Things that Made Them Go “Hmmm?”

The Jews said to one another,  “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find Him?  Will He go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks?  What did He mean when He said,  ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and where I am, you cannot come’?”  John 7:35, 36.

Much of our common problem on earth is being earthbound not only because of gravity but in how we think as well.  When we do get inventive, it tends toward the fantastic as in Superman, Elves, other worlds, Star Wars, etc, for we crave the supernatural even while doing our best to deny it.  Their question lacked any sense of understanding the Christ’s mission—or at the very least, Jesus’ take on it.  The myopia which dominates most cultures effectively eliminates people’s scope and grasp of reality.  Belief is a dangerous thing when it is placed in the limited understanding of an invented culture.

Religion is not God or even a god but the practice of an ethic or teaching surrounding the supposed instructions of a god or, in the case of Judeo/Christian tradition, the God.  Yet even here we can become so narrow in our scope that the big wide universe of God’s creation escapes us.  What’s even worse is our complete distaste for the truth once we establish or grab onto what we want to believe.  Those who give themselves over to a lie will resent the truth as falsehood when it shines a light on their mistaken POV to the point of snuffing it out where possible.

The Pharisees of all people should have grasped the supernatural implications of Jesus’ speach and at least considered it as a possible meaning for what He was trying to tell them.  Instead they were all so earthbound they couldn’t even imagine anything outside their scope of options, having eliminated anything else as a waste of time.  So their immediate response was to pick a familiar enough target where He could go without them following (or wanting to most likely) and apply this as a possible meaning.  Here we have Jesus speaking of the things of God and these men of God cannot think outside their own box long enough to consider heaven might be the answer to their question.

The point is for me that God is far bigger than I’m willing to allow Him to be in my perspective.  Humility in the Christ follower, however, demands we see God as bigger than our ability to imagine or grasp.  Anything else is bringing God down to our grime-fogged universe which loses much of the truth in translation.

The illustration I used about bread several months ago applies here.  If we make banna bread without using nutmeg, we don’t have tradional banna bread.  We’ll be missing a key ingredient which defines the truth about the type of bread we are making.  Technically, we still have banana bread if there’s bananas in it the mix, but tastewise we’ll know something’s missing and here’s where it gets a little dicy for most of us.  When we know we don’t have the complete picture, most of us will bully our detractors or smokescreen the truth about our lack.  Some of us are content with a shred of truth instead of using that thread to spur us on to more in depth discoveries.  I’ve seen those who own a piece of truth like they invented it, when in reality, truth is truth outside of our control or ability to make it so.  I’ve also seen those who will defend their limited grasp of truth vehemently to the point of death and feel justified doing so.

Dying for a lie removes any meaning from the death.

This applies to truth in Jesus.  If we miss key ingredients in His teaching, we probably will misinterpret what He says and somewhere in the future end up miles away from the actual direction He intended.  Being one degree off at the starting line doesn’t seem like much but in a mile race it can mean several hundred feet away from the goal.  Clinging tightly to a fact while not completing the picture that kernal of truth needs to be relevant is complete foolishness.

As an experiement, take a square with marked degrees for Geometry and draw 2 points on it 1 foot apart, then mark another point at the same goal line but 2 degrees off.  This will give you some idea how time, chance and space work together in our inability to get it right.

Yet in all this I must confess none of us have complete truth or can even grasp it for the most part.  Our ability to see only through a darkened glass forces us to make the best of a bad situation.  Still, this isn’t a time for despair but one for humbling ourselves under God’s mighty hand.  Instead of being humiliated and frustrated, which a place of foolish pride and hardened ignorance, we must develop attitudes of submission.  None of us have the complete picture, so why pretend we do?  If this is true, then being honest about our lack is the only way to solve it.

Jesus is our path, our truth and our very life, everything filters through this foundation.  All the bricks on our spiritual house must be compared to the stone cut out without hands, which became the cornerstone and capstone to our lives.

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