Saturday, March 12th – Sue Wilkinson
Gospel: JN 7:40-53
Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said,
“This is truly the Prophet.”
Others said, “This is the Christ.”
But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he?
Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family
and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”
So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.
Some of them even wanted to arrest him,
but no one laid hands on him.
So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees,
who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?”
The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”
So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived?
Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?
But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.”
Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them,
“Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him
and finds out what he is doing?”
They answered and said to him,
“You are not from Galilee also, are you?
Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
Then each went to his own house.
Jesus’ message of love and salvation is powerful, but sometimes His message is overshadowed by what is going on in His life. In today’s Gospel, the people in the crowd get so caught up in who Jesus is and where He comes from that they do not really take the time to pay attention to His message. The people complaining that He can’t be who He says He is don’t have the correct information. For example, they say that the Messiah will be of David’s lineage and not from Galilee, but they are unaware that Jesus was, in fact, born in the very place where David comes from, Bethlehem. Because they have these facts wrong, they are now ready to have Jesus arrested and put into jail without any other evidence against him. Nicodemus steps up and says, “Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?”
This is exactly what the crowd is doing and what I think we so often do today. We are quick to judge individuals based on their clothes, their friends, their favorite music, or other trivial characteristics that don’t really give insight into a person’s soul, heart or depth of feeling. Jesus is the model of a poorly treated person. He was judged for the wrong things. His message was one of peace and love; he wanted us to “turn the other cheek” and “do unto others.” Where He was born and the clothes He wore should have no effect on that message. How often do we comment on the way someone looks or the clothes that person wears before we get to know the person or come to know what he or she stands for? And isn’t that what is most important? Jesus tells us in Luke, Chapter 12, that we should not worry about what we wear and that we should store our treasures in heaven, where our hearts shall be. We need to follow our hearts when it comes to listening to the correct messages and words.
I find it easy to teach teenagers about Jesus. They understand and are drawn to His message. My students relate to being criticized or not accepted for the clothes they wear, or the music they listen to, but like Jesus, they know there is so much more to a person than what is merely on the surface.
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