“THAT’S RIGHT, YOU KNOW ME! And you know my humble point of origin! But none of this was my idea carried out on my own initiative. I’ve been sent! And the One who sent me is true through and through, and of His identity you have not a clue! Oh, but I know him. My very being is intimately connected with His, and He’s the one who commissioned me.”
Some of those in the crowd – from the authorities, no doubt – were chomping at the bit to confine, contain and control him on the spot, but no one laid a finger on him; it wasn’t time for that.
Meanwhile many others in the crowd were totally sold on him. “Whenever the Messiah shows,” they would say over and over to each other, “will he have a more impressive resume of signs and wonders than this fellow does?”
When members of the strict sect heard the crowd muttering such things about him, they mustered their courage, priestly authority and strict sect types alike (they didn’t usually get along too well, but now they made an exception), and together sent underlings to set upon him and put a stop to this.
Seeing their maneuverings, Jesus said it plain:
“The clock is ticking, my time with you is just about up, and then I’m off to the one who Sent me to start with. Oh how you’ll look for me then – and you won’t be able to find a trace of me – you’ll never be able to track me to this destination!”
The local crowd of Judeans were puzzled. They asked each other (having no idea how much they were saying), “Just where does he think he’s going that we can’t find him? What? He’s not off to the scattered remnants of our people among the Greeks, is he? – and outsider Greeks won’t be his pupils, will they? What’s he talking about? ‘You’ll look for me, but you won’t be able to find a trace of me,’ and ‘you’ll never be able to track me to this destination’???”
Then it came.
The last day of the Tentmaker feast.
The grand finale closing ceremonies everyone was waiting for. During a pause in the water pouring ceremony, Jesus stood up and cried out at the top of his lungs, “If anyone is thirsty, come to me, and let every one who puts their trust in me drink up! Just as the old books have said all along: ‘Rivers! Rivers from deep internal reservoirs within him will gush and cascade – refreshing, living water!’”
A heads up for those of you who are wondering. All this living water talk? It was all about the Spirit which those who put their trust in him were going to receive. Down the road, of course. All of this was yet future.
It all awaited the glorious consummation of his mission.
Some of the crowd – obviously not the locals! – when they heard him cry this out with such passion, kept saying, “No doubt about it! This is the one, the Prophet!”
Others among them kept saying, the excitement building, “Prophet? This is the MESSIAH!”
But others chimed in, “Not so fast! The Messiah doesn’t spring from backwater Galilee, does he? No way! The old books clearly call it, don’t they? The Messiah isn’t some Galilean, but a Bethlehemite, in the family tree of David, from David’s home town.”
So the listening crowd was pretty well split all over the place about him. Some were still chomping at the bit to seize him, but no one laid a finger on him.
The underlings from the priestly and strict sect types returned – empty handed and speechless.
“Well, why didn’t you bring him?”
They stammered blankly, “None.Ever.Talked.Like.This. Ever.”
The strict sect party howled, “You haven’t been duped too, have you? Nobody who’s anybody believes a word of this – and certainly none of our highly educated members. Damned, ignorant, clueless, crowds! They’ll believe anything – and anyone!”
Nicodemus, one of their own, shoots back at them – knowing a thing or two more about this Jesus than they did, having just had his private interview with Jesus –
“Hold on here, this isn’t biblical, is it? This isn’t what the Law would have us do – judge and condemn someone without hearing firsthand from him what he has to say for himself and seeing just exactly what it is he’s doing – is it?”
Nicodemus wasn’t scoring any points.
They shot right back at him, “What? Are you some ignorant Galilean too!? Check it out! You should know this! A prophet? Arising from the muck of Galilee? Preposterous! Never!”
And that was that.
Everyone went home.