Day 22: Temple Wars 2 — The Pharisees Strike Back

Aw poop.

John 7:14-36

Common English Bible (CEB)

 14 Halfway through the festival, Jesus went up to the temple and started to teach. 15 Astonished, the Jewish leaders asked, “He’s never been taught! How has he mastered the Law?” 16 Jesus responded, “My teaching isn’t mine but comes from the one who sent me. 17 Whoever wants to do God’s will can tell whether my teaching is from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Those who speak on their own seek glory for themselves. Those who seek the glory of him who sent me are people of truth; there’s no falsehood in them. 19 Didn’t Moses give you the Law? Yet none of you keep the Law. Why do you want to kill me?”

 20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon. Who wants to kill you?”

 21 Jesus replied, “I did one work, and you were all astonished. 22 Because Moses gave you the commandment about circumcision (although it wasn’t Moses but the patriarchs), you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If a man can be circumcised on the Sabbath without breaking Moses’ Law, why are you angry with me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath? 24 Don’t judge according to appearances. Judge with right judgment.”

 25 Some people from Jerusalem said, “Isn’t he the one they want to kill? 26 Here he is, speaking in public, yet they aren’t saying anything to him. Could it be that our leaders actually think he is the Christ? 27 We know where he is from, but when the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.”

 28 While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he exclaimed, “You know me and where I am from? I haven’t come on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him. 29 I know him because I am from him and he sent me.” 30 So they wanted to seize Jesus, but they couldn’t because his time hadn’t yet come.

 31 Many from that crowd believed in Jesus. They said, “When the Christ comes, will he do more miraculous signs than this man does?” 32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about Jesus, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent guards to arrest him.

 33 Therefore, Jesus said, “I’m still with you for a little while before I go to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you won’t find me, and where I am you can’t come.”

 35 The Jewish opposition asked each other, “Where does he intend to go that we can’t find him? Surely he doesn’t intend to go where our people have been scattered and are living among the Greeks! He isn’t going to teach the Greeks, is he? 36 What does he mean when he says, ‘You will look for me, but you won’t find me, and where I am you can’t come’?”

 

 

 

I swear, either Jesus was God, or he’s crazy.

No, beyond crazy. For one thing, this is not Jesus’s first time in the temple, if you recall from a few chapters back according to John. Remember that? When he caused a big old scene, destroyed a bunch of temple property, and called the priests thieves? Yeah. That happened. And Jesus came back.

And he had a few more things to say, actually. Specifically regarding the law.

The pharisees are mad already; he hasn’t been trained, he’s not in the system, and he has no credentials. AND HE’S TEACHING IN THE TEMPLE. Not only that, he’s on the attack.

He criticizes the establishment for being mad that he “worked on the sabbath” by healing a that handicapped guy by the pool, especially when they do religious rites on the sabbath as well. How was healing not a religious right? How was restoring a man to health worse than restoring someone to the Abrahamic covenant?

 

Then the people get to thinking. If he’s up here talking, why haven’t they arrested him yet? Does that mean that the temple thinks he’s the Christ now?

OOOOOOOOO that just ticks off the pharisees more. Someone tries to grab him, but apparently fails because “his time had not come.”

Personally I think Jesus may have been some kind of ninja. A Jew-Jitsu master, if you will.

It's the only explanation.

 

This all goes back to that whole “people don’t really like it when you’re honest” think I talked about the other day. Actually, everything lately seems to come right back to that point. Jesus is brutally honest, and doesn’t take crap from hypocrites. Jesus hates it when the pharisees are inconsistent. If John has shown me anything, it’s that through it all, Jesus is consistent. And repetitive. And a bit of a jerk sometimes.

But that’s beside the point.

The point is, aside from all the consistently repetitive truth-to-power talking, what I take away from this story is boldness. Boldness to act, and boldness to speak when injustice is being committed by people in power. Jesus, in his position, while he may have been teaching with authority, it sure wasn’t authority given by the religious leaders of the day. Nor was it authority by any earthly power. It was authority from God God’s self.

Relentless truth spoken with relentless boldness. Courage to spit in the face of a hypocrite and laugh when you’re done.

Jesus calls them out on their hypocrisy. Why is it so hard for us to do the same?

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About grantimusmax

Grant Barnes, aka Grantimus Maximus, aka The Nerdcore Theologian. He is a graduate of Perkins School of Theology with a Masters Degree in Divinity. He is also a commissioned elder in the United Methodist Church, and Senior Pastor at Hemphill First United Methodist Church and Pineland United Methodist Church. He graduated from Texas State University Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in English, minor in History. He watches way too many movies, reads too many books, listens to too much music, and plays too many video games to ever join the mundane reality people claim is the "Real World." He rejects your reality, and replaces it with a vision of what could be, a better one, shaped by his love for God.
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