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Not my praise, but God’s

by davesandel on March 29th, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

John 8:53-54

The Jewish leaders asked Jesus, “Who do you make yourself out to be?”  He answered them, “If I honor myself, my honor is worth nothing.  It is my Father who honors me, of whom you say, “He is our God.”

Can Jesus hear his Father’s praise and then tell others what he has heard?  Why should they believe him?  I can always say I heard something from someone when I actually made it up myself.  That’s the way the game “telephone” becomes fun, and that’s the way gossip turns poisonous.

Jesus is the best kind of humble, the strongest kind of meek.  He is a man who knows himself, understands his value and vulnerability.  He doesn’t shirk from acknowledging either.  So, he says what he knows.  “It is my Father who honors me.”

What Jesus says does not make him who he is.  What God does through him makes Jesus who he is.  It is God’s word, not Jesus’ word that defines him.

When John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” he means word in the Hebrew sense.  The Hebrew word is “dabar.” *  Although “dabar” requires 110 King James English words to translate its 2500 Hebrew Bible occurrences, a primary meaning is “a unit that is made to come about;” that is, a creation.

The “Word was God.”  God made himself, He speaks for himself, He acts for himself.  Jesus is God on earth, made from the stuff of man, made mortal, made human.

Jesus knows this is neither easy to understand or believe.  How can he help his people see? All along he has told them to look at what IS, not what is Said: “The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11).

But so difficult, still, to accept.  Jesus adds, “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”  We need God to open our eyes.  When we ask, He will, gently, lift our lids and peer inside.  And then he says, “Come, and see!”

Jesus, your touch restores my health.  Jesus, your word directs my path.  Jesus, your presence changes the ordering of my life and gives me peace.  But I do not want to desire your gifts, Lord.  I want you.  In his book Original Blessing, Matthew Fox draws out many threads from this idea.

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