As much as I would like to imagine myself a free-wheeling, hair-in-the-wind, comfortable-with-change kinda girl, it just ain’t so. I prefer control over chaos, order over disarray, crystal-clear clarity over hazy maybe’s any day of the week. For example, when planning family vacations, I scope out all the best sites and restaurants and plan our trip accordingly, cross-checking it with the weather.com report. As a result, we’ve seen and done amazing stuff in incredible places…but on more than one occasion, I have been too busy taming the chaos and orchestrating events to notice my kids discovering lightning bugs for the first time or investigating a chattering chipmunk. I miss the beauty of what is for what I imagine should be.
In John 11:45-57, Jesus has just raised Lazarus from the dead. This very public and dramatic sign has understandably caused quite a stir. People riding the fence of belief must fall to one side or the other. Many come to believe in Jesus. Others persist in unbelief and report Jesus’ actions to the Pharisees. The leaders convene to discuss the crisis.
Undoubtedly, the most fascinating element of the leaders’ discussion is not what is discussed but what it completely ignored,namely THERE’S BEEN A RESURRECTION! God is doing something radically new in their midst and their response? “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” (vs. 48) The in-breaking Kingdom of God is disrupting the house of straw they have constructed. Better the controlled, managed, regulated way of doing things than to entertain the possibility that God might on the move.
When what we know is threatened, we buckle down and cling to the status quo. When control seems to be slipping away, we tighten our grip. When we fear loss, we react in anger and violence. But what if the Spirit is stirring? What if the Kingdom of God is breaking in among us and we miss it? What if we suspended judgment for a moment and invited the Spirit to soften our hearts, open our eyes and unstop our ears? Perhaps we would find ourselves partnering with the work of God, rather than fighting against it.
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Grace and Peace.